Tuesday, May 10, 2005

where alf kramer breaks my little heart

yesterday being the general meeting of the scae, i was all eager to rendezvous afterwards with various board members and talk about how we could work together to expand the scaa consumer membership program, develop education programs, all that.

thus i rushed out the door at 7pm down to an elegant pub on newman st., the blue posts, where various european coffeemen were assembled behind the royal mail. i was fortunate to catch such luminaries as mike segal of coffeeworld, colin smith of the natural coffee company, of course said alf kramer himself (former scae chairman), charles prager who edits the scae newsletter cafe europa, etc. etc.

i was, as they say here, "right chuffed" to chat with colin smith, whose ideas on consumer coffee education and the promotion of consumption completely dovetail with my own. however, they all took pains to stress the difficulties of consumer education in europe, due to language barriers and differences in regional coffee culture and coffee drinking styles.

sure, that's true. but to my mind that's the opportunity. we just gotta start somewhere, you know?

after a long talk most of the others had gone, and i was left with mike segal, alf kramer, and a glass of merlot. alf of course is a famous charmer, who spent most of the evening alternately decrying the myths he felt specialty coffee labored under and how they hurt farmers and then praising long-time bccy pal don schoenholt of gillies.

for example, he noted how various agencies such as cqi and usaid spent a great effort demanding that a farmer "sell his second daughter because he sold his first last year" to make quality improvements in his coffee, only to find there's still a lack of market support.

this of course brought me near to tears. but i do adore alf -- who wouldn't? it was fantastic meeting the scae folk. . .and then i returned to wimbledon by train. . .

my great regret is that scaa chief ted lingle won't arrive in london until monday -- and of course, i alas leave on saturday! fate, you are unfair!

posted by fortune | 5:06 AM | top | link to this | email this: | links to this post | | 0 comments

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