Monday, February 27, 2006


diversity is good

"coffee farmers, suffering from low earnings, are diversifying into higher-paying crops like macadamia nuts and even vanilla in an attempt to boost their incomes.

in the central highlands of kenya, where 80 percent of the country?s coffee is grown, macadamia trees and vanilla vines dot coffee farms in the districts of nyeri, kirinyaga, embu and meru."

it's great that kenyan coffee farmers are diversifying; this will only help them survive the rollercoaster that is the global commodities market. however, they have to make sure they do it in a smart way.

i would argue that macadamia, while a high-paying, cash-on-the-barrel crop, isn't so good because it's not drought resistant, and drought is a recurring problem in kenya. i might seek out another gourmet item with a little more resilience, personally.

and yesterday while wandering thru my local store in search of fresh basil, i ran into marcela of jalima. she was sitting there in a freezing draft trying to talk to people about her organic coffee.

of course, the specialty coffee family's very small and it took us exactly 3 seconds to realize we had already met previously at the scaa convention last year in seattle. thus we knew all the same people!

marcela's blend is a mix of mexican beans from chiapas and veracruz. she is trying to bridge supermarket and specialty, so she has the beans medium-roasted, ground, packed, and nitrogen-flushed in mexico for shipping to the usa.

i tried her blend and it's pretty much what you would expect: quite bright, citrus-y, with a light body.

i understand she's just getting started, but i gently urged her to consider adding a whole-bean product to help improve her freshness, within the limits of her situation. . .

posted by fortune | 8:04 AM | top | link to this | email this: | links to this post | | 4 comments

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