Friday, January 19, 2007

coffee transparency

"nestle never willingly purchases coffee from dubious sources. however, the company admits the difficulty of determining the precise origin of a coffee bag which has passed through different hands before it reaches the nestle buyer."

oh, and nestle's so, so, so sorry. those crocodile tears on display in this article are just drowning me.

let's face it, nestle will source any coffee from wherever it's cheapest, and is happy to ask questions never. this is the big four mentality as usual.

but the larger question is transparency and traceability. how do you follow a lot of coffee from where it's actually grown to the roaster?

how do we ensure that the coffee is what it is supposed to be and came from where it was supposed to have come from? look, corruption in the many government agencies that control the coffee trade in producing countries is famously rife.

currently, there's no great way to tell, short of a coffee buyer traveling to origin, cupping on the spot, negotiating with the farmer, arranging transport, watching the lot as it comes, and then cupping again. which is what a lot of third wave roaster/retailers do and that's not a fool-proof way either.

this is why ted lingle over at cqi is working so hard on his origin atlas, transparency and gps initiatives, so that in the future every lot of coffee has distinct, traceable markers.

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posted by fortune | 1:51 PM | top | link to this | email this: | links to this post | | 0 comments

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