NCA Next Gen: Coffee & Chat with Jasmine Murphy of the J.M. Smucker Company

As the NCA Next Gen Council transitions to the next wave of coffee leaders, we wanted to collectively introduce each council member and allow them to tell their coffee story. For our first Next Gen spotlight, Bent Dietrich from American Coffee Corp. sat down with Jasmine Murphy, Assistant Manager of Green Coffee Trading with The J.M. Smucker Company, to discuss her industry experience and what makes a career in coffee so great.

Bent Dietrich: How did you get started in coffee? What is your current role?

Jasmine Murphy: I have always been fascinated by the complexity and diversity of the coffee industry and was lucky enough to get my start in coffee by chance. After college, I landed a job in a lab working on ready-to-drink milk-based products. When a position opened on the coffee team, I jumped at the opportunity. With the help of an amazing mentor, I quickly learned the ins and outs of the business, from cupping to logistics.

Since then, I’ve had the privilege of working on some incredible projects and contributing to the coffee industry in meaningful ways. In my current role at The J.M. Smucker Co., I lead the sustainability work for such iconic brands as Folgers and Bustelo.

BD: What is your favorite aspect of working in the coffee industry?

JM: One of my favorite aspects of working in the coffee industry is the opportunity for learning and growth. I love the way that coffee brings together so many different disciplines from agriculture and chemistry to finance and hospitality. It’s an incredibly dynamic and diverse industry and I feel fortunate to be a part of it – the passion and community within the industry is exceptional. 

BD: As an NCA Next Gen-er, where do you see the industry heading? Are there any exciting developments, products, or innovations that really capture your interest?

JM: At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the developments and innovations in the sustainability space are the most exciting and relevant to me and my role. It is crucial that we as an industry — and the Next Gen specifically, as up-and-coming industry leaders — highlight and prioritize sustainability at every aspect of the supply chain. I am thrilled to see the progress and commitments consistently being made by the industry and cannot wait to see what comes next!

BD: One of the best things our industry does is provide the opportunity to travel. Whether it be to an NCA Convention, an origin trip, or visiting customers, do you have any memorable experiences that come to mind?

JM: One experience that comes to mind is when we were driving through Colombia with some colleagues to visit a coffee farm. The roads were treacherous (at least from this Ohioan’s perspective), and our car was struggling to make it up a steep switchback. Eventually, we got out and decided to watch and try to help the driver navigate without rolling off the hill. It reminded me of the dedication that goes into producing every cup of coffee and the challenges that producers face to bring us this amazing beverage. Experiences like this make me grateful for the opportunities the industry provides.

Jasmine Murphy in Colombia

BD: Speaking of conventions, I have to say the NCA Convention has really become a highlight of my year. It feels almost like a family reunion at this point. How has your experience been attending NCA Conventions?

JM: I fully agree — it feels like a family reunion! Being in the industry for 10+ years at this point, you get to know so many amazing people that you do not get to see face-to-face anywhere other than at the conventions. I always enjoy attending and it is honestly one of the highlights of my professional year too.

BD: How did you originally get involved with the NCA Next Gen?

JM: I first got involved by participating in NCA Next Gen events at the NCA Convention and SCA Expo.

BD: What has been your favorite part of working with the Next Gen group?

JM: It is difficult to pick one favorite part, but I would have to say it’s working with such a passionate group of people! The Next Gen has amazing ideas and solid plans to put those ideas into action.

BD: What is something you would like to see Next Gen focus on to help young professionals in the coffee industry?

JM: In my opinion, the Next Gen group can play a crucial role in creating a strong and supportive community that helps young professionals navigate the coffee industry. Spoiler alert: We are already hard at work creating a mentorship program to help foster a new generation of coffee leaders.

BD: Let’s say it’s the NCA Convention and we are hitting a cool, local coffee shop to catch up over a cup of coffee. What is your go-to order?

JM: Depending on the offerings at this cool, local coffee shop, I would either do a pour-over Ethiopian coffee, black, or a vanilla latte with oat milk.

Cold brew is red hot — let’s make sure it stays that way

The National Coffee Association is here to help your coffee business navigate cold brew’s evolving regulatory landscape.

Cold brew may not be new, but it’s never been hotter. Demand for the format is off the charts, with 17% of coffee drinkers having had a cup of cold brew in the past week, according to the National Coffee Association’s Spring 2023 National Coffee Data Trends report. Keep in mind, this survey was conducted in January 2023 – the dead of winter – and nearly one-fifth of coffee drinkers were still choosing cold brew each week!

The coffee industry is certainly stepping up to meet this soaring demand. In fact, Technavio reports that the market for cold brew is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 7.73% between 2022 and 2027, an increase of $439.93 million.

What hasn’t kept pace with this rapid growth, however, are clear rules, regulations, data, and guidelines governing cold brew’s safety. Like all coffee, cold brew is safe. But whether you manufacture airtight ready-to-drink cold brew products or serve it from a dispenser in a retail establishment, the patchwork of state and local laws that apply can leave even the most knowledgeable food service professional scratching their heads.

Given the National Coffee Association’s scope covering the entire U.S. coffee market and our vast in-house scientific and policy expertise, we are well-positioned to help fill in these knowledge gaps. To that end, we have been spending the past several years building a library of resources to help keep your bases covered and the cold brew flowing safely into customers’ cups.  The last thing you or your company needs is a damaging recall or costly lawsuit, so the NCA is here to make sure you’re prepared when the health inspector comes a-knocking.

Last year, we added several tools to our Cold Brew Safety Toolkit: a Cold Brew Safety Guide for Retailers, designed to help retail coffee shops maintain a food-safe environment; a model retail Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) Plan, to ensure you’re taking the necessary steps to protect your product and customers; a compliance checklist, to stay on top of what a health inspector might be checking for; plus, several videos and a webcast covering these tools and how to use them. These new resources complement our existing Cold Brew Safety Toolkit for Industry, geared towards manufacturers of airtight RTD cold brew products, originally released in 2018. We also have a comprehensive FAQ to answer, well, the most frequently asked questions about cold brew safety.

Cold Brew Safety Guide for Retailers,

But NCA’s work is not done! The cold brew space continues to evolve, and we’re developing even more resources to keep you on top of the latest developments. This May 16th, 2023, I will be joined by Scott Hawks, food safety and quality expert with Toxstrategies, LLC, to lead a free, practical, hands-on workshop for NCA Members on the latest cold brew regulatory developments, NCA’s cold brew tools and resources, a forthcoming, hot-off-the-press challenge study, and more. (To learn more about the workshop, head to If you’re not an NCA member and currently handle or sell cold brew, now’s a great time to join. A comparable workshop or training held by an outside consultancy could easily run your company much more than the cost of a small retailer’s annual membership with NCA (visit to learn more).  When you consider that top food science consultants charge rates exceeding $400 an hour, becoming part of NCA is a no-brainer, especially when you consider the vast wealth of other, non-cold brew-related resources you’ll also get immediate access to.

As we speak, NCA’s Science Leadership Council (SLC) is also finishing work on the aforementioned comprehensive microbial challenge study and whitepaper, which will be an essential (and required) tool for making the case to an inspector that retail cold brew is not a likely food for pathogens to grow in. I’ll be exploring top-line results of the study at our workshop in May.

On the advocacy front, NCA is working diligently with government and advocacy bodies to solidify a standard in the FDA’s Food Code for retail cold brew specifically. This will give some much-needed clarity to the many coffee companies serving this popular format. Many state and local authorities abide by or model their own regulations after those of the federal government, so this would have a cascading positive impact all the way down the chain.

This is just the beginning for cold brew and for the NCA. With more resources in the pipeline than ever before, NCA is working hard to continually live up to our motto: We Serve Coffee. To learn more about the National Coffee Association, visit

Mark Corey, PhD. is NCA’s Director of Science and Policy. In this role, he oversees coffee science, regulatory, safety, and policy issues and serves as a technical resource to the industry. Mark holds a B.S. in Food Science and Human Health at the University of Maine, an M.S. in Food Science at the Pennsylvania State University, a Ph.D. in Food Science and Technology at the University of Georgia, and has completed a USDA National Needs fellowship in functional foods and human health. He is also a licensed Q-Arabica coffee grader and is PCQI-certified for Human Food.

Coffee & Chat with Emilio Medina, Becamo S.A.

By NCA Next Gen

Interview content does not necessarily reflect the views or position of the National Coffee Association or NCA Next Gen.

Mike Rosa, Commodities Manager at Mother Parkers Tea & Coffee, and NCA Next Gen Council Member, recently had the opportunity to talk with Emilio Medina, founder and CEO of Becamo S.A. Formed in 1983, Becamo has become widely known as one of the top coffee-exporting companies in Honduras. Mike and Emilio were able to spend some time together during Mike’s travels in Honduras where he observed some of the sustainability work being done first-hand. The following is their conversation, which has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Emilio and Mike Touring a Farm

MIKE: Emilio, it’s been a volatile few years for the industry as a whole, and exporting coffee is especially tricky. What challenge has stood out to you?

On the export side, the biggest challenge has been dealing with the inverted market. This has made projections and planning much more difficult (but important), and it has become increasingly hard to keep added costs from quickly snowballing.

On that note, what are some of the other recent challenges from an overall planning or strategy perspective?

Shipments and logistics have become much more difficult to manage, with the quality implications and cost headaches they can bring. The margin for error has decreased. Resources required for functions like document management have increased by 100%.

One recurring comment seems to be the challenge of getting the next generation of coffee farmers in Honduras engaged. Is this an area of focus for Becamo?

We had identified this as an emerging issue all the way back in 2002. It was clear that the youth’s lack of participation would become critical to address. This is when we started our first sustainability initiative in a small village near San Juan. One month later, we had already seen significant progress, and the effects on the economy and happiness within the town were evident.

The next generation needs to see that when things are done properly, there is optimism for a better future. Showing what can be possible with the right tools and education is key to demonstrating the opportunities in coffee to young people.

To that end, we created a brand called Coffee Youth – a program supporting and marketing coffee produced by the next generation of farmers. After seeing the success of this program, we created Women Coffee, a similar concept of exporting coffee labeled as being produced by women. In all our projects, the succession to the next generation of coffee is kept in mind.

Producer with daughter

Are sustainability programs finding success in getting youth engaged in coffee? What sort of messaging or education have you seen success with through Bloom/NKG Verified?

Our programs emphasize access to biodiversity in farming and continuous improvement of the quality of the coffee. This motivates producers, as they can clearly see the potential improvements to their income. We cannot lose sight of the basic truth that income is the main motivating factor for the producer. If the producer is not seeing good returns on their coffee, that is when the risk of migration becomes higher.

For young people, we need to pass along knowledge of effective agronomy practices for producing coffee. We’ve seen success with the rollout of our Ecopil technology – a key benefit to these seedlings is that they lead to well-yielding coffee trees in 18 months, instead of 3 years. To the producer, especially the young producer, seeing income starting to flow in earlier is an incentive. On top of this, the actual bags weigh less than the traditional system, so there are transportation cost savings observed.

Producer receiving Ecopil Seedlings

Outside of youth engagement, we hear about many challenges the Honduran farmer faces – availability of coffee pickers, leaf rust, etc. Where do you think the biggest areas of focus need to be to ensure the long-term health of the coffee industry in Honduras?

The focus we need to have is on the improvement of the producer’s income. All the supply chain actors have a role to play in ensuring that the price to the producer is fair, motivating, and sufficient to cover their basic needs.

One other aspect of our programs is strengthening the education and health programs in the local community. This can motivate youth to stay in the coffee areas/where they were born, because they have essentials like good health and education. Having these needs met ensures they don’t need to look elsewhere like the United States in order to find those opportunities.

With these initiatives continuing to grow in scale, do you feel there is a notable upside to the current Honduran production levels we have seen? Or is steady production with better farmer profitability a more reasonable target?

Sustainability initiatives need to grow much larger to negate the trends of migration and abandonment of farms. In my opinion, Honduras will not be able to return to 10 million quintals (7.7M 60kg bags), due to factors such as lack of labor, climate change, and costs. If costs increase, there will be a strong demotivation for producers, so we need these initiatives to help producers in advance. To maintain or increase production in Honduras, we must work together. Producers, exporters, roasters, NGOs, etc. to improve the producer’s income.

Looking to the future, what is your vision for Becamo’s continued development and its identity?

Becamo has been and will continue to be highly committed to coffee growers. Every day, we try to bring more allies to our producer’s sustainable services unit, to bring knowledge and better income to the producer. Right now we are about to sign into a large collaboration program with USAID, among others, reinforcing our end goal of assisting the producer.

On a personal level, which skills do you think were most valuable for you when coming up and navigating the ups and downs of the coffee world?

I always kept a focus on seeking efficiencies, efficiency in the marketplace, and then within my company. Nowadays, that focus on efficiencies has moved towards sustainable coffee growing projects, as they are the key to the future of the coffee industry. Without a theme of efficiency embedded in these programs, costs can run out of control and threaten their success or farmer adoption.

If there was a piece of advice you would tell your younger self, as you were growing in the industry, what would it be?

Stay disciplined. Respect the rules and set risk limits. Attention to quality and best practices will always guide you in the right direction.

What do you want the broader coffee community to know about the Honduran producer?

They are heroes. They are persistent, hardworking, and want to stay committed to continuing to produce. With that said, those of us in a position to do so must continue to support and guide.

Mike with the Becamo team

Earth Day – Coffee’s Sustainability Journey

Happy Earth Day, coffee lovers!

Our shared environment provides myriad gifts to celebrate today and every day, but we would be remiss not to highlight one of our favorite natural gifts: coffee.

With 65% of Americans drinking coffee each day (according to our latest National Coffee Data Trends (NCDT) Report), coffee is a mainstay in millions of people’s daily lives, including 25 million smallholder farmers around the world. Coffee is certainly far too beloved and important to take for granted as we all work to protect the health of our environment.

Climate change could have significant impacts on coffee, which is uniquely vulnerable to temperature changes and extreme weather, which can damage plants and worsen diseases and pests. Some estimates say that without mitigations, climate change could reduce land suitable for growing coffee by half by 2050.

Clearly, combatting climate change requires action and achievement across our global society. For our part, the coffee community has been a leader in seeking to make coffee the world’s first truly sustainable agricultural commodity, across all three aspects of sustainability as defined by the United Nations – economic, social, and environmental.

Coffee companies across the supply chain have adopted ambitious commitments and comprehensive programs to achieve sustainability, with efforts addressing everything from land use to farmer livelihoods and more. Highlights and summaries of such efforts are available in NCA’s Sustainability Showcase. As of 2019 (the last year for which we have aggregated data), the coffee community had committed more than $531 million to sustainability efforts around the world.

As just one example, NCA’s 2020 Origin Charity Award recipient TechnoServe specializes in business approaches to reducing poverty worldwide. TechnoServe’s coffee programs across Latin America, Africa, and Asia focus on four key drivers of impact that improve farmers’ livelihoods and create greater value across the supply chain:

●     Better Farming: TechnoServe has trained more than 400,000 coffee farmers on sustainable agronomy practices, helping them to increase their productivity and income.  

●     Better Business: TechnoServe has helped farmers construct 266 new coffee-processing businesses and advised more than 760 existing processing businesses. This support has helped improve coffee quality and market access, increasing the incomes of 500,000 farmers globally.

●     Better Supply Chains: TechnoServe has worked with partners across the coffee ecosystem to develop practical and sustainable solutions to supply-chain issues, including access to finance and improved transparency.

●     Better Environment: Pioneering simple, cost-effective solutions, TechnoServe has helped 843 businesses in the coffee value chain to adopt sustainability standards and create positive environmental and social impacts in their communities.

Research also plays a key role. As part of our overall positive agenda for the future of coffee, NCA works with organizations like World Coffee Research to advocate for investments in research and development that will protect coffee plant health and help meet global demand sustainably, including through U.S. government programs and funding.

To further enhance the achievement of sector-wide goals and the implementation of multistakeholder initiatives, coffee leaders support efforts like the Sustainable Coffee Challenge (SCC). The SCC’s 2050 goals unite public and private sector partners committed to conserving natural resources and helping coffee farmers thrive while producing coffee more sustainably than ever and meeting growing global demand. In SCC’s Commitments Hub, you can explore 169 commitments being implemented from farm to cup.

Numerous other partners are working to drive solutions and measure impact. For example, the International Coffee Organization is currently working with the International Trade Centre to map global coffee sustainability efforts with the aims to:

●     Provide greater transparency on sustainability investments in coffee-producing countries

●     Enable insights on thematic concentrations, synergies, and gaps

●     Encourage further collaboration, partnerships, and coordination

A growing share of coffee meets various definitions for sustainable sourcing. The Global Coffee Platform’s 2021 sustainability snapshot found that about half the coffee sourced by reporting companies met GCP’s standards for “sustainable coffee purchases.” According to the International Institute for Sustainable Development, nearly 40% of all coffee purchased in 2020 (1.4 million tons) was sustainably sourced and compliant with voluntary sustainability standards or a corporate sustainability initiative.

In the United States and around the world, coffee drinkers and businesses depend on a truly global supply chain that must start with thriving coffee farmers and a healthy environment. At NCA, we are working hard to support members’ sustainability efforts and to maintain strong multistakeholder relationships that advance the achievement of common goals. That’s something worth celebrating.

The reason is the season: Coffee’s seasonal taste and temperature trends

It’s one of the most wonderful times of the year! That’s right, spring has sprung and the latest edition of the National Coffee Data Trends (NCDT) report is here.

Commissioned by the National Coffee Association (NCA) since 1950, the NCDT report is the longest-running study of American consumers’ coffee drinking patterns. Polling is conducted twice per year, with results released in the spring and fall, giving coffee insiders exclusive access to in-depth and up-to-date data on consumers’ coffee behaviors and also their overall perceptions, economic situations, and more.

For more than two decades, coffee has been America’s favorite beverage, and that shows no signs of changing. 65% of Americans drank coffee in the past day – more than any other beverage, including bottled or tap water!

While coffee’s overall popularity has not shown much change in recent years, this spring’s report provides an important window into coffee trends as consumers continue to emerge from the disruptions of the last several years. Spring 2023 NCDT results show that past-day coffee consumption is above pre-pandemic levels for all age groups, but some other effects remain.

The pandemic has not changed how much coffee Americans drink – 1.9 cups per person or 2.9 cups per past-day coffee drinker, about the same as in January 2020. However, the pandemic has had lingering effects on where Americans drink coffee.

In the new report, 83% of past-day coffee drinkers had coffee at home, up by 4% since January 2020. By comparison, 35% had coffee away from home, continuing to rebound from a low of 31% in January 2021, but down from 41% in January 2020.

Other changes in the Spring 2023 NCDT can be attributed to seasonal swings. Unsurprisingly, colder temperatures when polling was conducted in January 2023 resulted in some warmer cups – 84% of past-day coffee drinkers had a hot coffee, up 10% from polling in July 2022 (published in October).

Consumption of cold coffee overall (a category that includes both iced and frozen blended beverages) decreased by 13% from July 2022 to January 2023, while iced coffee itself decreased by 40%. Interestingly, frozen coffee doesn’t show the same swing, with consumption remaining steady at 11% since the summer.

Like coffee’s overall popularity, some other findings in today’s report show remarkable staying power. Drip coffee makers have been the most popular preparation method for at least the last 13 years since the question was first included in the NCDT. 40% of past-day coffee drinkers have had coffee prepared in a drip brewer.

In second place, 28% of past-day coffee drinkers used a single-cup brewer, holding steady with performance over the last few years.

Our NCDT insights don’t end there! That’s just a small sip of the data and analysis available in the full report. Stay tuned here on the NCD blog for more sneak peeks and click here to purchase the NCDT consumer research series.

NCA Next Gen in Tampa

By: NCA Next Gen

Tampa, Florida is home to many things: a robust cigar industry, the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team, and piping hot restaurant scene. The broader coffee industry found a temporary home in Tampa from March 9th through March 11th, 2023, as the city served as host for the 2023 National Coffee Association Annual Convention. Sunshine and warm temperatures made our time in Tampa a breeze, but it was the NCA community, reunited for the first time in 3 years, that made Tampa feel like “home.”

Despite the beautiful “beach-ready” weather, there was no time to waste! Next Gen Council leadership got to work bright and early on day one with a strategic planning meeting with NCA President & CEO Bill Murray, NCA Vice President of Operations Kellem Emanuele, NCA Sr. Manager of Education, Research, and Digital Media Matthew Cariani, and Rob Menos, Chair of the NCA Board of Directors. If this strategic planning session was any indication, there is no doubt that you should expect big things from the NCA and NCA Next Gen over the coming year. Be sure to follow the NCA Next Gen LinkedIn page to stay on top of important updates. 

NCA Next Gen Council and NCA Leadership following the conclusion of the 2023 strategic planning session.
Members of the Next Gen Council meet at their first annual NCA Convention dinner.
They don’t call us “Next Gen” for nothing! This photo marked the start of the annual Next Gen Council selfie.

For the full Next Gen membership, the convention kicked off with a wonderfully informative session featuring Ryan Delany of Coffee Trading Academy. With a talk that featured statistics, a lesson on expected value, and a healthy dose of dad jokes, Ryan laid the groundwork for all participants to develop a better understanding of risk in the coffee market.

Next Gen members network ahead of Ryan Delany’s session on risk in the coffee market. 

“I was impressed and happy to see that so many young coffee people gathered at the NCA and especially at the Next Gen [session]…The presentation from Ryan was well-put together — and as part of the SCTA Next Gen Council, we try to achieve something similar. Overall, it was a great success!”

Max Schneider, Trader at Hamburg Coffee Company

The day of Next Gen activities didn’t stop there; the afternoon continued with many Next Gen-ers taking part in the NCA Coffee Gives Back Day of Service. We spent that afternoon working at “Starting Right, Now” a home for students who are supported by the organization Starting Right, Now, a program that is dedicated to ending youth homelessness in Tampa. Throughout the day, we painted the students’ bedrooms and central living area, deep cleaned the kitchen, washed the windows, and refreshed the garden area while getting to know our colleagues from areas across the coffee industry. 

Coffee Gives Back Day of Service participants line up preparing to serve the community.
Day of Service participant paints the common area.

“I was teamed up with several great people as we painted one of the bedroom areas. While painting, we got to know each other, talked about our respective roles in coffee, shared our tastes in music as we agreed on the music station, and chatted about our other hobbies. The work and contributions that we made were meaningful to start, but having spent time with this group at Day of Service also carried great value as I now have more friends and connections in the industry and look forward to again connecting with them at future events.” 

Nora Johnson, Sr. Manager, Commodities, Massimo Zanetti Beverage USA

Thursday night was rounded out with the Next Gen Networking and Social Event at Armature Works. The event had a great turnout and allowed for many Next Gen-ers to build relationships that would further develop over the next few days of the convention – and hopefully for the many years to come! 

“I have been in the coffee industry 2 years, but because I joined amid the global shutdown, NCA 2023 was my first in-person show; and what a great experience it was! From Bill Murray kicking things off to Scott Clemons simplifying complex economic issues, all presenters did a fantastic job educating and conveying their message in a purposeful manner. A special shout-out goes to the Next Gen team for organizing several events. I was fortunate to have met some of the Next Gen members through the communications committee. The events offered myself and others the opportunity to meet future leaders in the coffee industry and develop long-lasting relationships. Cheers to Nashville 2024!”

Mike Vilarino, Business Integrations Manager at Baronet 
Next Gen-ers networking at the Next Gen Networking and Social Event in Tampa, FL.
Next Gen raffle winners show off their prices! 

#NCATampa23 marked the triumphant return of the in-person NCA Annual Convention, and nothing was left on the table! NCA Next Gen is already back to the grind and hard at work to bring the membership more opportunities over the next year. Get ready now – NCA Nashville 2024 is going to be another convention that you won’t want to miss!

2023 NCA Convention: Serving Resilience & Reinvention in Tampa

After two years of convening virtually, the National Coffee Association celebrated a successful return to in-person Conventions! Two weeks ago, we welcomed nearly 800 attendees from the coffee world and beyond to our 2023 Annual Convention, held this year at the Tampa Marriott Water Street in sunny Tampa, Florida. Our exhibitor hall tabletops we bustling, the energy in the hotel was electric, and as we comb through surveys and social media, the feedback we’ve received has been overwhelmingly positive. We want to thank our sponsors, exhibitors, speakers, attendees, and staff for helping to make this year’s Convention such a success.

This year’s Convention theme, Resilience & Reinvention, spoke to the industry’s ability to evolve to meet the challenges of the day and thrive despite ongoing economic and public health challenges.

Keynote speakers included Cheryl Hung of Dig Insights, who previewed the latest data in the upcoming National Coffee Data Trends report; G. Scott Clemons of Brown Brothers Harriman, whose session “This Time Isn’t So Different” offered a potential path forward for economic growth; Amanda Lindhout who explored the critical components of resilience with her inspiring story of survival; Sarita Maybin, who spoke about turning uncomfortable conversations into constructive communication; and Tim Powell of Foodservice IP, who looked at what’s next for C-store coffee.

NCA also presented two awards. The first went to Charles “Charlie” Cortellini, presented with the NCA Distinguished Leadership Award in honor of his over four decades of service and dedication to the NCA and coffee industry. The second award was presented to Days for Girls International, NCA’s 2023 Origin Charity of the Year, in recognition of their work improving the health, education, and livelihood outcomes of women and girls in coffee-growing regions around the world.

Days for Girls will receive a portion of the proceeds from the Step n’ Serve Challenge, where Convention attendees got moving for a good cause, racking up over 2.5 million steps in support of DfG’s mission. In fact, the NCA community gave back to multiple great causes this year. The Coffee Gives Back Day of Service benefitted Starting Right, Now – a program dedicated to ending youth homelessness in Tampa. Volunteers helped give one of Starting Right, Now’s facilities a makeover, planting flowers, herbs, and vegetables; washing windows; deep-cleaning the kitchen; and painting residents’ bedrooms and common areas.

Attendee volunteers also helped to provide local Floridians who suffered loss from the recent hurricanes with much-needed eco-friendly household goods and supplies by assembling donation kits at the United Way Suncoast Sustainability Project station.

Finally, we can’t forget the fun. Each night of the Convention was capped with an evening reception, where attendees were able to unwind, reconnect with old friends, and create lasting connections with colleagues from across the industry. Social events at NCA Conventions are not only great celebrations but also serve as low-pressure opportunities to network with the people that make this industry work. The smiling faces say it all — we were all thrilled to be back together in person for the first time in three years!

The next NCA Annual Convention will be held in Nashville, Tennessee, March 7-9, 2024. Now that we’re back in the groove of in-person Conventions, we’re already looking forward to doing it all over again. We can’t wait to see you all in Nashville — sign up here to receive details!

Celebrate National Nutrition Month With a Cup of Coffee

Coffee is an everyday staple for many Americans – in fact, more Americans (66% of adults) drink coffee each day than any other beverage. NCA conducts the longest-running study of consumer coffee habits in the United States, and our most recent data show that not only is coffee maintaining its popularity overall, but it’s also more popular than ever with younger generations. In September 2022, 51% of 18 to 24-year-olds drank coffee each day, surpassing the previous record of 50% from September 2020.

Whether as fuel for our mornings, an afternoon boost, or just for the flavor and aroma – Americans love coffee. And during March – National Nutrition Month – there is even more reason to celebrate coffee’s unique benefits! 

For Nutrition Month, let’s start with the basics. Coffee is a calorie-free food, as defined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). That is, the USDA Nutrient Database reports the calorie content of 8 ounces of coffee (without sweeteners, creamers, or other additives) as 2.37 calories. With less than 5 calories per serving, coffee qualifies as a “calorie-free” food. While it doesn’t have calories, coffee does contain more than 1000 natural compounds that may be related to its health impact. For example, coffee is a major source of antioxidants in U.S. diets. 

The 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans include coffee as a beverage that can be part of healthy dietary patterns. When it comes to coffee’s place in healthy diets, it’s reasonable to wonder about the impact of ingredients commonly added to coffee – for example, dairy (or dairy alternatives) and sweeteners. Our data show that 35% of past-day coffee drinkers take their coffee without any milk or creamers and 54% take it without sugar or sweetener. Just 29% use dairy or dairy alternatives and 27% use sugar. Importantly, if those who enjoy coffee with a bit of sugar (1-2 tsp per cup) have 3 cups of coffee a day, they will have consumed just an additional 48-96 calories. A 2022 analysis from the UK Biobank Study, one of the best-designed prospective cohort studies in the world, associates greater longevity with coffee drinking. This association with higher longevity was even found among those who consume sugar-sweetened coffee.  

So, what are the specific health benefits of coffee? Decades of independent scientific evidence show that drinking coffee is associated with living longer, healthier, happy lives. Prospective studies, published in peer-reviewed journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine and Circulation, encompassing hundreds of thousands of people in the United States, United Kingdom, other European countries, South Korea, and elsewhere show increased longevity in coffee drinkers. In fact, a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that compared with nonconsumers, participants with the highest level of coffee consumption had a statistically significant lower all-cause mortality. Moreover, among women, there was a statistically significant inverse association of coffee drinking with circulatory disease mortality and cerebrovascular disease mortality. 

In a blog post last month, we discussed in detail coffee’s positive impact on heart health. In addition to being associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease (the leading cause of death for Americans), drinking coffee is associated with a reduced risk of multiple cancers. The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) recommends drinking coffee “regularly” and the American Cancer Society (ACS) has concluded that coffee reduces the risk of multiple cancers including liver cancer, endometrial cancer, cancers of the mouth, pharynx, and larynx, as well as basal cell skin cancer and melanoma. 

These statements are backed up by dozens of high-quality studies. One study found that coffee is the only antioxidant food associated with reduced risk of the most common type of skin cancer, cutaneous melanoma. According to the ACS, skin cancer is “by far the most common type of cancer.” In fact, one in every five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70.

Coffee consumption is also associated with maintaining a healthy body weight and reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes, another leading cause of ill health for Americans. A study published in The Journal of Nutrition in 2020 found that higher coffee consumption (both caffeinated and decaffeinated) was associated with “significantly lower total body fat percentage and trunk body fat” in women.  

Evidence indicates that moderate coffee consumption is associated with a significantly reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes. According to Diabetes UK, research has indicated a “notably lower risk” of type 2 diabetes for coffee drinkers, about 40% reduced risk for those who drink 3 cups/day. The organization says decaffeinated coffee may have particular benefits for people living with diabetes. Specific studies have supported this finding. For example, a study published in Nutrition Reviews found that coffee consumption is inversely associated with the risk of Type 2 Diabetes; this may be due to coffee’s antioxidative and anti-inflammatory effects, among other benefits.  

As if that weren’t good news enough, drinking coffee is also associated with mental health benefits. Meta-analyses of studies including more than 300,000 individuals found that each cup of coffee reduced the risk of depression by about 8%, with the greatest benefits from four cups per day.  

We could go on (and we have – for example, in our recent comment to FDA regarding its draft rule on products eligible to be labeled as “healthy”). The evidence is clear: coffee makes unique contributions as part of healthy dietary patterns that support good nutrition and health. 

One recent column published in The Atlantic went so far as to call coffee “a miracle.” That particular claim isn’t scientific, but we tend to agree with the sentiment! This month and every month, we hope the evidence on coffee and health gives you an extra reason to enjoy your favorite brew.

Convention Networking: A Practical Guide

NCA Networking

By William “Bill” Murray, President & CEO, NCA

This post was originally published on LinkedIn

For over twenty years, I worked for the motion picture industry. Networking has always been the lifeblood of Hollywood – even while it was maddeningly difficult.

Take film industry conventions.

Hollywood has a couple of typical industry conferences, but most gatherings revolve around film festivals – often in glamorous, expensive places. There’s seldom a big exhibit hall with vendors – instead, filmmakers show clips of their work in private rooms, writers “pitch” scripts in one-on-one meetings, and deals are made at unadvertised parties.

There’s a secretive, fluid mystery to everything that’s happening, and always the sense that you are missing something. That uncertainty is complemented by the chaos of autograph seekers, paparazzi, and publicists all jockeying for attention. Unless you know how to “work” a film festival, you might as well stay home.

While networking at film festivals and association conventions may seem to have little in common, there is one key aspect in which they are similar: if you plan to network at either, you’ll need to have a strategy and go prepared.

For association conventions, here’s what’s key:

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Hearts ♥️ Coffee 

It’s well-understood that coffee is good for the soul – a welcome companion to add some get-up-and-go to any morning (or afternoon!) Less known, however, might be coffee’s unique impacts beyond that burst of joy and energy. 

In fact, coffee is associated with a reduced risk of multiple cancers and chronic diseases, including liver and endometrial cancers and heart disease. That’s right, coffee is good for the heart and the soul! And there’s no better time than American Heart Month to celebrate all the ways coffee supports heart health. 

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for Americans. In 2020, nearly 700,000 people in the United States died from heart disease, and every year more than 800,000 suffer heart attacks.  

While there are countless, complex factors that determine an individual’s risk for heart disease, common risk factors include diabetes, high weight and/or obesity, poor diet, and a sedentary lifestyle. The federal government has identified combatting risk factors like type 2 diabetes, obesity, and hypertension as top health priorities.  

A large body of scientific evidence gives reason to think coffee can help. Dating back to at least 2008, large, high-quality studies have consistently shown that drinking up to 6 cups of coffee per day is associated with a significantly decreased incidence of high blood pressure for those who don’t already have it.  

Other studies show that drinking coffee is associated with well-functioning metabolisms and can help people maintain a healthy weight, even those with genetic predispositions toward obesity.  

A 2020 study found that participants who drank 4 cups of coffee per day showed a loss of fat mass and reduced levels of excreted creatinine- a hormone which if found to be excreted at high levels can be an indicator of diabetes.  

Just last year, a study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology found that decaffeinated, ground, and instant coffee, particularly at 2–3 cups per day, were all associated with significant reductions in incident cardiovascular disease and mortality.  

One study published in the American Heart Association’s Stroke journal found that drinking just one cup of coffee per week reduced the risk of death (from any cause) by 14%, and the protective effect was particularly pronounced in heart attack survivors. Coffee drinkers who previously survived a heart attack were 22% less likely to die prematurely.  

Some researchers have even concluded that coffee can help heal a broken heart – a protein found in coffee promotes heart cell health and can help protect cells from dying after a heart attack. The same study also notes that coffee consumption resulted in improved cardiovascular function in elderly populations and concludes that coffee could serve as an additional protective dietary factor for older people. 

If that weren’t enough, coffee can also help support heart health by contributing to other healthy habits like exercise. For example, coffee consumption can help improve performance and endurance as well as help muscles recover more efficiently.  

In short, your morning coffee (or coffees, if you’re anything like me) is doing a lot more than making the work day more enjoyable. It’s working to keep your heart healthy and your body moving. If that isn’t a good reason to love your brew even more, I don’t know what is.