Plant Trees. Save Coffee.

Help Build Stronger Coffee Communities

By Bambi Semroc, Vice President, Sustainable Markets and Strategy for Conservation International and leader of the Sustainable Coffee Challenge


Trees get old. They get sick. They die. And it’s up to us to replant them.

I grew up alongside two beautiful, mature and statuesque maple trees in the back yard. My parents saved those trees when they built our house. Dad said you don’t cut down old trees because it takes too long to grow another one. I watched showers of helicopter seeds fall in the spring. I raked their leaves and jumped in huge piles every fall with my brother. We mulched and planted flowers around them. Those trees are still standing, but my dad is not. I have long-since moved away and so has my brother. My mom now cares for those trees on her own. Last month she called with the sad news that she has to remove one because it is dying. I can’t imagine that tree not being there, and I wonder what tree we will plant to replace it.

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Flavor as the common thread for coffee quality along the value chain

Coffee cupping prep ©2019 Decisive Moment, NCA Convention

The role of cupping in specialty coffee

By Mario R. Fernández-Alduenda, The Coffee Quality Institute
Excerpted from The Sustainable Cultivation of Coffee
Discount available for NCA members


The popularity of coffee is still growing, but the definition of what makes a ‘good’ cup of coffee is complex.

It might be tempting to think that it is largely subjective, with so many types of coffee grown around the world, so many processes to consider throughout the value chain, and so many local and national preferences.

However, the sustainability of the industry depends on the value placed on certain types of coffee. Local economies can thrive or fail, depending on the desirability of their crop.

The growing preference for ‘specialty’ coffee, sold at a premium price, is making the quality question even more critical. The ability to distinguish specific characteristics that make some crops more desirable than standard commercial coffee has become a major consideration over the last 20 years.

Physical characteristics of the bean or cherry are not good indicators of flavor in the cup, so how is this important choice to be made?

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Support coffee farmers – pour another cup!

Harvesting coffee cherries in Nicaragua. Source

The science behind increasing global demand

By Bill (William) Murray, President & CEO, National Coffee Association

I’ve been thinking about the good news, challenges, and opportunities that face all of us in the coffee community – just as I travel to Brazil for the upcoming World Coffee Producers Forum

The good news should be well known to all:  last month California finally gave coffee the all clear, joining scientists worldwide in concluding that coffee does not cause cancer and may in fact protect against cancer and other diseases.

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A Partnership to Protect the Future of Coffee

The NCA is working with the Sustainable Coffee Challenge to help make coffee the world’s first agricultural product

By William (Bill) Murray, President & CEO, National Coffee Association


Here at the National Coffee Association (NCA), we like to say that “we serve coffee.”

With the rising threat of climate change, serving coffee today also means serving the planet. We know coffee’s future depends on coffee being the world’s first fully sustainable crop.

To help make this vision a reality, I am immensely proud that the NCA has joined the Sustainable Coffee Challenge.

(Read the official news release.)

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Infographic: Sustainability Sells

Shoppers are expected to spend an estimated $150 billion on sustainable products by 2021

via Nielsen

While we expect sustainable-minded shoppers to spend up to $150 billion on sustainable products by 2021, sustainability is starting to drive gains in everything from resource management to product packaging.

Here’s a glimpse into the myriad ways in which companies are embracing sustainability (and outperforming) along the way.

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Climate for Action: New Uses for Used Coffee Grounds

Recycling coffee grounds is not only beneficial for gardeners, but helps reduce the amount of waste going into landfills.

This post originally appeared on the EPA Blog

By Loreal Crumbley, for the EPA’s Environmental Education Division


Many of you may be looking for effective green tips.  One tip I can offer you is to recycle used coffee grounds.

Coffee mixed with soil can be used as a natural fertilizer. Used coffee grounds provide gardens with an abundant source of nutrition. Recycling coffee grounds is not only beneficial for gardeners but it helps in reducing the amount of waste going into landfills.

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How to Empower Coffee Communities to Thrive

Inside the community-driven mission of The Coffee Trust, NCA 2019 Origin Charity of the Year

The National Coffee Association recognized The Coffee Trust as the recipient of the 2019 NCA Origin Charity of the Year Award, sponsored by Mother Parker’s Tea & Coffee, during the NCA 2019 Annual Convention in Atlanta.

Two Award finalists – meriting special mention – were Pueblo a Pueblo, Inc. and Strategies for International Development.

[Read the NCA News release and visit the NCA Coffee Charity Showcase to learn more.]

Here, Bill Fishbein, The Coffee Trust Founder and Executive Director, explains from the field what makes this organization so special – and how they are happily working themselves our of jobs in communities at origin.

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3 Highlights From the National Coffee Association USA Convention 2019

Specialty coffee cupping session at the NCA Convention in Atlanta
Spencer Turer (Coffee Analysts), Julie O’Brien (The Coffee Trust), and Monica Walker (Walker Coffee Trading) enjoying a cupping session led by Blue Donkey Coffee at the NCA 2019 Convention in Atlanta

Pt. 1: The Crema the Crop


Leaders, experts, and entrepreneurs from across the coffee industry came together for the 2019 NCA Annual Convention in the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel in Atlanta, GA. The 3-day event was themed “Coffee at the Crossroads” and sponsored by Community Coffee, which is currently celebrating its centennial anniversary as a family-owned company.

From networking events to specialty coffee education, the jam-packed (and highly caffeinated) conference offered something for everyone.

Here, we’ve highlighted a few of our favorite moments, with more to come in the weeks ahead.

(If you attended #NCA19 and want to share what you’ve learned, share a comment below or tag @nationalcoffeeusa in your photos!)

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Video: The Future of Coffee Pods in North America

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Learn more about the maturing coffee pod market at the 2019 National Coffee Association Convention in Atlanta

Peaking at $5.7 billion in sales in 2016, demand for single-serve capsules has leveled off after capturing a significant portion of the US coffee market, according to Euromonitor market research reported by STiR Magazine.

Experts say that the industry will need to undergo some major changes in order to recapture some of the old excitement and increase growth rates in the category.

What lessons can be learned from the mature pod markets of Western Europe that could be applied to the category in North America?

The Future of Coffee Pods in North America | Market Research Blog

Find out at the 2019 National Coffee Association Convention in Atlanta, on March 7-9.

Euromonitor‘s Matthew Barry will lead an in-depth educational session discussing the coffee pods market in North America, including the effect of private labels and off-brand pods as well as environmental sustainability.

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Sustainability Standards: More Complex For Coffee Than Wine

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Leading sustainability standards for coffee are truly international and used worldwide.

By Morten Scholer, former UN advisor and author of the recent book Coffee and Wine: Two Worlds Compared 

 Part I: Sustainability Standards For Coffee – With Hidden Agendas


The coffee sector looks up to the wine sector for several reasons – including the wine sector’s long and prestigious history, the sensory descriptions, the sophisticated branding with use of terms like terroir, and the (sometimes) high prices.

While the coffee sector can no doubt learn a lot from wine, there are also areas where the wine sector has reason to admire coffee – and sustainability standards is one of them.

Sustainability standards are in several ways more complex for coffee than for wine, especially in terms of developing the standards, training, compliance, and monitoring.

This is certainly not to say that it is easy for the wine community, but here are four of the reasons.

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