Pt. I: Sustainability Standards For Coffee – With Hidden Agendas

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Changing from conventional to more sustainable practices

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

The following post is first in a two-part series 


Almost half of all coffee is produced under one of the recognized sustainability standards. That’s 70 million bags, or four million metric tons.

However, only around a third of sustainably recognized coffee is eventually traded and labelled as sustainable – a discrepancy that is being addressed by all parties involved in attempts to reduce the gap.

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NCA Cold Brew Toolkit: FAQs

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New! NCA Workshop for Coffee Professionals:

The Business & Safety of Cold Brew | Nov. 6 | Sponsored by: Toddy, LLC


What is cold brew coffee?

“At its core, cold brew is a brewing method, not a serving method,” explains Mark Corey, Ph.D., NCA Director of Scientific & Government Affairs.

Dr. Corey led a team of specialized experts to develop the NCA Cold Brew Toolkit, now available to the entire coffee industry. (Read more background about the report and related food safety considerations.)

The Toolkit offers science-based technical guidance and recommended best practices – visit the NCA website for more details.

While working on the report, we received a lot of questions – from consumers and companies alike – about the beverage market’s hottest trend.

Here are some expert-approved answers to common questions about what “cold brew coffee” really means:

NCA Cold Brew Coffee FAQs

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How To Choose Flooring, Walls, Ceilings, and Doors For Facility Food Safety

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When it comes to food safety, materials matter.

By Joseph Bove, PE, Stellar, Vice President, Business Development

This post was originally published on Food For Thought


Whether you’re designing a new food and beverage facility (like a coffee roasting plant) or renovating an existing one, it’s important to consider the materials you choose for to surround your processing — literally.

When it comes to food safety, these features sometimes get less attention than other factors — such as equipment, ingredient storage/segregation and product handling — but they can be a plant’s Achilles heel if ignored.

Here, we’re going to look at the best practices when selecting materials for your facility’s flooring, walls, ceilings, and doors.

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Tricks of the Trade (Show): 9 Steps to Exhibitor Success

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[Editor’s note: Learn more about exhibitor opportunities at the NCA Annual Convention 2018 in New Orleans, March 15-17]

This post originally appeared on Perfect Daily Grind

Are you exhibiting at a coffee festival or trade show? Or considering it?

Exhibiting is a good business choice. It’s a straightforward, face-to-face way of engaging with your community and clients (current and future). It can allow you to shape the face of your business. And it’s an opportunity to make a more lasting impression than some methods of digital outreach.

Yet without the right preparation, you won’t see the return on investment you’re looking for. Being able to own your space and maximize your engagement with others is key but far from easy, while having to be “on” and present at all times can be a challenge. So before shelling out and setting up, make sure you’re ready.

Feeling daunted? Don’t worry; we’re here to tell you how to make exhibiting a solid business investment. Read on for our 9 steps to seeing an excellent return (and actually enjoying yourself).

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Year in Review: Our Top 5 Coffee Posts of 2017

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2017 was a big year for coffee.

What – and where – we drink is changing. Specialty trends moved into the mainstream, from the cold brew craze to the rise of RTD. Today, consumers have unprecedented control to customize their beverage, from unique flavors to nutrition-driven additives (oat milk, anyone?).

To reflect how these changes are reshaping our industry, the NCA even added a new “gourmet” category to our National Coffee Drinking Trends report.

Yet at the same time, the fundamentals of coffee remain as relevant as ever.  Whether you’re a brewing beginner or a brilliant barista, understanding the basics of what makes a quality cup is still crucial to developing and refining new brew methods and flavors. For instance: Extraction will always be a factor, and your equipment needs to be clean.

We’re looking forward to what the next year will bring – we’re seeing a lot of exciting new research on coffee and health, opportunities to improve industry best practices, and critical developments in sustainability.

But the New Year is also an opportunity to reflect on where we’ve been. Here are the most popular NCA blog posts in 2017, highlighting the importance of both innovation and tradition in the world of coffee.

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Gender Equity: Strengthening the Links of the Coffee Supply Chain

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Gender equity is good for the coffee business.

The Partnership for Gender Equity (PGE) believes that vibrant farming communities are the key to producing better coffee, and more of it. Therefore, they’re working to address this issue through large-scale collaboration, standardized best practices, and stronger data – starting with the report, “The Way Forward: Accelerating Gender Equity in Coffee Value Chains.”

During a recent NCA webinar, “Gender Equity: Strengthening the Links of the Coffee Supply Chain,” industry experts Kimberly Easson, Samantha Veide, and Chad Trewick discussed key findings, required resources, and where the industry can go from here.

Four highlights emerged from the research:

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Coffee Careers: What Are Internships Worth?

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Internships are critical for hands-on experience in a new profession – especially in an industry complex as coffee. Developing new skills and connections gives you a critical advantage in today’s competitive job market.

For employers, interns offer companies fresh perspectives, critical support to boost team productivity, and/or specialized talent to knock out that key project with long-term benefits. It’s also a great way to give back to the industry, cultivating future leaders through education and mentorship. [Ed. note: Check out our new Coffee Career Center for internships tailored specifically for the coffee industry.]

Here, NCA CEO (and association veteran) William (Bill) Murray shares the importance of establishing an ethical internship program, creating a mutually beneficial and rewarding experience.

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The Business Case for Diversity in Coffee

By Melissa Pugash and Margaret Swallow

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Source: IWCA

“Diversity matters because we increasingly live in a global world that has become deeply interconnected. It should come as no surprise that more diverse companies and institutions are achieving better performance. Most organizations, including [ours], have work to do in taking full advantage of the opportunity that a more diverse leadership team represents, and, in particular, more work to do on the talent pipeline: attracting, developing, mentoring, sponsoring, and retaining the next generations of global leaders at all levels.

“Given the increasing returns that diversity is expected to bring, it is better to invest now, as winners will pull further ahead and laggards will fall further behind.”

Source: Diversity Matters

Whether you are a wholesale roaster, café chain operator, importer, exporter, grower or supplier of allied goods and services, diversity is important to your business.

Research shows that the definition of diversity is changing and that there is an intergenerational difference – what diversity means to a Millennial is quite different from what it means to a Baby Boomer.

But how do you go about implementing the best team building practices in your own company?

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