“Handouts Don’t Work”: Empowering 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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Coffee Clickbait Goes Bananas

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New research on coffee and climate change indicates an urgent situation for crops at origin

Behind the headlines on the future of coffee, according to science – and how you can get involved.

By William (Bill) Murray, NCA CEO & President
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Complete with the typical clickbait-style headline, a recent article intoned that the global population is imminently doomed to a world without coffee – and “not much” can be done about this “on a personal level.”

Sounds grim.

But it could be easy to miss the glimmer of hope buried in the last line:

This future could look bleak for morning coffee drinkers, but with the help of farmers and scientists, our cup of joe can be protected.”

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Coffee Gives Back: Showcase Spotlight

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Applications for the NCA 2019 Origin Charity of the Year Award are due December 10. Learn more


By William, (Bill) Murray, NCA CEO & President
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Now more than ever, our communities and neighbors could use a helping hand. In the coffee industry, our community crosses borders with our supply chain, and giving back is no longer optional.

Here at the National Coffee Association (NCA), we decided about a year ago that – rather than starting yet one more program to help others – we were uniquely positioned to help in a different way.

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Video: Community Coffee’s Hurricane Florence Relief Efforts

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It’s been two weeks since Hurricane Florence slammed into the Carolina coast. In the storm’s devastating wake, communities across the southeastern United States are still struggling with flooding, wastewater, and access to basic supplies.

During difficult times, small things can mean the most. That’s why the Community Coffee team, in partnership with organizations like The Salvation Army USA, USO of North Carolina, American Red Cross, and Harris Teeter,  has served 16,000 cups of coffee to first responders and victims of Hurricane Florence to date.

“Good or bad, everyone loved sharing stories over a hot cup of Community coffee,” says Sean Kirby, Field Manager.

Watch the video below:

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ICO International Coffee Day Highlights Women in Coffee

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Demonstrate Your Commitment to Supporting #WomenInCoffee with the IWCA

By Melissa Pugash & Margaret Swallow, Co-Founders, International Women’s Coffee Alliance


Monday, October 1, 2018 is the International Coffee Organization’s 4th Annual International Coffee Day.

Hosted by the ICO,  “International Coffee Day is a global celebration of coffee’s long journey from the farm to your local shop — an opportunity to honor the women and men who grow and harvest the coffee we love.”

The seventy-seven member states of the ICO selected “Women in Coffee” as the theme for this year’s International Coffee Day.

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Join the American Red Cross Specialty Coffee Professionals Donation Team

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Help track our industry’s life-saving impact.

By Spencer Turer, Coffee Enterprises


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The coffee industry has recognized programs which support social responsibility, environmental stewardship, health issues, gender initiatives, women coffee producers, and sustainable communities at origin — often through the support of companies both large and small.

Here’s an opportunity to help the coffee industry make a big impact, as just one individual.

The American Red Cross is most familiar for their disaster relief services and regular blood drives.  Through a coordinated effort (and the wonders of technology), the coffee industry can support a national campaign which provides benefits in our local communities.

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How One Coffee Company Is Empowering Positive Change at Origin

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The following post is an edited excerpt of contend provided by Volcafe. Volcafe is an NCA member company. (Learn more about contributing guest blog posts to National Coffee.) 

Visit the NCA Coffee Gives Back Charity Showcase to learn more about how NCA members are working to support coffee communities at origin. 


Child labor is a big problem in some of the poorer areas of Uganda, which includes coffee producing communities. Unfortunately, there is no simple solution.

Any resolution demands a dedicated, sustained effort. It must get to the root cause of the problem and improve the economic viability of households so that parents can afford to let their children attend school.

Some coffee companies are choosing step up and take action to empower positive change at origin.

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International Women’s Coffee Alliance Celebrates 15-Year Anniversary: Looking Back and Moving Forward

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By IWCA Co-Founders Melissa Pugash and Margaret SwallowIWCA logo

This is a year in which businesses and nonprofits are reviewing and reimagining the roles that women play within their organizations. As co-founders, we’re pleased that the International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA) was a pioneer in bringing the role of women in our industry into the national and global spotlight.

In that spirit, the ICO announced that “Women in Coffee” is the theme for International Coffee Day 2018 on October 1.

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Now Live: Grounds for Health Coffee Auction Supporting Women’s Health at Origin

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Proceeds from the #GFHAuction will support cervical cancer screenings and treatment for women coffee farmers and communities at origin (Photo: Grounds for Health)

Calling all roasters (and retailers): Bid on green coffee & equipment now through June 7

The following post was originally published on the Grounds for Health blog

In 2009, we created the Grounds for Health Auction to give the specialty coffee community a meaningful way to give back to origin.

We hoped it would last at least a year or two …

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