With the UN General Assembly kicking off
this week in New York and the International Coffee Organization convening in
London next week, we’re heading into a busy time for the global coffee
community. With all the travel hours ahead of us, it’s a good time to pause and
reflect on the hard questions and big opportunities that will shape coffee’s
show coffee consumption reduces risk of everything from dementia to heart
disease to depression to certain types of cancer. The science is clear – coffee is good for the
people who drink it. This past summer even California joined the side of
scientific consensus to recognize coffee’s health benefits.
It’s not just that some coffee is
good. More coffee is better. In fact,
research from the National Institute of Health shows that drinking six or seven cups of coffee a day may
reduce the risk of death from any cause by up to 16 percent. The average
American coffee drinker only drinks three cups per day currently, meaning many
of us are missing out on coffee’s full potential.
Even better – an extra cup of joe (or five)
isn’t just good for the people who drink coffee, it’s good for the people who
The world currently grows a billion pounds
more coffee than we drink. A study
commissioned by the World Coffee Producers Forum confirmed that coffee prices
are stable based on current supply, particularly driven by increased efficiency
in leading coffee-growing countries.
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.
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.
TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras – Orangish yellow blotches are starting to appear on the leaves of coffee plants in eastern Honduras, according to reports from the field. It’s a sign that the dreaded coffee rust fungus, or la roya, is making a comeback and endangering the crop that’s vital to the economies of Latin America.
Five years ago, an outbreak decimated coffee in the region, triggering a state of emergency and famine watches.
How bad will it be this season? It’s too early to tell. All we know is that the plant-choking fungus – first discovered in East Africa nearly 150 years ago – poses a serious threat to coffee’s future in the Americas.
As we search for a way to defeat the fungus, the coffee industry can help smallholder farmers build resiliency and deal with shocks from la roya – as well as from climate change, market swings, and other volatility common with cash crops.