Coffee is good for everyone – and more is better

Coffee Farmer Picking Coffee

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 future.

Numerous studies 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 grow it.

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.

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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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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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Reframing the Narrative on Coffee Production ROI

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A coffee farmer inspects his crop in Colombia. Photo: Neil Palmer (CIAT) – via Wikimedia

Perspectives on the New SCA Report On Farm Profitability

In an article published on Daily Coffee News, Kraig Kraft from CRS Coffeelands addressed the Specialty Coffee Association’s recently released report that reviewed existing public information about farm profitability and costs.

The main — and surprising — conclusion from the analysis is that farm yield is not correlated to farm income. On the surface, this seems somewhat paradoxical.

Why wouldn’t higher production lead to more income?

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La Roya’s Return: How Can Coffee Farmers Survive?

The following is a guest post from Heifer International. See the NCA First Pull guest post guidelines

By Marco Machado, Heifer International

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Photo: Stephanie Parker, via Medium

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.

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