“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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NCA National Coffee Data Trends 2019

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The Behaviors & Perceptions of U.S. Coffee Drinkers

63% of American adults drink coffee daily, according to new market research announced at the 2019 NCA Annual Convention in Atlanta.


The National Coffee Association USA (NCA) offered a first look at the redesigned and rebranded 2019 National Coffee Data Trends (NCDT) today at the 2019 NCA Annual Convention in the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel in Atlanta, GA. The NCDT report has tracked consumer behaviors and perceptions shaping coffee trends in the US for almost 70 years.

63% of American adults drink coffee daily, according to the NCDT, steady with 2018 consumption.

“Coffee is America’s most beloved beverage – and for good reason,” said William (Bill) Murray, NCA President & CEO. “New consumer values have changed the game for coffee. But the industry is adapting – and thriving – by embracing innovation and transparency.”

From sustainability to wellness, these realigned priorities mean that consumers are paying more attention to what’s in their cup than ever before.

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The Buzz Is Brewing at Blue Donkey Coffee

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Blue Donkey will  host a specialty coffee cupping session at the 2019 National Coffee Association Convention in Atlanta, March 7-9

Atlanta Coffee Shop is Making Waves with National Coffee Leaders


As Atlanta grows, so does the city’s specialty coffee scene – and one of the hometown favorites is about to make a big splash with coffee executives from around the world.

Despite this excitement, Atlanta’s Blue Donkey Coffee remains true to its commitment to specialty coffee, personalized for coffee lovers.  The latest Blue Donkey café is just their second location, opening last fall in an upcoming area east of downtown on the edge of Grant Park.

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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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Infographic: Coffee Brands See Stellar Growth in Amazon Sales

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Amazon’s food and beverage category has posted $4.75 billion in sales so far in 2018, making it the online retailer’s fastest growing segment, according to Automatic Vending watch.

And coffee continues to lead category. According to Edge Market Share, coffee sales on Amazon have totaled more than $140 million so far this year – and are expected to increase.

If the first wave of coffee was defined as having packaged coffee available in the home in packaged formats, the fourth wave may be the idea of having premium coffee available everywhere, all the time.

“It all begins with the coffee shop,” says Michael Schaefer, Euromonitor, in Food Navigator USA.

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TRUE Green & Roasted Coffee Taste Descriptions

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Exploring TRUE coffee descriptions: Trustworthy, Realistic, Understandable, Enticing

A Shared Industry Vocabulary to Keep Us On the Same Page

Learn more about coffee quality: Join Blue Donkey Coffee for a specialty coffee cupping at the 2019 NCA Convention in Atlanta, March 7-9


Part I: How To Communicate TRUE Coffee Quality

The following article was originally published as the first installment of a 2-part special series in Tea and Coffee Trade Journal in the July/August 2018 and September 2018 issues

By Spencer Turer, Coffee Enterprises – via LinkedIn


Aroma and taste descriptors are most easily understood when primary flavors are referenced for the perceived attribute.

When attributes are categorized into groups it becomes difficult to understand their meaning without additional training or explanations. Confusion is created when conclusions are used for flavor descriptions, or when adjectives or verbs are used in place of nouns when presenting descriptions.

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How To Communicate TRUE Coffee Quality

Baristas training to make the perfect cup of coffee

Learn more about coffee quality: Join Blue Donkey Coffee for a specialty coffee cupping at the 2019 NCA Convention in Atlanta, March 7-9


The following article was originally published as the first installment of a 2-part special series in Tea and Coffee Trade Journal in the July/August 2018 and September 2018 issues

By Spencer Turer, Coffee Enterprises – via LinkedIn

“Coffee professionals are enthusiastic, passionate and place a high priority on product education – but we often create jargon and use insider’s vernacular not easily understood by consumers.”


How do we encourage or persuade customers to try our coffee?

Communicating the virtues of the coffee will attract the attention of buyers, for both green coffee and roasted coffee.

The success of any beverage program starts with quality: how does it taste? Branding, promotion and merchandising will capture the first sale, but only quality will keep your customers returning time after time.

Together we will explore how to create TRUE coffee descriptions:

Trustworthy, Realistic, Understandable, Enticing.

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5 Key Training Principles For Quality Coffee Service

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Effective training is critical to make your specialty coffee program a success.

By Anne Nylander


Current coffee trends point to an ever-increasing demand in product quality.

Excellent customer service, preparation skills, and organization are rapidly becoming minimum expectations in the café environment.

As coffee quality becomes increasingly important in coffee service, training becomes a critical component of a company’s long-term success. High-quality skills and behavior training remain as one of the industry’s proven methods for increased customer satisfaction and sales growth.

When it comes to training, there are several factors that can impact a trainer’s successes or failures.

In her 2018 workbook, Specialty Coffee Training Consultant Anne Nylander tackles the key training principles organization leaders and educators will need in order to make their program a success.

Here, we briefly cover five of the principles discussed in the book:

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