Seeding Coffee’s Future: A Conversation About Conservation and Verification

By Hanna Neuschwander, World Coffee Research

 [Ed. note: To learn more about this groundbreaking research, join Garold LaRue II (NSF International) Brian Lainoff (Global Crop Diversity Trust) and Tracy Ging (S&D Coffee & Tea, World Coffee Research) for the breakout session “Seeding the Future,” at the NCA Annual Convention 2017, March 23-25, Austin, TX]

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An unidentified Coffea species found in Madagascar, which is preserved in a coffee genebank. Ensuring these genebanks have adequate funding to continue operations should be a major priority of the coffee industry. Source: Sarada Krishnan

Sometimes facts are so obvious they become invisible.

In the case of coffee, one of those facts is this: Coffee comes from a plant. The entire $225 billion dollar coffee industry in the U.S. is built up from the roots of billions of living, breathing coffee plants that spend their days turning sunlight into fruit. Once you stop and think about it, it’s kind of profound. Nearly 1.7 million jobs — including, if you are reading this, probably yours — depend on those plants doing their thing, photosynthesizing, outsmarting diseases and pests, being rained on at the right time in the right amounts.

It’s also profound to think about just how fragile the entire arrangement is. The vast majority of coffee plants in the field today are really, really (really) genetically similar. Most varieties are not resistant to major diseases. Most are way too old (World Coffee Research guesses that about 50% of coffee trees are more than 50 years old). That leaves coffee especially vulnerable — to disease epidemics like the one that devastated Central American production after 2012, to extremes in weather like excessive rain or drought or frost.

When crops are facing challenges like these, it helps to go back to basics: Coffee is a plant. So — what is needed to help the plant thrive? And, thereby, to help the humans who depend on it?

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Innovation, Sustainability, and the Global Coffee Industry

By Bambi Semroc, Conservation International

[Ed. note: To learn more about this project, join Bambi Semroc and Annette Pensel, Global Coffee Platform, for the breakout session “Making Coffee the First Sustainable Commodity,” at the NCA Annual Convention 2017, March 23-25, Austin, TX]

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Source: Conservation International, Cristina Mittermeier ©

Innovation is all around us.

From a 3D printer that enables doctors to construct human tissue, to a virtual reality headset that transports a policymaker in Washington, DC to a remote village in the Amazon to experience projects helping prevent deforestation. Things we never dreamed of 20 years ago are changing our daily lives. And, innovation is not just defined as “the next hot thing” – it’s critical to ensuring the sustainable growth of an industry.

The coffee sector is continually innovating. Consider the new roasting and brewing techniques that led to cold brew and single serve coffees. Or, consumer engagement through creative retail shops offering everything from hands-on technology to fully compostable cups.

That said, innovation in coffee also includes things the everyday drinker might not know about – from researchers developing new varieties and improved practices, to small-scale farmers adopting those varieties and experimenting with new techniques on their farms.

One of the most important innovations the coffee sector has been leading includes the work being done on sustainability.

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Coffee Career Center: Jobs of the Week

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Whether you’re an industry veteran or looking to make a change, there’s never been a more exciting time to pursue a career in coffee.

Check out this week’s featured job listings – and visit the Coffee Career Center for more. (Please note that you will need to set up a free account to view the full post.)

Premium Post
Financial Analyst, Central & South America
| Massimo Zanetti Beverage USA
VA

Premium Post
VP, Coffee
| Fair Trade USA
CA

Education Manager | Toddy, LLC
CO

Food Safety Quality Manager | Toddy, LLC
CO

Machine Technician | La Colombe
NY

Barista | Cafe Grumpy
NY

All positions | Urth Caffe
CA

Branch Quality and Technical Manager | illycaffe
FL

Visit the Coffee Career Center to view more listings, share your resume, or post a job. 

Video: How Wasted Soap Became a Catalyst for Change

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The theme of the National Coffee Association 2017 Convention is “innovation” – inspired not only by our host city Austin, TX, but the transformations and transitions we’re seeing across the coffee industry.

Wherever it’s found, innovation can be fueled by the power of “weak connections”  (and strong coffee). In other words, exposure to fresh perspectives through conversation and acquaintances – such as networking with more than 700 coffee industry executives – helps your brain combine different ideas in new ways.

Because often, inspiration comes from the most unlikely places. For instance: leftover soap can catalyze life-saving change.

Here, Derreck Kayongo, Global Soap Project Founder & CEO of the Center for Civil and Human Rights, shares how learning about the hospitality industry’s considerable waste led him to create a global humanitarian initiative.

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A New Generation of Products Is Shaping the Future of Coffee

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Younger coffee drinkers want to recreate the customized coffeehouse experience at home, according to new research from Packaged Facts.

The U.S. market for packaged and ready-to-drink coffee sold at retail was estimated at $13.5 billion in 2015, up almost 10% from the year before. By 2020, sales of packaged and ready-to-drink coffee in the U.S. are expected to close in on $18 billion.

Retail dollar sales continue to grow largely because of continued reinvention across the coffee industry, from k-cups to cold brew.

According to Packaged Facts, growth in the coffee industry can largely be attributed to three segments: Continue reading

How a New Administration May Impact the Coffee Industry

By Joseph DeRupo, Director of External Relations, NCA

 The following is an excerpt from a recent NCA Member Alert. (Want to receive the latest industry updates directly? Learn more about NCA membership.)

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After a deeply divisive campaign, a new administration is poised to assume power in Washington, having been elected on a platform which has expressed skepticism toward big government and regulatory intervention.

The transfer of power has only just begun, cabinet and agency appointments are a still in progress, and budget negotiations are far off – including the implications of funding cutbacks or additions.

In the meantime, we’re preparing for the changes that may be ahead. Earlier this year, the NCA released the first-ever Economic Impact Study to measure the U.S. coffee economy, and the NCA’s 2017 plan already includes outreach in Washington to raise awareness of the industry’s importance. That outreach will now take on even greater significance as the coming months unfold.

The NCA will not speculate as to what these changes in Washington may mean for coffee. But it’s never too soon to begin planning, and here are some key issues on the industry’s docket:

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Needle in a Haystack: A Practical Guide to Finding Your Next Job

By Bill Murray, NCA, CEO

The following is an edited post orignally published on LinkedIn

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The U.S. Department of Labor reported last month that there were 5.9 million vacant jobs in the U.S., while the rate of people quitting their jobs has been rising steadily.  Companies are hiring, and people are moving on – and up.

Unless you plan on working for one employer forever, at some point you’ll be looking for that next job.  The best time to prepare is now – especially if you aren’t actively looking.

Of course, there are endless job-hunting resources available on specific topics, like resume writing and writing a cover letter. [Ed. note: Including our recently launched Coffee Career Center.]

The key to success is not only successful execution of each step, but also having an overall strategy, much as you would for any long-term project.

Here’s a checklist of strategies, tactics, and considerations:

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