The following is a guest post from Heifer International. See the NCA First Pull guest post guidelines.
By Marco Machado, Heifer International
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.
By Hanna Neuschwander, World Coffee Research
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?
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]
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.
By Andrew Russo
The following post is an excerpt from Fresh Cup Magazine
In 2005 I stood in front of thirty soldiers, all with more experience than me, and was introduced as their leader. I was barely twenty-one years old, standing in front of a wide range of people of different ages, education levels, and socio-demographic backgrounds. Soon we would jump out of airplanes together, deploy together—and they expected me to lead them through it all. Sound intimidating? It is.
In coffee, taking charge of experienced baristas, roasters, and buyers is equally intimidating. How a team is led can make or break the experience.
By Vivian Giang, Fundera
The way Americans drink coffee has changed drastically. According to the New York Times, Americans drink less coffee today than we did in the past, but we’re drinking higher quality, better brewed cups.
In fact, according to a 2014 National Coffee Drinking Trends study from the National Coffee Association (NCA), daily consumption of gourmet coffee among adults in the U.S. is up 34% in 2014, a 3% rise compared to 2013.
By Tyler Hubbell
This post originally appeared on the Repsly blog
In one form or another, chances are almost everyone you know starts their day with coffee – be it home-brewed, bottled, or purchased hot or iced from a coffee shop. As longstanding as its popularity may be, the coffee industry is in the midst of a rapid change.
As millennials’ fast-paced lifestyle becomes ubiquitous, consumers are preferring to get their caffeine on the go. In turn, retailers are experimenting with novel ways to speed up ordering and get busy shoppers back in their stores.
Here are the five coffee industry trends that will dominate 2017: Continue reading
Reily Foods is the sponsor of the NCA Convention 2018, March 15-17, in their hometown of New Orleans – during NOLA’s tricentennial anniversary!
Meet Our Members
COMPANY: Reily Foods Company
LOCATION: New Orleans, LA
Responses provided by Mark Woods, Director of Purchasing and Quality Assurance, Reily Foods
What does Reily Foods do?
Reily Foods provides many of the staples you will find in your kitchen cabinet.
By Bill Murray, NCA, CEO
See the full post on LinkedIn or visit the Coffee Career Center resource page for more leadership tips.
With thanks to Laura Freebairn-Smith of the Organizational Performance Group, for permission to cite her findings.
Ensuring that the right organizational leadership is in place is a task that is so challenging that it has spawned an entire industry.
Whether you search the web or pop into an old-school brick-and-mortar bookstore, the amount of advice on offer about “being a leader” is staggering.
One of the reasons that leadership can be a challenging subject is because it pertains to human behavior. A second difficulty relates to things like stylistic differences, gaps between what is said vs. what is done, and self-promotion.
By Julio Sera, INTL FCStone
One of my favorite aspects of working in the coffee trade – as opposed to markets like soybeans, precious metals or government bonds (like some of my colleagues) – is that so many people have such a direct experience with it every morning. In fact, we drink approximately 3.5 billion cups of coffee each day – equivalent to one cup each for nearly half of all the people on earth right now. That’s a lot of folks “jonesing” for “Joe.”
Stats like that ensure that I’m never at a loss for conversation starters. For example, can you name the top 10 coffee-producing countries in the world? In order?
How about the top 5 importers globally? (This one’s a bit of a trick question, which I’ll get into below.) Continue reading
By Sara Brown, Bond Street
The full version of this post originally appeared on Bond Street
How can a passionate affinity for coffee and a stirring desire to create something of your own manifest into a successful business?
If you’re overwhelmed by the multitude of initiatives associated with building a new business and are looking for a step-by-step guide that breaks down the everything you need to know about starting a coffee shop enterprise, you’ve come to the right place.