Sips: Brain dump from the hiatus

by on November 13, 2012

Yes, I’m still around. The last few months I have been not only busy with my real job, but also with buying a house, moving, and selling the old homestead. I’ve still been thinking about (and drinking) coffee; the print on the right is one of the first items I hung in the kitchen in the new abode.

Here is some of the coffee news I have been bookmarking and might have written about, had I had the time.

C&C will be getting back on track with research news, reviews, and the like shortly.

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Posted in Coffee news and miscellany

Michael Sheridan December 4, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Julie:

First, let me say: PHEW! That WAS a long hiatus. I was beginning to worry. Glad to see you are back and even though you stopped writing about coffee and sustainability you didn’t stop thinking about it.

Second, THANK YOU for your references to our recent posts on water and Robusta. The water posts haven’t gotten as much traffic as our “coverage” of the upheaval in the Fair Trade market, so I appreciate you drawing attention to them. In some ways, I think the lower level of traffic to those posts is reflective of the lack of attention this issue gets in the industry. I can’t quite understand why, since plenty of industry and insider folks like you agreed with me readily when I suggested that water resource management in the coffeelands is a “huge sleeper issue.” In my mind, the next logical step is for us to agree to do something about it.

Unlike intractable and vexing issues like hunger, there are proven approaches to “fixing” the water problem at origin. Perhaps that is part of the problem. I talked recently about this issue with colleagues at a major conservation organization that partners with lots of corporations, and they tell me that their corporate partners tell them they don’t need help with water. They have a handle on the issue. Perhaps that is an assumption that is based on the fact that there are technological fixes out there and working in so many places. Or that certifications “have it covered.” But I can share some pretty gnarly pictures with you of ghastly things happening with coffee pulp and wastewater on farms that are certified organic and Fair Trade.

I think there is an opportunity to begin to systematically address the issues I raised in the series on the Coffeelands Blog.

Thanks for highlighting those posts here!

Michael

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