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Contents F E B R U A RY 2 0 1 9 | VO L . 2 8 . N O. 2 | F R E S H C U P M AG A Z I N E










In House

By Robin Roenker

Café Crossroads

By Jameson Fink

The Filter

The Last Plastic Straw

By Michael Butterworth

By Fresh Cup Staff




As the global demand for specialty coffee continues to grow, coffee farmers in Australia aim to compete with heavyhitting coffee-producing countries—even amidst challenges.

Food safety in the café starts with installing the right equipment and training staff to use it properly.

Origin: Australia

By Anastasia Prikhodko

Café Equipment & Food Safety


Diversified Agroecology Producers develop scientific strategies for food security, gender equity, and climate resilience in coffee farming communities.

By Rachel Northrop

By Rachel Northrop


On the Cover: Paula Chavez Gómez, president of the Women’s Association of Coffee and Quinoa, Naranjo, Peru. Photo by Jan Weigel

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FRESH CUP MAGAZINE FRESH CUP PUBLISHING Publisher and President JAN WEIGEL jan@freshcup.com EDITORIAL Editor CAITLIN PETERKIN editor@freshcup.com Associate Editor JORDAN JOHNSON freshed@freshcup.com ART Art Director CYNTHIA MEADORS cynthia@freshcup.com



ADVERTISING Sales Manager MICHAEL HARRIS michael@freshcup.com Ad Coordinator DIANE HOWARD adtraffic@freshcup.com ACCOUNTING Accounting Manager DIANE HOWARD diane@freshcup.com FRESH CUP FOUNDER WARD BARBEE 1938-2006 EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD DAVID GRISWOLD


Sustainable Harvest Coffee Importers




Jones Coffee Roasters

Phillips Syrups & Sauces




Elmwood Inn Fine Teas



Di Bella Group

Maya Tea Co.



Bellissimo Coffee Advisors


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ncertainties surrounding government shutdowns and withdrawals, protests on social media and in the streets, and even debates over healthcare and foreign policy have affected individuals, families, and small businesses the world over. We’re in a time of incredible insecurity. Demand for coffee continues to rise, yet research shows that more than half of the world’s coffee land will become unsuitable due to climate change. A majority of smallholder farmers who produce the world’s crops suffer from hunger. Sexual harassment and assault continue to be a reality for women and non-binary individuals at all levels of the coffee community. This wasn’t intended as a doomsday letter; rather, I’m sharing these realities to shed light on what has inspired the stories to come in this issue, and draw attention to the work that we must continue to do. Our fearless leader, Jan Weigel, traveled to Peru in December with the non-profit Café Femenino Foundation to learn more about the challenges women in the coffee-producing region are facing. On p. 12, she shares her experience. Frequent Fresh Cup contributor Rachel Northrop attended the inaugural International Learning Exchange held in Nicaragua in late 2018, where researchers and farmers from North and Central Americas gathered to discuss their findings after nearly a decade of research. She reveals how this meeting of the minds culminated on p. 38. And from Australia, Anastasia Prikhodko reports on the rise of coffee producers around the country who hope to position themselves on the international stage as they work to develop high-quality, climate-resilient coffees. Read more about Australian coffee farming efforts on p. 24. As Jan told me after her trip to Peru, “The world is small. What happens around the world affects us all.” It’s time to bring an end to talks of walls and instead focus on bridging the gaps between all sectors of our industry. Let us continue to work together, as the individuals and organizations in these pages already are, to aspire to a more sustainable and equitable future.

FRESH CUP OFFICES 8201 SE 17th Ave. Suite 100, Portland, OR 97202 PHONE: 503/236-2587 | FAX: 503/236-3165 FRESH CUP PROUDLY SPONSORS NONPROFITS




Our Contributors Based in Istanbul, Turkey, coffee educator, consultant, and writer Michael Butterworth is a licensed Q grader and a two-time United States Barista Championship competitor. In this issue, he shares his and other professionals’ insights into The Benefits of Attending Trade Shows (p. 20).

Jameson Fink is a writer and editor living in Greenpoint, Brooklyn— uncoincidentally, home to the coffee shop featured in this month’s Café Crossroads, Odd Fox Coffee (p. 16). His eponymous website is a two-time finalist for a SAVEUR Blog Award.

Based in Brooklyn, New York, Rachel Northrop is communications manager with Ally Coffee and the author of When Coffee Speaks: Stories From and Of Latin American Coffeepeople. Pulling double duty in this issue of Fresh Cup, Northrop writes about the importance of food and equipment safety in the café (p. 32) and reports on the inaugural International Learning Exchange held in Nicaragua in late 2018 (p. 38).

Anastasia Prikhodko is a freelance journalist based in Sydney, Australia. Previously, she spent two years abroad living in Amsterdam and enjoying the coffee scenes across Europe, Russia, and Korea. She writes mainly about coffee (as seen on p. 24, where she explores the rise of Australian origin coffee), the travel trade sector, social issues, and gender, and dabbles in a bit of sports writing.

Lexington, Kentucky-based freelance writer Robin Roenker has extensive experience reporting on business trends, from cybersecurity to real estate, personal finance, and green living. For Fresh Cup, she covers sustainable and eco-friendly trends in cafés in The Last Plastic Straw, on p. 48.

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The Filter

Café Femenino Foundation: Granting Hope in Peru By Fresh Cup Staff | Photos by Jan Weigel


n December, Fresh Cup’s publisher,

to get a better understanding of what

Jan Weigel, traveled to Peru

their needs are.

with the Café Femenino Foundation, a non-profit organization

“It’s really important to visit [coffee-producing] countries and have a

on which she has served as a board

real feeling of what their challenges

member for almost a decade. The

are, then come back and work at how

foundation, whose mission is “grant-

we can help solve these challenges,”

ing hope worldwide,” is dedicated to

says Weigel.

enhancing the lives of women and

Hearing directly from the women

their families in the coffee-producing

in these communities and seeing how

communities throughout the world.

the funded projects come to life, Weigel

By raising funds and approving grants

says she is now more informed for

for proposed projects and programs,

when it comes time to vote for pro-

the Café Femenino Foundation helps

posed grants. She also grew inspired

these communities face the issues of

by the “very strong women” she met,

today, which include access to clean

who have been empowered to use

water, education, and healthcare.

their voices, which in turn has led to

Weigel joined Marilyn Dryke, president of the Café Femenino Foundation, on this trip to see firsthand some

safer spaces, less abuse, and more visibility as leaders of the community. “Since the Café Femenino Founda-

of the projects they’ve been funding

tion has been going down there and

throughout villages in Peru, including

supporting these women, it’s em-

water reservoirs, wet mills and dry-

powering the women to help make

ing patios, vented stoves, and early

decisions within the community,”

education centers, as well as to meet

says Weigel. “The communities are

with members of these communities

getting stronger.”

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AGUA AZUL, PERU: (from left) David Chall of UP Coffee Roasters, Victor Rojas, Jan Weigel of Fresh Cup, one of the crew’s guides, Marilyn Dryke of Café Femenino Foundation, CJ Porter Born of UP Coffee Roasters, Isabel Uriarte Latorre, and another guide.


pon arrival to Peru, Weigel and Dryke met with Peru’s Café Femenino Women’s Groups, in a day spent sharing information about new partnerships and activities during 2018, as well as grant project progress reports. Guest speakers also came in to give presentations on nutrition, healthy hygiene habits, and meal preparation. The next two weeks were spent rising well before dawn to travel across the Andes to meet with the communities where projects are being funded by the foundation. The trip also included a visit to the coffee processing plant PROASSA in Chiclayo for a cupping of Café Femenino coffees. From eating guinea pig for the first time to forming lifelong friendships, Weigel shares some of her highlights.

VILLA RUMI Visiting the Water Reservoir and Irrigation System in Villa Rumi, which the Foundation funded in 2018. “This is a village that has very little water. They used to get six months of rain, six of sunshine. Now they’re getting three months of rain, nine months of sunshine. Through global warming, it’s become harder and harder, so they’re limited as to how much coffee and other crops they can grow, and that’s pretty sad. We’re trying to get water to them so they can improve their coffee and grow other crops that they can sell to other communities that need vegetables.”

NARANJO The drying patios built in Naranjo are funded by UP Coffee Roasters. (UP’s owner David Chall and roaster CJ Porter Born joined for part of the trip.) “[In this village] people are all still wearing the native Peruvian clothing. As the internet is infiltrating the communities, people are going away from them….We were up there, and it was 85 degrees and those clothes are heavy and big. With global warming, it’s becoming too hot, where before the climate was cooler….I felt like this is one of the last generations that’s going to be wearing that traditional clothing.”


The Filter

TALLAPAMPA In the coffee community of Tallapampa, the Foundation has funded wet mills and drying patios, as well as provided workshops for weaving and embroidery. “I bought fifteen of these blankets! The minute I brought out the money, one of the men stood up and came over to get the money. But through a bit of sign language, I told him no—she wove the blanket, she receives my money…. This is the cycle you want to break, that women get credit where credit is due.”

VIVID COLORS OF TALLAPAMPA: The brightly colored blankets (above, left) have many uses: swaddling babies, carrying food and supplies, and as tablecloths. The women demonstrated the blanket-making process, from shearing sheep, washing the wool and spinning it into yarn, and weaving the yarn into the blanket. Above, right: The villagers in Tallapampa demonstrated their coffee-roasting process in pans over the open fire, and prepared coffees for sampling.

AGUA AZUL SAN JOSÉ HUANAMA Children at an early education center participated in a graduation, where they were honored and served a special cake. The celebration is funded by the parents; each year, the ceremony is different, based on how much the parents can afford.

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In Agua Azul, Café Femenino coffee producer Sabina Hernandez provided a tour of her farm, and then the group was led on a waterfall hike. That evening, Hernandez made a full traditional meal, with the Peruvian delicacy cuy (guinea pig). “I had cuy for the first time—very nutritional, very delicious, not pretty to look at!”

NUEVA YORK One of the most beloved programs the Café Femenino Foundation funds for the communities is La Chocolatada, a traditional celebration throughout the month of December that involves handing out hot chocolate and panetón. At each of the village’s celebration, Weigel and Dryke helped prepare and serve the chocolate and sweet bread, and danced with the children. “These people only get hot chocolate and panetón once a year. It’s a special treat. We thought, maybe there’s other things we should be spending money on, but it’s so important to them. They love it so much, and it brings the community together. It’s really special.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE CAFÉ FEMENINO FOUNDATION, visit CFFoundation.org. To see more photos and videos from Peru, and to read more about the trip, visit FreshCup.com. FC


Café Crossroads

By Jameson Fink

Odd Fox Coffee | Brooklyn, New York

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ike the woodland creature in its title, Odd Fox may seem an unusual name for a café. But for owner Adam Saucy, it’s a culmination of his love of literature, theater, and whimsy. This Greenpoint, Brooklyn, spot opened in November of 2016, serving as an indoor/outdoor oasis for neighborhood residents craving an off-beat second home. Saucy first caught the coffee bug more than 15 years ago, while working as a translator for a law firm in Portland, Oregon. A birthday party for a coworker at the coffee shop across the street surprised and overwhelmed the owners, whom Saucy bought coffee from every morning, so he volunteered to get behind the counter and help. “I took off my jacket and put on an apron,” says Saucy. He was offered a job that evening. Owning his own café became a reality after moving to New York. Years of coffee experience, including managing shops and educating operators, gave him the tools to be his own boss. Saucy trekked the city for the

‘My favorite fables are the ones with the fox,’ says Saucy. ‘It’s silly, sly, and clever.’ That, combined with his love of British pubs known by ‘an animal name and an object,’ gave birth to Odd Fox Coffee.

right spot, then lucked out on an opening mere blocks from his Greenpoint home. One of the biggest decisions was settling on a name. Inspiration struck while Saucy was reading Aesop’s Fables. “My favorite fables are the ones with the fox,” he says. “It’s silly, sly, and clever.” That, combined with his love of British pubs known by “an animal name and an object,” gave birth to Odd Fox Coffee. Some of the café’s unique touches are original to the building. The bathroom has blue paint, blue tile, a blue sink, and, yes, a blue toilet—Saucy calls it “Bess The Blue Bathroom.” Other details, like vintage school desks and lockers, come from Dream Fishing Tackle,



Café Crossroads

a bait/record/used furniture shop down the street. The real challenge was the backyard. “That yard almost killed me,” says Saucy. Spending “every last penny I didn’t have,” he blew a hole in the back wall to add a door and stairs. Patrons are now greeted with a cheery fox mural and plenty of room to stretch out and relax. Odd Fox gets its beans from Parlor Coffee, located in Brooklyn’s Navy Yard. Saucy values the personal connection he has with the owners. “They are a small enough company to still care about each shop that serves their coffee, yet large to source really outstanding beans,” he says. In turn, Parlor values his feedback: “When I tell them if I love or hate a coffee, they listen.” Like with his beans, Saucy stays local for pastries. He uses Ovenly’s Greenpoint location for sweet and savory baked goods. “I love the pistachio loaf so much I had them make my wedding cake out of it,” he says. Odd Fox’s and Ovenly’s relationship goes further than food; the bakery’s co-founder Erin Patinkin helped Saucy find an architect for the backyard extension, while he pointed her towards “an amazing window gilder.” For customers who prefer tea, Odd Fox offers a wide selection. “I come from a family of tea drinkers, most of whom wouldn’t take a sip of coffee if you paid them,” says Saucy. One of the first people he called when the café opened was Sebastian Beckwith of In Pursuit of Tea, whom Saucy had known for years. Beckwith sources teas from all over Asia, focusing on small farms. But don’t expect a matcha latte. Saucy enjoys matcha on its own, not in latte form. He dabbled with turmeric lattes and espresso with butter, but is stepping back from those trendier options. “Simple and straight-forward is what I think makes a shop successful and I try to hold to that,” he says. “If something goes on my menu, it is because I believe in it, and it is there to stay….I

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don’t want to offer something just to take it away in a few months. I also don’t want a menu that wraps around the four walls of my shop.” Turning to what’s hot in coffee, Saucy is struck not by the brew itself, but what people put into it. “The biggest trend in coffee these days is without question oat milk,” he says. “Oat milk, specifically from the company Oatly, is delicious, and steams wonderfully for espresso drinks, which has always been a problem for milk alternatives.” Even customers with no dairy issues are choosing it. During a shortage, Saucy had a customer “shout from the entrance to ask if we still had any Oatly before she would even come in the shop.” Upholding Saucy’s love of whimsy, Odd Fox is the only coffee shop with a miniature Lego store model on its counter, where the trials and travails of barista life are acted out by a menagerie of plastic figurines, as seen on his Instagram page, @legocoffeeshop.

His love of Legos started several years back, when his seven nieces and nephews sent him a Lego figure to photograph across New York City; he began buying outfits and accessories for the figure. At his wedding in 2017, Saucy gave small Lego sets to his guests as a party favor, each with two grooms on a stand. Soon after, he ordered figures for everyone on staff; for Christmas in 2017, each Odd Fox employee received a Lego minifigure of him- or herself. Then he got pieces to make a miniature version of the shop. On @legocoffeeshop, Saucy reenacts quirks of customers and barista life, like gauging if the line is moving

quickly enough to catch the bus, being social versus wearing headphones, and customers who say, “No room,” then pour hot coffee into the garbage. Part of Saucy’s inspiration for his Lego creations is his background in theater. But it’s also about bringing joy and humor to the place where he spends so much of his time. “I am literally behind the counter making coffee over forty hours a week,” he says. “This is basically where I live.” “The weird little quirky things I do are just because they make me smile,” he adds. “It’s nice when they make other people smile as well.” FC


In House

The Benefits of Attending Trade Shows By Michael Butterworth


epending on your personality, trade shows can be the highlight of your professional calendar or an emotionally exhausting obligation. For first-time attendees, trade shows can even be overwhelming or intimidating. But beyond the small talk and free samples, coffee trade shows and conferences provide a valuable opportunity for in-person learning and networking—if you approach them in the right way.

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“The ability to taste so many coffees, see so many products, and reconnect with so many friends in one space, side-by-side, is pretty special,” says Ben Blake, who works in marketing for La Marzocco Home. For La Marzocco Home, trade shows are a critical way to connect with their customers in person. Their booths often feature hands-on, interactive stations where attendees can try their products, like the award-winning Linea Mini espresso machine, for themselves. “Trade shows are that incredible moment where home baristas and baristas from around the country can dive even further into their hobbies and passions,

Whether it’s pulling a shot of espresso on a machine, or just taking the time to nerd out about coffee and have a long conversation, we leave trade shows feeling refreshed and closer to the coffee community.

so we look for ways to help facilitate that,” says Blake. “As home baristas, we kind of just ask ourselves what we would want to see or do at a trade show. The rest flows naturally from that thought. In a lot of ways, we’re looking for ways to free ourselves up to just have conversations and teach people who want to learn.” For La Marzocco Home, that means treating trade shows as more than a place to promote their products. “Whether it’s pulling a shot of espresso on a machine, or just taking the time to nerd out about coffee and have a long conversation, we leave trade shows feeling refreshed and closer to the coffee community,” says Blake. While trade shows can be a place big business deals are signed, most attendees would probably do well to see attending as an investment in their coffee education. Trade shows and conferences, such as the Re:co Symposium the week before SCA Expo, offer a chance to learn from the latest research and hear presentations from industry leaders. Although videos of the lectures are typically released in the months that


In House

follow, attending the symposium offers a chance to interact with the content in real time, and often talk with lecturers in between sessions. Admittedly, for many baristas and small business owners, attending a trade show can be an expensive commitment. In addition to missed work and travel costs, the shows themselves often come with a hefty price tag. But one way to minimize costs can also help maximize your experience: volunteering. “I started volunteering back in 2011 at SCAA Expo. My company paid for our flights and accommodations, but we needed help paying for the Expo pass, so we each registered for volunteering shifts,” says Sara Frinak, an account manager for Ally Coffee and perennial volunteer at barista

Volunteering allows me to meet and to work with people from all over the world. I can listen to different perspectives and witness various aspects of the supply chain in action.

competitions. “I ended up on the competition stage as a station maintenance volunteer and loved it! I have continued attending competitions and volunteering since then.” According to Frinak, volunteering offers more than just a free pass. “I have found so much value in my volunteering experiences,” she says. “I am able to do so many things with the opportunities. Volunteering allows me to meet and to work with people from all over the world. I can listen to different perspectives and witness various aspects of the supply chain in action.”

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For many up-and-coming baristas, the assorted competitions that are usually hosted at trade shows provide an opportunity to test their skills against the best in the industry. Although they don’t offer any prize money, winning the U.S. Barista Championship or Brewers Cup can take a barista’s career to the next level, as well as provide trips to coffee origins. Coffee Fest’s World Latte Art Open Championship continues to attract competitors from as far away as Japan and Korea. The $2,000 prize for the winner is one of the biggest purses in coffee competitions, but likely would barely cover travel expenses for international competitors. Simply the honor of being crowned champion is enough to inspire many competitors. Before booking your travel plans, it’s helpful to know if the trade show you’re planning on attending aligns with your goals. There’s a big dif-


ference between the exhibitions of non-profit trade associations like the Specialty Coffee Association or the National Coffee Association, which tend to focus on roasters and importers, and the various for-profit shows, which are more oriented towards independent café owners. Recently, new consumer-facing coffee festivals are popping up around the world, such as the London Coffee Festival and its sister festivals in New York, Amsterdam, Milan, and Los Angeles. One way to determine whether a trade show is a good fit for you and your company is to examine the seminars and breakout sessions. If two or three of the seminars seem relevant to your goals, likely the larger conference will too. Whether you’re going to compete, learn, or just take it all in, Blake has some practical advice for trade show attendees: “Grab a coffee then take a lap around the whole show to get the lay of the land when you get in.” FC


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SKYBURY TROPICAL PLANTATION is about 10 miles west of Mareeba in North Queensland, Australia.




JOHN AND REBECCA ZENTVELD take a stroll through Zentveld’s coffee plantation near Newrybar, New South Wales.


ore so recognized for its wine, hearty Aussie brunches, and coffee consumption, Australia is not a nation one immediately thinks of when it comes to coffee production. But a few farmers are not shying away from utilizing the land in hope of one day matching the likes of Africa and Central America.

Infrastructure When it comes to coffee consumption, Australians drink an average of 16.3 million cups of coffee per day, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. But only one percent of locals will even taste Australian coffee. “Our local beans are rare,” says Rebecca Zentveld, owner of Zentveld’s Plantation and Coffee Roastery and president of the Australian Subtropical Coffee Association. “We don’t even rank on the production list of international coffee.”

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Established in 1993, Zentveld’s, operated by Rebecca and John Zentveld, is based in Newrybar, minutes away from the sunny beaches of Byron Bay in New South Wales. Despite having more than 35 Australian subtropical coffee growers between

Farmers have been tempted to sell out, owners from cities not interested in farming are pulling out trees, and across “the most viable food productive lands in Australia, we are replacing food farming with growing houses instead,” explains Zentveld.

Zentveld says one of the major challenges continuing to stump the Australian coffee industry is the loss of arable land to real estate. Noosa and Coffs Harbour, who produce up to 600 tons of dry green beans a year from 850,000 trees, Zentveld says one of the major challenges continuing to stump the Australian coffee industry is the loss of arable land to real estate.

“It is a concern of mine—the replacement of food-growing to housegrowing on some of our best food land in Australia,” she adds. Since there are only a few pockets of suitable terroir and microclimate land


available across northern NSW and Queensland, this is proving to be a major setback for an industry that wants to expand, grow, and export.

Labor Costs Labor costs are another issue, as Australia is a wealthier nation compared to other coffee lands. “Our labor and economic conditions set a much higher profitable benchmark for any grower or landowner considering growing coffee or any other food for that matter,” says Zentveld. “How can we compete with foreign coffees when our labor costs are thirty dollars per hour compared to the cost of labor in other lands?” she continues. “What do you reckon hand-pickers or small growers in Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Southeast Asia, across the African nations or Central America get paid per hour? Clearly, it is hard to compete as an Australian grower. So we roaster-buyers who choose Australian, do so knowing we will be paying a premium for beans that allow our growers to earn an Australian income.” Zentveld adds that nearly all the country’s growers are individual family owned and operated.



SCENIC VIEWS of Zentveld’s coffee plantation include rolling hills of perfectly manicured coffee plants.

“No multinationals, no investors, just real Australian farming families,” she says. “We can feel good in choosing to buy Australian coffee.”

Quality In relation to the quality of Aussiegrown beans compared to beans grown in Africa and Central America, Zentveld refers to research done by Australian Subtropical Coffee Association’s agronomist David Peasley, whose findings support the following: “In the early days, overcoming data-free observations was a big hurdle and comments such as, ‘Coffee must have shade to produce high-quality coffee’ and ‘Hand-picked coffee is better quality than machine-harvested coffee,’ along with, ‘High altitude is required to grow the best quality coffee,’ provided challenges for the early research efforts in the subtropics in the 1980s and 1990s. “These taste tests soon showed that coffee quality was not simply a function of altitude or variety or location but a combination of all these including soil type and microclimate and that the coolness of the ripening period was a major ingredient of

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coffee quality. That could be achieved at high altitude or high latitude or under shade.” Peasley went on to say that his research of coffee growing and harvesting in Brazil, Hawaii, Sri Lanka, and Colombia, along with observations in Australia, convinced him that “German author Bernhard Rothfos had it right in 1985 when he said, ‘Quality does not depend on the coffee’s origin or method of preparation. First-class coffee is a product of care, experience and accuracy at every single stage of production.’”

Climate The process of growing coffee is very similar to that of wine, and with Australia’s naturally cooler climate allowing for a longer ripening season of 10 months or more, there is a strong chance of the nation developing its coffee growing possibilities. “It’s just like wine—longer, slower fruit and bean development allows for more sweetness and nuances to develop within,” says Zentveld. “Compared to hotter coffee lands, we are growing fine-quality coffee at lower altitudes but with comparatively cooler climate quite close to sea level and the coast.”

The Australian crop is also unique as it’s one of the few coffee-growing regions that doesn’t use pesticides and herbicides. Zentveld takes pride that the land is currently unaffected by coffee pests or diseases, allowing their product to be grown “practically organic.”

Education Candy MacLaughlin, general manager at Skybury Coffee in Queensland, says Australia produces a small quantity of coffee and continues to produce small yields compared to the rest of the world because it’s seen as a rare commodity. “At the beginning [the biggest challenge] was breaking into new markets, particularly on the international market for the green coffee,” she says. MacLaughlin’s parents bought Skybury about 30 years ago, without much previous knowledge about coffee or farming. This venture turned into a lifelong passion, with the plantation now multifaceted with red papaya crop, a roastery, a dedicated research lab, and a tissue culture facility, as well as a visitor/ tourist information center and a café. Before venturing into coffee roasting 12 years ago, the MacLaughlins were green coffee producers only. Now


SKYBURY’S Candy and Ian MacLaughlin at the plantation in North Queensland.


Skybury coffee is “well recognized and sought after [in the international market] with many brokers purchasing in advance of the coming harvest,” she says. However, it’s the domestic market that is the main challenge, as it’s much slower due to competition, cost, infrastructure, and education. “It’s still a niche product,” says MacLaughlin. “New South Wales has the capacity to produce coffee, but we haven’t had more than two to three new coffee farms in the past ten years and not all of them have come to production. “It’s a hard crop to harvest and process and the infrastructure [in Australia] is insubstantial, following the actual growing of the crop,” she continues. “I do think it’s still a positive industry and those that do farm are passionate. It would be great to see more farmers venture into coffee. We can all have our distinctive taste profile, just like the wine regions.” Australian coffee remains to be part of the “boutique industry” because it’s a non-essential item, MacLaughlin explains, with people able to go without it if they have to or take a cheaper option. “There are some amazing international coffees, so we also have to be realistic and keep on our game to ensure that we are offering the best possible coffee,” she says. The other challenge is the consumer, with many more concerned about whether the coffee is freshly roasted rather than where it comes from. Although the interest is definitely there, it all comes down to whether consumers want to spend money on Australian



coffee over and beyond what they might have to for international coffee. “They have to think long and hard about it,” says MacLaughlin. “We all have loyal coffee followers, and this makes what we do fun and worthwhile. I still think that there is so much to gain in terms of traction for the Australian coffee industry and I think that consumers will support us through this process. We are growing each year with our domestic market, but it’s just not a fast process.” For the next few years, Skybury’s goals are to continue growing internationally and domestically, to build a reputation as being a great coffee producer, and to keep improving farming techniques, which will in turn improve quality and taste. “We are also producing shade-grown coffee—coffee that is grown under a papaya tree,” says MacLaughlin. “It has a great note with respect to acidity and we can only produce so much of this coffee each year and that keeps the demand high too.”

The Future Sarah Baker, editor of BeanScene and Coffee Group, says that more professionals are now choosing to discover their own backyard, rather than the traditional trips to origin, which involve “international travel with thousands of kilometers, trekking into remote regions in non-English speaking countries.” “For this reason, there’s more interest in baristas and companies arranging travel tours to Australia’s coffee-growing regions for training and education on coffee production,” she says. “The educational experience is an eye-opening experience for baristas to understand the complete ‘crop to cup’ photography.” One sign that Australia is positioning itself as a coffee-producing nation is its involvement in a World Coffee Research (WCR) multi-varietal trial to test new hybrid varietals, also known as the F1 hybrids. “By 2050, a majority of current coffee-growing countries will no longer be viable to produce the volume or potentially the quality of coffee they did due to the effects of climate change,” says Baker. Greg Meenahan of WCR confirms that the global industry will experience a shortfall of 182 million bags of coffee by 2050. “Demand for coffee is rising about 1.5 percent to 2 percent a year, [and] it is expected to double by 2050,” says Meenahan. “Research has shown us that if nothing is done, more than half of the world’s coffee land will become unsuitable because of climate change.” In response, WCR is conducting an international multi-location coffee variety trial, where 35 coffee types across 23 countries are tested to measure the performance in different climates, including Australia.

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RIPE CHERRIES at the Skybury plantation.

Scientists at Sydney’s Southern Cross University are testing 20 climate-resistant varieties, which, once accessible to the market, will have a tremendous impact. “In the production sector, today, information and availability of good varieties is scarce,” explains WCR’s scientific director, Christophe Montagnon. “When that changes, farmers will be able to make an informed choice about the variety that fits its own agronomic needs and market [quality]….Development projects that are supporting renovation of coffee farms around the world will be much more efficient because instead of replanting ‘random’ coffee trees, they will go for real improved variety.” Sydney-based Single O has become the first roaster in Australia to import a full container of these climateresilient coffees, featuring the F1 hybrid, Starmaya. This is a high-yielding, rust-resistant variety that can be grown at multiple altitudes. Other climate-resistant varietals also available are Marsellesa and Centroamericano. These F1 hybrids are created through a coffeebreeding process where researchers utilize the coffee plant’s DNA to help select which varieties to keep and which ones to let go. Once the varieties become readily available for the market, this will mean production security, less vulnerability, and improved quality. Evidently, the supply and demand of coffee will continue growing, and with Australia’s cooler climate, passion for the product, and sustainable growing ethic, who knows? Australia just might step it up and contribute to the world’s constant demand for coffee. FC



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Successful cafés often have beautiful locations, memorable drinks, and friendly staff. But what each successful café also has is a comprehensive food safety program, because a single instance of customer illness or injury can put a location out of business. Food safety in the café starts with installing the right equipment and training staff to use it properly.


Café Equipment & Food Safety


offee shops and cafés are in the business of serving customers, which means one of the responsibilities of owning and operating a café is to be sure that all food and drinks served to customers are safe. To guarantee safety, cafés must first comply with local health codes in order to keep their doors open. Part of food safety compliance involves selecting the right equipment to maintain and prepare food and drinks in a safe environment. But for this equipment to serve its purpose, staff must be properly trained. Here, we will take a look at how staff training and equipment use overlap to promote food safety in the café and foster an enjoyable experience for everyone.

USE AN INDUSTRY STANDARD PROGRAM to train staff on food safety practices.

Food Safety from Day One ServSafe certifications are part of the National Restaurant Association, with specific courses offered for Managers, Food Handlers, Alcohol, Allergens, and Workplace. Of these, Ildi Revi, author of a course on Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Compliance for Coffee Roasters for Ally Coffee’s Learning Lab, where she is Director of Learning, identifies the Food Handlers and Allergens certificates as the most relevant for operating a café. “Food safety in the café is most related to the health department,” notes Revi. Using an industry standard program to train staff for food safety “is the best spent time and money for a café.” Revi breaks it down like this: “The biological ServSafe Food Handler certification online program takes four hours and costs $15. The Allergen program is $22 for three hours. What café owner can’t afford that for each new hire? The cost of someone getting sick or having an allergic reaction is way more.” After learners pass the test, they are certified, and can take the certification with them if they move to another company. Because ServSafe is recognized across the food service industry, it serves employees in bars and restaurants as well as cafés. Revi’s work

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as a coffee educator and curriculum developer also investigates how people learn at work, and she recommends embedding food safety training into onboarding procedures, rather than taking it on at the end, to communicate to staff that food-safe procedures are integral to daily business operations. “Food safety should be part of every café’s onboarding before anyone gets behind the counter,” she advises. “Welcome employees, provide orientation, sit them down at a computer to take the ServSafe Food Handler [course], walk them around the café, and sit them back down at the computer to complete ServSafe Allergen.”

Proper Equipment Training Dawn Loraas, owner of Visions Espresso in Seattle, Washington, has

been providing equipment to cafés since Visions opened in 1986. She stresses the importance of proper equipment installation, regular maintenance, and staff training “as steps to ensuring safety in the café for both operational purposes and staff safety.” A safe workplace is on track to produce food-safe products for customers. “Employees need to be properly trained so they know how equipment works and are comfortable around steam and hot water,” says Loraas. “Espresso equipment needs daily cleaning and preventative service by a reliable company to ensure the built-in safety features in the equipment are working properly and up to date.” New café equipment—from hot water towers to walk-in refrigerators—come with seals indicating that


VISIONS ESPRESSO stresses the importance of daily cleaning and servicing of equipment.

the devices have been inspected and audited for compliance with national safety guidelines. “UL, ETL, and NSF [seals] let users know that equipment is safe to operate,” says Loraas. “But those seals don’t ensure that staff know how to clean. Proper training and finding a reliable service company are components to keeping food safe.” Underwriters Laboratories (UL), in existence for more than 120 years, issues marks that demonstrate safety and confirm compliance of equipment and components; Intertek (ETL), around for more than 130 years, tests, certifies, and inspects equipment; National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) has been testing, auditing, and certifying equipment since 1944 to ensure safe food and water. These organizations


exist to help prevent contamination and outbreaks of foodborne illness by starting with equipment manufactured in sanitary conditions and built to function safely. But café equipment, like any tool, is only as powerful as the operator. Empowering staff to be expert users of the equipment in their workspace ensures that tools designed to keep food safe do their jobs. Loraas notes that installing a water filtration system and changing the filters regularly to prevent scaling on espresso and other machines are crucial to keeping the café humming. Equipment that is not cleaned or repaired regularly could contaminate food and drinks served to customers, or break down entirely. One of the most important aspects of food-safe use and maintenance of

café equipment is “having a knowledgeable person [in charge] who is there to share that knowledge with the other people working in the café,” explains Loraas. “A lot of owners want their staff to be knowledgeable about the equipment when they themselves are not. There should always be someone on site who knows how the equipment works.” Like everything else in the café, food safety takes teamwork.

Wholesale Roasters’ Role Loraas is also the owner of Vashon Coffee Company, a wholesale coffee roaster in Vashon, Washington, since 2003. As the supplier of a product destined for preparation and service in a café, food safety starts with “sourcing high-quality coffees from reputable sources,” she says. “Ensuring a good


Café Equipment & Food Safety

GREEN BEANS should be carefully sorted before roasting to remove any debris.

product to begin with” is the first step to serving customers coffee that is clean and safe. A destoner is an example of equipment that helps build food safety into the production process. Vashon Coffee

the pursuit of the ultimate coffee quality, it is still important to remember the basics. Loraas notes that Vashon observes food-safe procedures in its packing facilities, including staff tying back hair and wearing hats.

Artisan craft roasting requires vigilance and incorporating checks to control possible physical or biological contamination dovetails into the attentiveness roasters already practice.

uses a destoner “as part of the preroasting process to remove little pebbles and pieces of cement,” explains Loraas. “Being a small roaster, we are really paying attention to each batch.” Artisan craft roasting requires vigilance and incorporating checks to control possible physical or biological contamination dovetails into the attentiveness roasters already practice. In

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On the other side of the country, Per’La Specialty Roasters was born as a wholesale roaster in Miami, Florida, in 2015. With more than 50 wholesale accounts in cafés, restaurants, and hotels, Per’La’s team became experts in training staff at different locations in the proper preparation of coffee, including how to follow safety protocol.

Florida does not accept ServSafe, so Paul Massard, co-founder and managing partner of Per’La, developed their own handbook for training café staff in food-safe procedures. “We train our wholesale customers initially and once per quarter,” says Massard. “We emphasize cleaning any tool that’s in contact with milk. Steam wand, steaming pitcher, making sure milk pitchers are cleaned every time they are used. That’s what pitcher rinsers are there for!” Pitcher rinsers are another example of café equipment that, if installed and used correctly, contribute to a foodsafe environment. Training staff to understand that cleaning equipment and tools between each drink is not an annoyance, but rather crucial to a sanitary workspace, happens when staff see themselves as professionals akin to chefs preparing a meal and build foodsafe practices into workplace culture.

Built for Success In October of 2018, Per’La Specialty Roasters opened House of Per’La, their first café location.


HOUSE OF PER’LA TEAM: (from left) Chris Nolte, Chef Giorgio Rapicavoli, and Paul Massard are diligent about Per’La’s food safety protocol.

“We bought an existing café, so we tested the refrigerator and other equipment to see it was up to spec,” says Massard. Any time a space changes hands or used equipment is purchased, it is necessary to test all functions to ensure that the equipment operates as it was designed to. House of Per’La focuses on coffee, but, like many cafés, has a kitchen on site to prepare food items like soups, sandwiches, and pastries, meaning the safety mentality must be that of a food service establishment. “Our partner in House of Per’La has a restaurant, so we applied the same food safety protocol,” says Massard. “We have refrigerator temp logs and monitor the time food is out.” Already an experienced trainer, Massard used the same handbook he created for wholesale accounts to train House of Per’La’s staff. He notes that they take care to control for “crosscontamination for nut milks and dairy,” relating to Revi’s advice to train staff using an allergen program as well as general food safety. Customers with dietary restrictions seek locations where


BONBON APPÉTIT: Nutella-filled, white chocolate skull bonbon with an Espresso Fino at House of Per’La.

they trust that foods with different ingredients are prepared separately.

A Team Effort The culture of food safety begins with training and must be continually reinforced by everyone who works in a café space. Not only do café owners and managers need to know how to operate equipment, as Loraas points out, but they also need to be aware of the time it takes to implement foodsafe procedures and build this time into staff schedules. Opening a café in the morning requires checking that all food and ingredients stored overnight are still usable, keeping in mind that events like power outages during closed hours can

mean that refrigerators or fans might have stopped working. Closing a café in the evening involves thoroughly cleaning and restoring all tools to the ready-state for the morning. The more that the space is maintained during each shift, the less work there will be for the closing staff, but managers and owners should be aware that operating a café space up to code takes time. Lead baristas and managers should model the behavior they would like their staff to follow, and training should be explicit in the food safety responsibilities of each shift and role. With this teamwork, coffee shops and cafés can continue to be hubs for positivity in the community without ever putting a customer’s health at risk. FC


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DELEGATES from CESMACH (Campesinos Ecolรณgicos de la Sierra Madre de Chiapas) arrive in Nicaragua for the first International Learning Exchange.



Diversified Agroecology


n a time of changing climates and uncertain markets, producers are taking matters into their own hands. After almost a decade of collaborative research to develop a process for responding to the challenges of smallholder coffee farming, researchers and farmers gathered to share their findings in person for the first time and improve tools developed to implement diversification strategies. When 11 coffee producers and researchers traveled to Estelí, Nicaragua, in November to attend the first International Learning Exchange on diversification and agroecology, it marked the culmination of nearly a decade of research conducted independently and collaboratively by seven organizations and institutions in Nicaragua, Mexico, and the United States. Their efforts accomplished something that has rarely, if ever, been attempted in the coffee industry: applying scientific research methods to develop solutions for the challenges plaguing producing communities, based on research and implementation conducted by the members of those communities themselves.

Revolutionary Problem Solving In January of 2017, seven organizations began collaborating to address the paradox of the hungry farmer: the harsh reality that nearly half of smallholder farmers who produce the world’s crops suffer from hunger. This problem is felt acutely by two coffee cooperatives, CESMACH (Campesinos Ecológicos de la Sierra Madre de Chiapas) in

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GROUP WORKSHOP at the International Learning Exchange in Nicaragua.

Mexico and PRODECOOP (Central de Cooperativas de Servicios Múltiples) in Estelí, the hosts opening their doors for the Learning Exchange. In 2009, PRODECOOP began working with the Community Agroecology Network (CAN, Santa Cruz, California), Santa Clara University (California), and La Universidad Nacional Agraria (Managua, Nicaragua) as experts in both research methodologies and sustainable food production systems. “We have been working in coordination on developing these diverse actions for eight years,” says Armando Misael Rivas of PRODECOOP, coordinator of food security and sovereignty for Las Segovias and the co-op’s point person for diversification research. More recently, the University of Vermont (Burlington) and El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR, Chiapas, Mexico) partnered with CESMACH, and November’s Exchange marked the first time all seven organizations met in person since the launch of the 2017 study. The project, Assessing Diversification in Smallholder Coffee Farms in Mesoamerica, develops a producer-led problem-solving process that is replicable, scalable, and adaptable. To embed resiliency into agricultural systems requires adopting a cyclical research model of assessment, design, implementation, review, and adaptation. CESMACH and PRODECOOP were at

the stage of review and adaptation, where they could share the results of implementation and together evaluate methodologies used at previous stages: how to best conduct initial member assessments to determine needs, design strategies to meet those needs, implement the strategies, and review how successfully needs were met. Rigoberto Hernández Jonapá, CESMACH’s local coordinator, said his goals for the Exchange were “to unite the team, coordinate community researchers, and develop better research tools for field application.”

Diversified Agroecology The general objective of the research project, stated in the opening presentation at the Exchange, is “to analyze how different strategies of diversification affect food security, climate change resilience, and gender equity in the home and community, and how these strategies relate to the sustainability of food farming systems based in coffee cultivation.” The project uses participatory action research where communities study themselves, and members’ voices collaborate on the design of the research questions, implementation, analysis, interpretation, and distribution of the results. Both cooperatives, CESMACH in Mexico and PRODECOOP in Nicaragua, identified the same three problems


demanding immediate attention: food insecurity, climate change, and gender inequity. Beginning with surveys conducted in 2017 of how producing families experienced these challenges, the cooperatives and supporting researchers identified agroecological diversification as the basket of comprehensive solutions to simultaneously address all three challenges. Agroecology and diversification are currently recognized by social and environmental scientists as crucial response tools to reverse global land degradation caused by input-heavy industrial monoculture. Christopher Bacon, a researcher with Santa Clara University, explains how the project will “generate scientific evidence to build decision-making capacities related to diversification strategies.” To gather this evidence, CESMACH and PRODECOOP used a network of promoters to interview other co-op members about their current practices and then shared the strategies drafted based on the needs members expressed.

Food Sovereignty, Nutritional Security PRODECOOP is a second level cooperative with 2,300 member families representing 10,000 people in 100 communities across Estelí, Madriz, and Nueva Segovia departments of Nicaragua. To date, they have implemented a multifaceted diversification program through a network of 48 promoters. Since 2010, based on work conducted with CAN and Santa Clara University, 1,500 members replicated best agroecological practices for both coffee and food farming, 116 families implemented patio poultry rearing for meat and eggs, 280 families planted food gardens as part of a diversified coffee system, and 281.4 hectares are now planted with beans and 70 hectares with corn. There are 200 bio-intensive milpa gardens planted, 40 water catchment systems installed, and 356 grain silos distributed to preserve food through the lean months. Participants in the Exchange visited examples of each of these successfully adopted strategies on producers’ farms and at co-op facilities in Miraflor, San Lucas, San Juan del Rió Coco, and Condega zones. CESMACH is a smaller co-op, with 636 coffee producing families in 39 communities across four


Diversified Agroecology

MIRAFLOR: (clockwise from top) View from corn field, vegetable garden, and a field visit.

CESMACH’S Rigoberto Hernández Jonapá speaks to the delegates.

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municipalities of Chiapas. They similarly conducted surveys to record diversification tools used by producers on their plots and continue to conduct monthly surveys about food security and the investments producers make in their land. Additionally, five community researchers—two women and three men who are members or children of members—created maps and registers of edible food planted. CESMACH is also connected with a local beekeeping cooperative, with honey being the most successful parallel product produced alongside coffee in Chiapas. While visiting farms in Nicaragua, Jonapá of CESMACH saw that “producers do many experiments on their farms with minimum direction from the co-op. There are lots of experiments with intercropping, for example bananas.” The hesitation among CESMACH’s producers to experiment comes from an unfortunate history of hard-fought initiatives being literally

swept away by extreme weather events that force farmers to start from scratch again and again.

Responding to Climate Change In 2010, Tropical Storm Matthew’s landslides and flooding ruined farms in Chiapas, and just two years later the leaf rust epidemic of 2012-13 wrought further catastrophe on recovering farmers.

“Faced with the problem of leaf rust in the coffee fields, we have had to redefine our priorities and adjust our strategies,” says Jonapá. “Rust forced us to really look at our cultivations, to truly become coffee producers.” CESMACH has supported its members in the transition to diversified coffee and horticulture systems on their properties by providing both the technical assistance and the seed material. In 2015, CESMACH used funds from its Fairtrade social premium to install the first community nursery of coffee varietals, to genetically diversify coffee trees on producers’ parcels in anticipation of another leaf rust plague. This year, PRODECOOP-affiliated farmers have established seed banks for sharing needs and vegetative material for food crops producers can grow on their farms, based on the climate in their community, including beans, corn, cassava, sugarcane, and malanga.


Diversified Agroecology

ATTENDING: (from top) gender workshop, roundtable forum, farmer presentations, and the CESMACH delegates.

Sowing food crops along boundary lines of different plots is another way to integrate diversification. Diversified agroecology applied to the farms in a cooperative’s radius improves soil fertility and mitigates greenhouse gas emissions, which combat the underlying causes of climate change while responding to its effects. “As small producers, we suffer more from the effects of climate change,” says Denia Alexa Marin, a member of PRODECOOP. “We should learn how to use diversification as an alternative so that we can improve the living conditions for our families.”

Dynamics of Gender Equity Alexa, as a member of PRODECOOP, owns a parcel of land; landowning is a requirement of membership per the current bylaws. This limits wives and daughters of members, who often do much of the work on a farm, from being vocal participants in co-op decision making. But, even for the women who are members, there is still a cultural hesitation to assuming leadership positions; PRODECOOP is working to increase the number of women—currently four in the general assembly of 38. Alexa is one of these four women and also a member of PRODECOOP’s administrative council, as well as coordinator of the co-op’s commission on gender. Together with the organization Cafenica, the council has been working on both purchasing land for women so that they can become members and on reforming the laws for membership. “When the house is on the farm, women participate in more than half of the tasks of managing the farm,” says PRODECOOP’s Misael Rivas. “We have to also value the role of women in the coffee chain.” The cultural task of building a cooperative where women feel confident in taking leadership roles is of top interest to CESMACH, which includes women as promoters to conduct surveys with and distribute information to members.

44 ] FEBRUARY 2019 » freshcup.com


Non-Monetary Solutions The diversification strategies developed through many years of research and shared at the Exchange address food sovereignty, climate resilience, and equitable gender participation from a non-monetary perspective. Rather than assuming that all problems can be solved by increasing revenue, the cooperatives approach community health in human terms. All coffee producers—individuals and cooperatives—know that neither the market price of commercial coffee nor the quality and certification premiums for specialty generate enough dependable income to support producing families and towns. Developing new frameworks for problem solving is far more valuable than simply building new infrastructure or planting new varietals. TO LEARN MORE AND GET INVOLVED, visit http://canunite. org/our-work/projects-2/diversification-on-coffee-farms/. Posters and manuals are available at http://diversificacioncafetales2018.asdenic.org. Ongoing research and the Exchange are financed by Thought for Food, an initiative funded by Agropolis Fondation, Fondazione Cariplo, and Fondation Daniel et Nina Carasso. The International Learning Exchange was hosted at the Center for Information and Investigation-Nicaragua Development Association (CII-ASDENIC), with additional funding from Equal Exchange and funds crowdsourced through Grow Ahead.

Cooperatives are already organized associations of families involved in the same core task of producing coffee. Leveraging that organization to scientifically collect information about how different strategies do and do not work to solve local problems by training co-op members as researchers is a holistic approach to finding solutions. The tools for problem solving are not merely market access or a better product, as producers are often led to believe. Methodically diagnosing challenges and tracking success rates of different solutions using low-cost tools helps cooperatives make the most of the resources they do have. “Work in one place impacts the other side of the world,” Misael noted in his reflection on the experience of hosting delegates from Mexico and the U.S. at PRODECOOP. “We are not alone.” FC


Trade Show & Events Calendar FEBRUARY 7-9








Orlando, FL thenafemshow.org

Melbourne Australia internationalcoffee expo.com.au

Kigali Rwanda afca.coffee/conference

Amsterdam Netherlands amsterdamcoffee festival.com




MARCH 13-15





New York, NY coffeefest.com

Atlanta, GA ncausa.org

Moscow Russia coffeetea rusexpo.com/en

MARCH 16-17

MARCH 21-23

MARCH 23-24

MARCH 28-31





Albuquerque, NM chocolateand coffeefest.com

Marina Bay Singapore cafeasia.com.sg

Brooklyn, NY coffeeandtea festival.com

London United Kingdom londoncoffee festival.com

MARCH 30-31

APRIL 10-11

APRIL 11-14

APRIL 11-14





Boston, MA coffeeexpo.org

Seoul South Korea coffeeexposeoul.com

New York, NY international restaurantny.com

San Juan Puerto Rico coffeeandchocolate expo.com

46 ] FEBRUARY 2019 » freshcup.com

Boston, MA recosymposium.org

APRIL 14-15

MAY 9-13

MAY 18-21






Portland, OR nwfoodshow.com

Xiamen China teafair.com.cn/en

Chicago, IL show.restaurant.org

Indianapolis, IN coffeefest.com

JUNE 6-8

JUNE 11-13

AUGUST 25-27

AUGUST 25-27




Berlin Germany worldofcoffee.org

Las Vegas, NV worldteaexpo.com

Los Angeles, CA coffeefest.com


AUGUST 29-31






Mexico City Mexico tradex.mx/expocafe

Beijing China cafeshow.cn/ huagang/hgcoffceen/ index.htm











Moscow Russia pirexpo.com/en

Milan Italy host.fieramilano.it

Bangkok Thailand coteca-asia.com

Hong Kong China tcworldcup.com

Orlando, FL flrestaurantand lodgingshow.com

Los Angeles, CA westernfoodexpo.com

Toronto Canada coffeeteashow.ca


The Last Plastic Straw Looking to Go No-Waste? Consider Tossing the Trash Can By Robin Roenker

CAFÉ CREMA partners with Compost Nashville’s operations manager Matthew Beadlecomb (pictured at left) to make sure its food waste and compostables stay out of the landfill.

48 ] FEBRUARY 2019 » freshcup.com


wner Ben Lehman had grown weary of the piles of napkins, cups, and other trash heading out his door each day at Nashville-based Crema Coffee Roasters, which he opened with his wife, Rachel, in 2008. “That visual can be so depressing,” he says. Wanting to make a difference, the Lehmans gradually shepherded their café toward a goal of zero-waste, incorporating compostable and recyclable service ware and partnering with Compost Nashville and recycling company Earth Savers to redirect 95 percent of the roughly 28 tons of trash generated by Crema each year out of the city’s landfills. The boldest step in the café’s pursuit of sustainability came in 2016, when Café Crema removed trash cans from their café dining area altogether. When ready to toss their items, customers now have just two options: recycling bins or composting bins. Everything except items in the café’s restroom trashcans is now either recycled or composted. “I was really surprised at the reaction. I thought it was going to be negative, and instead it was almost a non-event,” says Lehman. “We yanked the trash cans, and it was perfect. Everyone just put things where they were supposed to go.” To simplify the process, nearly all the disposable products used at Crema are now fully compostable, including biodegradable, PLA-based straws from World Centric. Soon, the café hopes to also become fully carbon-neutral, thanks to expanding tree-planting efforts to offset the utilities use and overall carbon footprint of its Nashville locations. “We’re always looking for ways to improve,” says Lehman.


In Holland, Michigan, Lemonjello’s Coffee also found success by kicking their trash cans to the curb. “We don’t have trash cans in the store at all, other than in the bathrooms,” says owner Matthew Scott, who cites early exposure to composting and sustainability on his grandparents’ farm as one motivating factor in his pursuit of zero-waste operations. At Lemonjello’s, staff do all the sorting, sidestepping any customer confusion about whether an item is recyclable or compostable. “We have standard dish bins and ask customers to put everything there, then we sort everything ourselves,” says Scott. “We find that’s easier than resorting later—and it takes away a potential obstacle for customers.” “When I opened the café sixteen years ago,” he continues, “we didn’t have recycling downtown, so I’d take bags home to recycle them with my residential pickup.” Before municipal composting was available, Scott partnered with a local famer to compost his shop’s grounds and food waste. More recently, Lemonjello’s has had access to both mixeduse recycling services and municipal composting—programs that it helped pilot and champion. As a result—and thanks to its dedicated use of only reusable, compostable or recyclable service ware—the café typically produces just one bag or less of trash daily, despite serving between 500 and 700 customers, many of them students from nearby Hope College, on an average day. The café offers discounts to customers who bring in reusable mugs or cup sleeves, and it markets the reusable and compostable Freedom Sleeve by Design by Freedom in its shop for $7. “We even have customers who carry their cardboard Java Jackets in their pockets so they can reuse them multiple times,” says Scott. “Our customers love us for the green aspect of our business.” FC


LEMONJELLO’S COFFEE owner Matthew Scott (right) says they do not use trash cans and staff members sort customers items into recyclables and compostables (below).


Advertiser Index

To view our advertiser list and visit the websites listed below, go to freshcup.com/resources/fresh-cup-advertisers



Abbotsford Road Coffee Specialists




Barista Pro Shop








Café Femenino Foundation



Coffee Fest







Dominion Tea

540.999./TEAS (8327)



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Host - Fiera Milano




Java Jacket




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Monin Gourmet Flavorings

855.FLAVOR1 (352.8671)



Pacific Foods







Specialty Coffee Expo



Sustainable Harvest




Tea Trade Show








World Tea Expo




Zojirushi America



50 ] FEBRUARY 2019 » freshcup.com


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Fresh Cup Magazine | February 2019