The Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) Expo in Boston last weekend was a long-awaited reunion of our coffee community. Most importantly, Dean’s Beans organized a meeting with co-op representatives from five of our partners – CoSurCa, COMSA, Asobagri, Prodecoop, and Pangoa – in which they shared their histories of working with us and their plans for this year.
Our meeting hosted an animated discussion of new hurdles, continuing battles and successes within the international arena. For example, we weighed the pros and cons of obtaining Bird Friendly certification, and CoSurCa sparked the idea of all the co-ops documenting the lives of their farmers in short films.
The co-ops announced their continued efforts in tree-planting and maintenance, and their plans to focus on projects ranging from soil and water conservation, to a movie theater, to biodigesters.
Dean’s Beans team highlights from the SCA Expo:
- We met with the Smithsonian Bird Friendly team to connect after many Zoom meetings during the coronavirus pandemic regarding our role as Data Donors for Smithsonian’s Bird Friendly pricing guide.
- We attended various lectures, including “Perspectives On Gender And Racial Equity” that featured speakers from the International Women’s Coffee Alliance and our long-time friend Ellen Starr from Grounds for Health, and “Carbon Footprint of Roasting” to inform our own future carbon audits and reduction strategies.
- We chatted with Domenico Celli of Puentes Naturales – a collective of Puerto Rican small farms that produces limited-run experimental batches of coffee. Domenico works directly with the farmers and rural entrepreneurs to design experiments and market their products. Puentes Naturales sets prices that de-risk farmer’s investments in a climatically vulnerable zone. We are excited to roast and cup their Dos Hermanos green beans. We'll let you know how they turn out!
- We watched members of the Ethiopian Coffee Exporters Association roast beans using their traditional pan method, served with bread and popcorn.
…And we tasted some mouthwatering coffees, of course!
- Little Waves Coffee Roasters — the Latina-owned, women-focused Micro-Roaster of the Year — served up some fruity Rwandan roasts grown by female farmers.
- The Hawaii Coffee Association introduced us to the complex coffee of Puna, with tasting notes of cucumber, sun-dried tomato, plum, garden pea, lemongrass and oolong!
- Port of Mokha, founded by Mokhtar Alkhanshali to revive the lost coffee industry of Yemen, knocked everyone’s socks off with pungent brews of super-extended anaerobically fermented beans from Yemeni microlots.
- Forest Coffee amazed us with innovative Colombian coffee such as a koji-fermentation (the fungi that ferments sake, soy sauce and miso)!
- Steeped Coffee gave us a bunch of samples of a surprisingly full-bodied coffees made in a single-serve packet like a tea bag! We’re getting some ideas…
I’d love to hear more about what the growers perceive as “cons” of Bird Friendly certification. In my efforts to promote shade grown coffee within my birding contacts, it is much easier to promote Bird Friendly, since absent a “shade grown” certification, the consumer has to rely on the intregrity of their source, and not everyone is as fortunate as I, to have Dean’s Beans to source their coffee.