Responsibilities and Risks – 25 Magazine, Issue 10

Responsibilities and Risks – 25 Magazine, Issue 10

“It’s not easy to know that you are sacrificing your income, that what you are working on is subsidizing the coffee industry.”

In an interview at Re:co in Boston last April, Merling Preza, General Manager of PRODECOOP in Nicaragua, gave an honest answer to a personal question: Do you get tired of speaking to groups about the same things time and time again? “The truth is that sometimes I get tired. Sometimes I get upset. I get upset because it’s the same subjects, the same things … but I think it’s our responsibility to keep trying to make sense of this, because our families are there – our families in the fields – and they are suffering the situation, some organizations or producers more than others.”

In Issue 10, we revisit some of the challenges facing specialty coffee in new ways. Starting with Spotlight, photographer Juan Páez turns his camera to Marsella Risaralda in Colombia, asking: What will happen to the culture of coffee-growing communities without a younger generation to sustain it? Later, in Insight, Erika Koss examines the impact of the words we use as she traces the etymology and history of the word “resilience” in specialty coffee sustainability narratives.

But there are opportunities amidst the challenges: In Origin, Vera Espindola Rafael offers hope as she shares recent learnings from her study of growing domestic consumption and its impact on coffee prices in Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and Rwanda. Meanwhile, in Research, Sophia Jiyuan Zhang and Florac de Bruyn find that the results of a four-year project to better understand the impact of post-harvest processing on coffee quality raises some new, interesting questions, including: Should we take a coffee’s variety into account when choosing a processing method?

“What I’ve seen until now,” said Merling, indicating this year’s Re:co program, “is that we are all trying to understand the problem better … but [the price for producers] is a ‘to eat or not to eat’ matter.” I hope this issue encourages an acceleration of understanding so that we can move to action, shouldering more of the responsibility – and risk – producers have been carrying for decades.

JENN RUGOLO
Editor, 25 Magazine

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