Serving Those Who Grow Coffee: A Barista’s Perspective

by Richard Sandlin, Fair Trade USA – Coffee For most of us living in the global North, working in coffee is a choice. Regardless of your association to Specialty Coffee–barista, roaster, importer, etc…–you’ve made the decision to pursue a career in coffee. We can switch companies, and still be in the coffee industry. For coffee …

From Seed to Shelf: Ethical Consumerism from the Ground Up in Guatemala

by Lindsey Berk, Operation Groundswell   “Eating is an agricultural act.” —Wendell Berry, American novelist, activist, cultural critic, and farmer We seem to have forgotten that. At least, I had forgotten that until I left my corporate job and my NYC apartment in 2011 to begin a three-year journey around Latin America and Australia.  Working …

The Green Coffee Buyer: A Key Link in the Coffee Supply Chain

by Andi C. Trindle Mersch, Philz Coffee Green coffee buyers essentially operate right in the middle of it all: we serve as intermediaries for the coffee bean, standing between growers and final consumers. Despite the bad rap “middlemen” have received in the coffee trade over the years, speaking from the middle as a green coffee buyer myself—I …

Expanding the Role of the Exporter in the Direct Trade Model

by Francisco A. Mena, Exclusive Coffees S.A. Many of the other participants in this issue are green buyers who work for roasters or importing companies. In this feature, we shine a spotlight on the role of an exporter, which is someone who consolidates crops from producers for processing and sale to out-of-country businesses. Francisco Mena, standard-bearer …

A Novice Green Buyer’s Search for Meaning

by Jessica Cole, Elysian Coffee Roasters There are a few things about green buying that aren’t what I expected. I thought green buyers trotted over volcanic terrain shouldering sacks of coffee, heroically hopping around like nimble-footed mountain goats. I thought being more connected to purchasing would shed some light on coffee’s more existential questions: what …