Since I left corporate life and started coffee farming, one of the hardest things to accept was loosing my voice. Walking around the isles in our local high end super markets in US and Europe, I was amazed that hardly any of the coffees sold are specific or traceable to origin. Origin is hidden and invisible from the customer most of the time. It was an uncomfortable feeling sitting on the 'other side of the fence'.
Like almost every industry where large chunks of the value chain are hidden, there is tempting opportunity in the coffee world for unethical practice, cost cutting and mis-representing quality or simply silencing. Certifications abound designed to put the consumers mind at rest but most are in my opinion box checking exercises affordable only for larger farms.
My goal through this column is to help coffee enthusiasts get connected with Origin, to shine the light of transparency around what we do. My hope is that coffee enthusiasts get involved, demand to know where coffee comes from and ask more questions . Very very few small coffee growers have internet access, write in English or understand the consumer. My objective is to start filling that void.
Beyond bringing a farming perspective; I really enjoy being connected with the Coffeegeek community. There is something just plain invigorating about people with passions and this is particularly true of coffee enthusiasts. It is a great blessing to be connected with all sorts of knowledgeable, interesting and dedicated folks in coffee around the world to learn from.