A US-based article and examples but nonetheless interesting and relevant. And exposes those who try to say they are doing direct trade but don't really, whilst acknowledging those of us that do sincerely make a real difference.
Coffee trees and landscape can look beautiful in many countries but visiting for us isn't just about photos - it's the people, stories and relationships that matter.
We get to check farms for quality and environment; we get to see the workers, but the relationships we form are increasingly becoming special friendships. The stories we are a part of have far more impact than we could have hoped for 11 years ago when we set out on this adventure.
I got back from Brazil only last week and I'm reflecting on the journey with this family – it keeps getting better and better. Not only do they produce great coffee, but their care of workers and environment is testimony to who they are as human beings. When we first bought coffee from Isaltino in 2010, his son Athos worked out the export paperwork and procedure to make it happen. That was the impetus for him to go on and establish his own export business with two others.
Not content with doing well for themselves, off the back of their own success they are helping other farmers, developing speciality coffee and increasing income for others too. With passion for speciality coffee Athos, Demilson and Herico are now looking up, literally 1000ft higher up, into the mountains at Jacutinga, where a small rural community have the potential to produce exceptional coffee if they can just be taught to invest the time in selective harvesting and better processing.
In partnership with them we are now looking at a project to invest in that community, to bring about sustainable incomes, higher standards of living and consistently fantastic coffee.
Travelling is rarely comfortable, but always an adventure, and the scenery can be stunning - check out the photos online.