While I was reading an article from, Matthew Newsome of The Guardian, I was intrigued by Ethiopia’s new process for tracing coffee origins. At the coops around the country, they are labeling every bag with a barcode that is tied not only to the processing station but the farmer as well.
As a specialty coffee nerd, I find this intriguing mainly because of the impact it can have on Ethiopian coffee in the future. Here are three ways this can affect the consumer:
With this new system of traceability will come accountability. All coffees being purchased through these coops will now have to use more industry acceptable standards for processing coffees. The past when farmers would bring unripe cherries for processing, it would just bring the value down. New technology will have to be in place to bring this standard up to par.
I also believe this will make it a much easier for the green buyer to identify what crops he/she wants. Which in turn will produce better quality seeds for the roaster and us, the consumers!
Value for the consumer
So what value does this provide to us? Honestly, this is the one of the factors I look for when selecting a specialty coffee to buy. It adds a dynamic to your coffee drinking experience that is unmatched. I want to know everything about the coffee I buy. I want to know how big the farm is, I want to know altitudes, varietals, etc. I want to know I’m making an informed decision when purchasing coffee. Transparency is the demand that is pushing this market segment and will continue to do so as long as we want to know what’s going into our products we eat and drink. By giving us this information, it gives the consumer that much more to use when making a purchase. I mean, am I the only who maps out coffee I buy?
Value for the farmer
I wanted to throw this in there as this is something that hits home. Sustainable agriculture is something that needs more infrastructure in coffee. So many farms are haphazardly taken care of or that it was difficult to get a consistent crop due to lack of resources (aka money). My hopes are these higher margins will help these small farmers with their infrastructure, but also assist in creating a quality product that can be replicated year after year after year.
It’s through this process that we as consumers are creating the demand for a more sustainable, healthy product. It’s through this transparency that allows us to be closer to the product than ever before, and I believe this is an excellent way to provide value to us, the consumers.
What did you think of the article? Let me know what you think. Find us at: