Sunday, February 23, 2014
I have to say that the espressos and espresso drinks were far better than the regular drip coffee served at the hotel for breakfast, which for a 5 star hotel, was dismal in quality. In Brazil you will find a dominant use of espresso machines and espresso based drinks all over the place. Even fast food and convenient stores had full blown manual espresso machines with the grinder for the portafilters right next to it. This compares drastically to the US and North America in general, where cheap brewed coffee is more dominant in these types of locations. In short, I enjoyed my espresso drinks at the different locations I tried them. Maybe they were not as sweet and complex as espresso drinks can be, but they did the job for me. And the atmosphere, well, thats something unique in Brazil. No matter where you end up walking for a fix, there will always be a good barista/server serving your espresso with a smile.
Thursday, January 30, 2014
When it comes to making cold brew coffee, I really don't see the need to reinvent the wheel. I have watched many people prepare it and even though we were never big fans of cold brew, this past summer we started using it at the coffee shop. Cold brew coffee is ideal for cold espresso drinks, where you need strong flavors and boldness to blend well with the additional water, ice, flavoring or milk. Think of cold brew as a coffee "concentrate" to mix with additional liquids. Alex T., our head barista uses it at home with hot water to make himself an americano when he needs a fix. So you can use as a base for a hot coffee cup as well. We now keep a jar of cold brew in the fridge all the time. We prefer to use our Colombia Los Naranjos and Honduras coffee for cold brew.
You can watch Leesha on Youtube who does a fantastic job of explaining how to prepare cold brew. I have come to use her measurements (coffee vs water mix) with great results. Enjoy!!
Thursday, June 6, 2013
Without waiting for governments, donors, exporters, or other coffee traders to agree on what to do about the situation with roya, they have worked fast and clever to produce a toolkit, to deal with the issue. Its a DVD/ Video that can be used by agronomists, and technical field staff in Spanish speaking countries, who want to deal with the disease.
Check it out, they have even developed a whole website just to deal with the issue.
Keep it up SH!!
An interesting angle to the issue surfaced today in my discussions with a friend who works in agriculture development in Honduras. Horticulture farmers tend to be younger, while coffee farmers much older. At least in Honduras.
An interesting discussion will be online on June 11, sponsored by USAID's Agrilink Program.
Join the discussion!
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
In short, McDonalds will invest close to $7 Million in Guatemala, to run a project that will seek to source coffee in a sustainable manner. It has already engaged with two very reputable organizations, that work on expert solutions to agricultural problems. SCAN and Technoserve.
I also like the fact that they have made an effort to partner with these organizations, and not try to go at it alone. And finally I like their approach to financing the operation. As opposed to getting funds from their Treasury or CRS platform, they have charged each of their North American franchises, $1000 to participate. At such a low cost per store, this has been an immediate "buy in" from store managers.
I like it!
I wonder where they source their chocolate from? Thats a different story.
In 2010, Walmart announced a “global commitment to sustainable agriculture” that set forth the goal that by 2015 the company would sell $1 billion in food sourced from 1 million small and medium farmers worldwide. In 2012, Walmart was the world's third largest public corporation, with 8,500 retail stores in fifteen countries. Their operations in the developing world increasingly are designed to source directly from small and medium farmers.
However, the jury is still out when it comes to the benefits to small farmers in linking to corporations like Walmart. An interesting analysis is done in Nicaragua by a recent publication in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics. The study concludes that there is not enough evidence, over a period of 8 years, to confirm that farmers did indeed benefit in terms of welfare. Very generalistic comment. But worth digging into.
Read the article.
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
The title of the blog, as some of you may wonder, actually comes from a TEDx presentation I did around the subject. And my good friend Michelle Perez, whom used to work with us at the MIF, helped me put together.
Happy eating, drinking and reading...
I love this picture. Can you guess what it is? And where it was taken? (country that is)