Introduction – Perspectives around Coffee

Starting 2015 off with our best foot forward, we’ve launched a new website at www.CoopCoffees.coop. And along with it, I’m launching this blog — a “conversation corner” about topics connected to coffee and some of the challenges currently facing the industry. I’ll look at (not necessarily in this order) farmer livelihood, respectful relationships, truth in trade, healthy soils, maintaining solid and sustainable supply chains of great quality coffee, and all the while, “staying in business” in this highly competitive marketplace. Finding win-win resolutions to these other issues is crucial, as we aspire to a more reliable and humane future in coffee.

During my 20+ years in the industry, I’ve seen incredible and exciting changes in the world of Specialty Coffees. I’ve been all hands on deck at the birth of the fair trade coffee movement, and have watched its “market sector” grow and develop. I’ve nurtured organic coffee, learning side-by-side with farmers, and have seen how the crop has blossomed into a household word. I’ve been swept up in the tourbillon of quality coffee, as the concept and realities have expanded beyond our wildest dreams! I’ve also seen countless (and at times heart-wrenching) challenges “from seed to cup” – ranging from extreme market fluctuation to crop failure to political assassination.

For the past 12 years I’ve worked as the CoopCoffees Green Buyer cum Producer Relations Manager, and am now charged with “Special Projects” and External Communications, based out of our Montreal office. Immersed in this unique and extraordinarily dynamic cooperative network, I’ve gleaned incredible learning experiences from coffee farmers, roasters, traders, marketing promoters, and researchers. With this blog – I intend to weave personal reflections with those of my colleagues and other experts in their fields, in the hopes of creating a broader debate around some of the current, looming issues facing the people we care about most in the industry.

I’m excited to embark upon this new adventure and to explore collectively — better ways of doing business. I look forward to a lively discussion and welcome and encourage your comments and feedback in open and respectful dialog!

Author: Monika Firl
February 24, 2105