Saturday, February 6, 2010

James Hoffmann's epiphany about decaf coffee

James Hoffmann, founder of Square Mile Coffee Roasters (London, UK) and the World Barista Champion in 2007, wrote in his Feb. 2, 2010 blog of his epiphany about decaf coffee which apparently happened in 2007. (Whew! Glad he's been "in the know" for at least the past 3 years!)

"I think we make a grave mistake alienating decaf drinkers with tonnes of pre-ground, nasty coffee brewed without much care. These are people who are buying coffee because they like the taste. We are supposed to love these people – they aren’t the ones suffering through awful espressos or instant coffee just to get their caffeine fix. And yet they are the people least catered to in the industry. A shame."

Couldn't have said it better myself, James. Thank you! And thank you to roaster Joel (formerly of Stumptown- West Coast, which is where James had his epiphany) for seeing the light and brewing that tasty, sweet, full bodied shot for James.

Read the whole blog, it's a good one:

Monday, February 1, 2010

Coffee to Help Haiti

Today's post is not so much about decaf as coffee and economic development. The coffee industry can play a significant role in economic development of all coffee growing regions. We've seen it work in Rwanda and now Burundi. If you're not familiar with it, check out the work Dan Clay and others do through the PEARL project at Michigan State University (, partially funded by USAID ( Tim Schilling, based at Texas A&M University, is also involved.

Now is the time to start bringing this kind of economic development to Haiti. A project that would support and strengthen specialty coffee farming in Haiti's rural areas should be a part of the long-term planning that the big donor agencies, including USAID, are trying to put together. Coffee may not be the only valuable export crop that could be supported in Haiti's rural, mountainous backlands, but it has been successful in the past. Development workers I know who work in former coffee growing regions say any assistance in this area would be welcome.

I'd like to encourage David Farmer, Dan Clay, and folks from the Clinton Foundation to sit down with the grassroots organizations at work in rural Haiti and start pilot projects to re-establish coffee in Haiti.