For the past 6 months, I have been planning and organizing a truly sustainable, traceable way to purchase coffee from East Africa, mainly Kenya and Ethiopia. Many people have told me that is impossible, and that maybe true, but I believe that I made leeway, and developed a great relationship to help “crack the co-op”.
After hearing the progress and purpose of the group I have organized, many companies have offered to join. At first, this may seem like a huge compliment- it is, but, it makes me nervous as a, “new buyer”. I know that people do not expect all projects to go well, but, I have adamantly taken on a huge task – traceability in Africa. I cannot pretend to guarantee great quality coffee, or true traceability or even finding the minimum quantity of contracted coffee. But I can expect an eye opening experience, good coffees, and a step into the right direction.
On a side note:
I don’t know if most people know my background or not, but I have not always been a coffee buyer/master roaster/director of coffee/whatever the hell you want to call me. I prefer, to be just a “coffee guy”, after all my old boss Ric Rhinehart used to say, “At the end of the day, it’s just coffee.” I am someone who started as a Barista, and worked his way up, through learning, listening, and most of all tasting and developing a memory of events and flavors. This makes me new to the “Director of Coffee/Green Coffee Buyer” title.
While exploring many firsts, first origin trip, first time to organize a buying group, my first chance to truly make a difference in a producers life, my first time to truly experience and play an active role in why I think I decided to become a coffee professional… to make a difference, and to control coffee quality from producer to Barista; I am excited and nervous.
I am a novice to the coffee buying world, but perhaps that’s a good thing. I know what I am getting into, I know what the market is doing, I know that true traceability in East Africa is not impossible, and I know that many buyers with more experience than me believe it is impossible. I venture into this new world of buying, fresh, un-tainted, and willing to rock the boat a little. Am I nervous? Of course I am.
From Nairobi, Kenya.
Green Coffee Buyer, Temple Coffee
P.S. I apologize for the lack of photos, but my connection is not as fast as it could be. Photos to come, or you can also check our facebook page.