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May-June 2011


A Cooperative Coffees e-Newsletter for and about Fair Trade

 May-June 2011


In this issue...


cupping may exchange

We had a fulfilling and insightful Roaster Exchange.


Reach out!

Outreach and Communications
-Co-op Coffees receives the CRS Alliance grant!
-Farewell Shannon!
-Roaster exchange at the Labo Equitable
-SCAA Cupping Judge Course: July 18-22

Roaster News
-La Fem Cooperative visits Just Coffee

Producer News
-Cepicafe's New Partner - Theo Chocolate!
-Informational video about fundación Ixil!
-CLAC symbol introduced in North America

Travel: Where in the World is Coop Coffees?
-Upcoming Farmer to Farmer travel

The Latest in the Fair Trade movement
-World Fair Trade Day Round-up
-Cafédirect featured in The Guardian
-BALLE Living Economies 2011 Conference
-Northwest Coffee Festival

Reach out!

Spring has sprung and CoopCoffees is in "full-speed-ahead" planning mode! As you may have read in our previous newsletter, CoopCoffees has been approved for a renewal on USAID Farmer to Farmer funding for roaster-producer exchanges. This consists of a series of technical exchange visits, cross-continent skype and telephone calls and endless preparatory emails as we prepare for a flurry of international travels! Next stops are Bolivia and Colombia (stay tuned for trip reports in our next newsletter)! Meanwhile, we are winding up our Strategic Planning Process to be presented to all participating members at our Annual General Meeting of Members (AGM) - graciously hosted this year by our roaster/member Bean North in Whitehorse, Yukon! We are busy, busy, busy... as we see this important August assembly closing in fast! Stay tuned for results...

For now we have a bundle of current interesting and good news! We have recently been awarded a grant from the Catholic Relief Services Fair Trade Fund to help document "Best Practices in Fair Trade" in a collaborative process between CoopCoffees and other pioneers of the Fair Trade movement. We had another fun and informative Roaster Exchange led by our head cupper EJ Dawson and assistant Ellen Grace. And we faced our bittersweet moment, bidding Shannon Hoops-Ripley - our Montreal Communications staff member "au revoir" as she transitions to life in Ottawa and gears up for an exciting new adventure working with member-roaster Equator Coffee in Almonte, Ontario.

On behalf of our Roaster and Producer partners there is also plenty of news to share! Our members Just Coffee hosted representatives from La Fem Cooperative from Esteli, Nicaragua in Madison, WI.  Producer partner Cepicafe in Piura, Peru landed a wonderful new trading relationship between Theo Chocolate in Seattle, WA - focused on the rare and exquisite Porcelana Cocao resulting in the finest quality chocolates (and we were delighted to receive a sampler box from Theo as a thank-you for facilitating the connection!). In the Fair Trade front, World Fair Trade Day 2011 brought about a flurry of fun events world-wide. Be sure to check out the WFTO's roundup of the day. Speaking of fun and interesting events, there are several coming up in June. If you're in the Pacific northwest, be sure to check out the BALLE business conference and the Northwest Coffee Festival!

Enjoy your read!

Let us know what changes you'd like to see in this newsletter by emailing us at

Outreach and Communications

Coop Coffees receives CRS Alliance Grant!


If you have been keeping your finger on the Fair Trade pulse, you understand that the movement currently finds itself at a crossroads.  While Fair Trade presence appears to be growing world-wide, there is a need for leaders in the movement to pause and take time to assess our impact and to map out fresh strategies. Now, thanks to a special grant from our allied organization Catholic Relief Services, Coop Coffees will coordinate an effort among Fair Trade pioneers to continue raising the bar for Fair Trade. Together, with an assembly of other Fair Trade coffee leaders and international Fair Trade trail-blazers, we will review and study the business practices of Fair Trade and hope to produce a guide of key practices and replicable actions that might lead dedicated Fair Trade businesses, producers and consumers to build a fairer future.  We want to thank the Catholic Relief Services Fair Trade Fund and CRS donors for their gracious and continuous support! Stay tuned for more information!

Learn more about CRS Fair Trade...

Farewell to our staffer Shannon!

Shannon Blanca Martha

The Montreal Cooperative Coffees producer relations office has found itself in a constant shape-shift, with the welcoming of EJ Dawson to Canada and the arrival of Ellen Grace to assist in the lab to solidify Labo Equitable operations, and now with the departure of Shannon Ripley, whose tenure at CoopSol as Communications Assistant has been instrumental in our  growth and evolution throughout the past years...

Read a note on Shannon's departure...

Roaster Exchange at the Labo Equitable

Sample Roasting

Click here to learn more and for dates of upcoming sessions...

Check out pictures from the exchanges...

SCAA Cupping Judge Course at Coop Coffee's Montreal Lab: July 18-21, 2011


There is still time to sign up for the upcoming SCAA upping Judge Course in our Montreal Quality Lab - led by specialty coffee quality controller and certified trainer, Mane Alves of Coffee Lab International. The course offers training for and administers some 20+ examinations in order to become a certified SCAA Cupping Judge and/or Q-grader.

What better time to enjoy Montreal in all its glory (can you say "festival season"?!) AND become an SCAA cupping judge?  Don't miss this wonderful opportunity!

Read more about the course and logistics here...

Roaster News

Just Coffee hosts representatives from La FEM

LaFem and Just Coffee


In May roaster/member Just Coffee - hosted La FEM Cooperative representatives from Esteli, Nicaragua. Juanita Villareyna and Irma Lopez spent a week in and around Madison to meet with UW Madison students and professors, Willy Street Coop members, WCCN (and their lenders), Wisconsin farmers, Mermaid cafe, coffee consumers and Just Coffee Coop, among others for what proved to be an enriching week getting to know the people and places at the opposite end of the coffee chain. Once again, producers and consumers came together to discuss why these relationships are about much more than just coffee. Prior to their departure, Juanita and Irma reflected on their visit in this interview.

Read the interview here..

Producer News

Cepicafe's new partner - Theo Chocolate!


theochoc cepicafe

Cooperative Coffees would like to applaud the new trade relationship between Seattle, WA, chocolate maker Theo Chocolate ("the only fair-trade, organic, bean-to-bar chocolate maker in the US"!) and our long-standing trading partners Cepicafe in Piura, Peru. The universe moves in mysterious ways... in this case, thanks to producer relations manager Monika Firl and once-removed connections back to her high-school pals (ah... the ever-present power of Facebook!) we were able to facilitate some introductions that led Cepicafe to a new contract for 20 tons of their highest quality, fair-trade and organic cocoa beans to Theo Chocolate! Much to the benefit of the CoopSol office in Montreal, which later received a box FULL of delicious Theo Fair Trade and Organic chocolate goodies!

Check out Theo Chocolate's website...

Informational video on Fundación Ixil


fundacion ixil logo
The Fundación Ixil is making great strides in their quest to advance the livelihoods of small scale coffee farmers in the “Ixil Triangle” – the area of northern Guatemala between the cities of Nebaj, Cotzal, and San Gaspar Chajul (home to one of our producer partners, la Asociación Chajulense).  They have recently released a new informational youtube video outlining their work and its impact on the Ixil communities. We recommend y'all to take  the time to watch this short 10 minute video and get familiar with this organization and their awesome work!

Check it out!...
Fundacion Ixil's website...

CLAC launches the Small Farmers symbol in the USA


The Small Producers’ Symbol was originally launched in Chiapas, Mexico in 2006 by the Coordinadora Latinoamericana y del Caribe de Pequeños Productores de Comercio Justo—CLAC,  to promote the products of small-scale farmers. On April 29,during the 2011 SCAA convention in Houston, TX, CLAC formally unveiled the CLAC symbol in North American markets. CLAC spokespersons say this is not intended to compete with FLO, but rather offers the seal as a tool to help consumers distinguish products made by its associated small-scale producers, from those of large plantation systems now subscribing to FLO. This is yet another gesture to continue raising the bar on consumer solidarity values.

The unveiling of the CLAC symbol comes hand-in-hand with the unveiling of a sleek new bi-lingual website and the adoption of new social media tools like Facebook and Twitter to get the word out.

Check out their new english website...

Travel: Where in the world is Coop Coffees?

Farmer to Farmer 2011 well underway!

party time!

On CC's last visit to Bolivia, we were warmly received by the PASYBOL coop!

We have two producer trips underway as part of our renewed commitment for the 2011-2012 USAID Farmer-to-Farmer fund Roaster-producer exchanges program! At the end of May Tripp Pomeroy (Cafe Campesino), Brad Brandhorst (Larry's Beans) and Julia Baumgartner (Just Coffee) visited Bolivia to support Fecafeb and associated coops AIPEP and PASYBOL during these tumultuous times in the coffee market! During their travels they discussed quality, fair trade opportunities and communication needs to help farmers dissect these current complicated times. We wish them all our best!

And starting June, our producer relations manager Monika Firl, along with CC green coffee buyer Florent Gout and TJ Semanchin from Kickapoo Coffee will be visiting Fondo Paez in Cauca, Colombia!

Stay tuned for our next newsletter for more info on these trips!

Click here to learn more about CoopCoffees' Farmer to Farmer work...

The latest in the Fair Trade movement

World Fair Trade Day roundup!


On May 14, citizens of the World from all walks and places of life got together to support and promote Fair Trade on World Fair trade Day 2011. Notable Fair Trade events held that day included the Fair Trade festival in Oslo, Fair Trade fashion shows in Rio de Janeiro, the introduction  of Fair Trade into Mongolia, and the French Fair Trade Fortnight – a two-week celebration of Fair Trade in France!

Click here to read the World Fair Trade Organization's round-up of World Fair Trade Day 2011...

Cafédirect is featured in The Guardian!

Our UK-based friend and ally, Cafédirect, has won the Guardian 2011 Sustainable Business Award in the Social Impact category. Furthermore, the British newspaper recently featured in its pages the organization and its program to re-invest profits in producer organizations (via their Producer Partnership Programme (PPP) now fully designed and operated by producer-owned organizations). We congratulate Cafédirect for the award. It is well-deserved following years of trail-blazing in Fair Trade, Keep up the great work!

Click here to read the article...

Check out Cafédirect's website...

BALLE Living Economies 2011 Conference!



The BALLE business conference brings together independent business owners and innovators, local living economy entrepreneurs, community investors, government economic development professionals and sustainability leaders. The conference also connects leaders from current BALLE networks, potential network leaders and community activists. The content is developed to focus on the synergies and success stories of the local living economies movement.This years BALLE conference will be taking place in Bellingham Washington in Western Washington University and will feature Rebecca Hurlen Patano co-owner of roaster/member DOMA Coffee speaking on one of the Sustainable Business panels. Hurry.... Registration ends June 14!

To learn more click here...

Northwest Coffee Festival in Seattle WA!

NW coffee festival

To learn more about the Northwest Coffee Festival and to get tickets click here...

If you're still in Washington for the BALLE conference, why not stick around a few days longer and check out the Northwest Coffee Festival during Father's Day Weekend? The festival will bring together coffee lovers, baristas and roasters to get their caffeine buzz on while tasting and celebrating coffee in Seattle. If you are a coffee lover then head for the Seattle Center. There you will be well served in a wonderland of coffee -- and sure to leave with a smile on your face as cup after cup of delicious brews are handed to you by baristas from the local favorite cafes and roasters.

The Northwest Coffee Festival will be held in the Fisher Pavilion at Seattle Center with espresso bars, slow-pour coffee bars, live music, educational presentations and hands-on demonstrations in coffee. With several of Seattle's favorite chocolate dessert companies and savory food chefs in the festival there will be great foods to taste as well as exceptional coffees. The festival will feature a NW Beer, Wine, and Cider garden for the 21+ folks.

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