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March-April 2011


A Cooperative Coffees e-Newsletter for and about Fair Trade

 March-April 2011


In this issue...



Sorting at la Asociacion Chajulense


Reach out!

Outreach and Communications
-Co-op Coffees gets IMO-certified
-Meet our new cupper, EJ Dawson!
SCAA Cupping Judge Course: July 18-22

Roaster News
-Fair World Project interviews HG's Chris Treter
-"Run Across Ethiopia"

Producer News
-Comercio Justo Peru

Travel: Where in the World is Coop Coffees?
-Guatemala Report
-Just Coffee's delegation to El Salvador

The Latest in the Fair Trade movement
-What is the future of Fair Trade?
-Fair World Project newsletter

Reach out!

It's been a busy and rewarding couple months for Cooperative Coffees: IMO certified us under their relatively new and well-reputed Social Responsibility and Fairtrade program, "Fair for Life"; we successfully imported EJ Dawson (across the US-Canadian border!) to work with us in developing and expanding our Montreal cupping lab services; and a number of our members were able to spend time with our partners in producer countries.  We also received the good news that our Farmer-to-Farmer program has been renewed for another series of roaster-to-farmer exchanges in 2011-2012!!  More on that in the next newsletter.

For now, we've got plenty to report on from the world of our partners, our members, and the fair trade movement.  A common theme you'll see throughout the reports and articles is how fair trade producer co-ops, importers, and roasters are learning how to deal with the current situation in the international coffee market.  With prices hitting and maintaining 30-year record highs, we are pushed to review fair trade as we've known it, and challenged to more clearly define and live out what "fair trade" truly means to us and to our producer partners.

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

Outreach and Communications

Co-op Coffees officially certified by IMO's "Fair for Life" Programme!


We're happy to announce that Cooperative Coffees been officially certified under IMO's Fair for Life program.  The new program was founded in 2006 by the Institute for Marketology (IMO) and the Swiss Bio-Foundation in response to the growing need for a system that included a broader range of products and operations.  "Fair for Life" complements existing certifications by incorporating standards from FLO, ISEAL, Rainforest Alliance, SA 8000 (from Social Accountability International) and ILO.

Learn more on their website...

Read the full program description here...

Meet our new cupper at the Labo Equitable!


Quality control at Cooperative Coffees just took one more exciting step forward as we welcomed EJ Dawson into our lab and onto our team as our newest cupper extraordinaire!  EJ enters this new position with many years of experience in both roasting and quality control for specialty coffee... and with working knowledge of our co-op and our coffees after a formative stint with roaster-member Bongo Java in Nashville, TN.  We're thrilled to have him with us at the Labo Equitable and as you can see from the photo, he's already got his work cut out for him!  Those are boxes FULL of samples for the CRS Cafe Livelihoods project!

Let the work begin!!

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


Once again the quality lab in Montreal will be hosting an SCAA Cupping Judge Course. 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

Fair World Project Interviews Chris Treter (Higher Grounds)

Chris Treter


Ryan Zinn from the Fair World Project sat down with Chris Treter from Higher Grounds for the first installment of a series of interviews with leaders in the Fair Trade movement. Chris provides an interesting insight into his experience with Higher Grounds and within the Fair Trade movement, the challenges facing those businesses committed to a truly fair trade as well as innovative  approaches to surmount these challenges. The interview finalizes with a heart warming retrospective of the Run Across Ethiopia.

Read the interview here...

Quebec publication (Ethiques et Societes) features the Run Across Ethiopia!

crowd of runners  

As you might expect, the Run Across Ethiopia has received a lot of press. After all.. it's not every day that a group of Americans teams up with a group of Ethiopians to run 250+ miles across Ethiopia!  In Quebec, Canada writer and Cafe Rico staff Emilie Nault-Simard  reported on the epic run in the Quebecois magazine Ethiques et Societes. She offers a glimpse into the reality of small-scale farmers and cooperatives in Ethiopia and explains -- with commentary by Chris Treter and Monika Firl -- about how the RAE and Cooperative Coffees aim to address some of the key issues facing our partners.  Time to brush up on your high school French skills!

Read the article (in French)...

Producer News

Coordinadora Nacional de Comercio Justo de Pequeños Productores del Perú (CNCJ)

Pangoa friends

In case you did not know, the Coordinadora Nacional de Comercio Justo de Pequeños Productores del Perú (CNCJ) represents more than 60 thousand small scale fair trade producers distributed across 36 affiliated organizations within Peru. Dedicated to the social and economic development of its constituents, the CNCJ has made great strides in Fair Trade within Peru. Be sure to check out the website of the CNCJ . It is beautifully laid out and simple to navigate. Be forewarned, the website is in Spanish!

Check it out!...

Travel: Where in the world is Coop Coffees?

Co-op Coffees gang visits Guatemalan partners

Tripp at farm

In March, roaster-members Cafe Campesino, Heine Brothers and Peace Coffee teamed up for a trip to Guatemala to visit two of our long-standing trading partners APECAFORM/Manos Campesinas and La Asociación Chajulense. Tripp Pomeroy explains how our lasting relations with both coops has benefited all sides of the relationship during these trying times in the international coffee market. Ultimately, our ability to weather these tough times in solidarity with eachother will allow us and our partners to emerge as stronger organizations.

Read Tripp's report here...

Just Coffee's El Salvador delegation report

JC March 2011 Delegation

This month a lively group of eight joined Just Coffee on a week long venture through the tiny Central American country of El Salvador. The main goal was to link producers and consumers and to show how Just Coffee goes about establishing new relationships with producer groups (and to drink as much coffee/eat as many mangoes and pupusas as possible in one week).  The visit was an eye-opening and fruitful experience for all - a great opportunity to narrow the geographical (and cultural) gap between coffee drinker and coffee grower!

Read Julia's report here...

The latest in the Fair Trade movement

FLO raises prices - what impact will this have on the ground?

Santiago speaks

Read the FLO's press release...

Read Santiago's article...

Coffee prices on the NY"C" have been skyrocketing for months; producer cooperatives struggle to keep up with the competition on the ground; and "fair trade" has reached as challenging a moment as ever. In March, FLO responded with an increase to the required social and organic premiums to meet FLO cert criteria -- resulting in a new minimum price for organic and FLO fairtrade at $1.90/lb.  As happy as we are to see FLO move in this positive direction, we have to wonder what kind of impact it will have on the ground. In the article below, Santiago Paz offers insight into the hard reality of a high-price coffee market, where traditional "fair trade" methods are being challenged daily and where the future of the movement has yet to be determined.

Spring is here! and so is the new FairWorld Project Newsletter!

FTP spring 2011


Fair World Project was launched by the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) in 2010 to promote fair trade in commerce, especially in organic production systems, and to protect the term "fair trade" from dilution and misuse for mere PR purposes, as conscious consumers expand the market for fairly traded products. They publish a bi-annual newsletter called "For a Better World" that covers a range of topics relevant to certification, organics, and of course, fair trade -- the latest edition is hot off the press!

Read For a Better World here...

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