Friday, July 29, 2011


Earth Friendly Foundation received its 501c3 in March of this year 2012. EFF operates entirely independent of Earth Friendly Coffee with non-overlaping directors -- except fot Diane the founder of both. I will list a website  when available. Thanks for your support in its creation.


Mission Statement:
At the pleasure of the newly formed BOD of Earth Friendly Foundation
The Earth Friendly Foundation is dedicated to promoting the well-being of remote, mountain – Guatemala and other – indigenous coffee farmers. EFF promotes the farmer’s greater involvement in the milling, processing, roasting and export of their coffee through:
·         Education -- promoting efficiency, quality, consistency, and sustainable practices
·         Environmental conservation and sustainability
·         Roasting equipment and supervision
·         Fair Trade, Chemical Free, Organic, Shade Grown and Quality certifications
·         Marketing development and guidance,

to the end of greater prosperity, health, and children’s education among the participating indigenous family farmers and their community.
·         EFF envisions a just segment of the coffee industry wherein indigenous native farmers leverage their own isolation and their natural resources into a specialty coffee superior in all respects to its mechanized farm counterpart. Thus, these remote and isolated farm families can gain the resources to integrate themselves into modern society on their own terms.
·         The greater involvement these farmers achieve in the supply chain of the world coffee market, the greater their revenue and integration into society and the greater their ability to care for their own health and education within their own culture and at their own pace.
·         The growing demand for high quality organic coffee presents exciting opportunity for economic growth within the native community.
·         The success of this initiative is in part dependent on production of a superior coffee product. A fair trade initiative is only sustainable when the end customer receives a superior product at a reasonable price. It costs more to harvest organic, hand picked coffee from remote high altitude rainforests. The remoteness alone presents a transportation problem. Rains wash out the roads. There are mudslides, and then there are the coyotes. The product must sell at a premium; it cannot sustain itself in the market if it lacks the quality to justify that premium. The product (to be sustainable) must be superior in perception and reality. Fortuitously the quality is there. The official quality grading of these high altitude hard beans rates SHB, Strictly Hard Beans and is the highest altitude quality gradation in Central America. A primary aim of EFF is the public recognition of this SHB quality gradation
·         Furthermore, maintaining coffee trees beneath the natural forest canopy is the very salvation of that Rainforest. In contrast to the slash and burn, open field cultivation of coffee which is the rule, this harvesting in the natural symbiotic forest has a dramatically positive environmental impact. Environmental considerations must extend to every phase of coffee production.

·         A roaster for the Maya Ixil or other indigenous cooperativa.
·         Involve indigenous Mayan farmers and families in the processing and production of a very high quality, roasted, value added product.
·         Sell directly to the US distributor—or even directly to the customer, thus replacing the out sourced miller, the exporter, the importer and the roaster, realizing added revenue of a vertically integrated supply chain.
·         Educate the indigenous producers in the necessity of offering:
       o   A competitive price and quality of product
       o   Consistency, reliability and service (the added value necessary in the US market)
·         The importance of sanitation, safety, and chemical free criteria
·         The importance of ecological criteria at every level
·         To the end -- that the village enterprise will be sustainable and replicate in other countries, on other continents.

·         A grant from a major institution that will fund the roaster and the education needed
·         Ongoing fund raising to further finance: quality control, supervision and -- replication.
·         Maintain strict separation of the Earth Friendly Foundation from the Earth Friendly Coffee Company, a “C” corporation while offering the Cooperativa a legitimate distribution vehicle and access to the North American market on an independent and competitive basis.
·         Fill out the Board with independent community leaders and ones with appropriate expertise --- persons willing and motivated to achieving these goals
·         Achieve an annual budget of $1 million within three or four years.
·         Add at least one other cooperativa and roaster with in 3 years.
·         Advance the SHB metric of quality. Commit R&D money to quality assessment chemical analysis and quality control.
·         Keep administrative overhead to a minimum

·         Start simple; see the roaster program through to product delivery as the initial single focus.

The above is subject to change by the direction of the foundation BOD. The Foundation operates entirely independent of EFCC.
Anyone wishing to hear more about the EFF or make contributions might contact Peter Larson at 907 235-5646.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Fair Trade Coffee

I here two things, actually three in the market.

1. "Every body has fair trade coffee now, so I can just buy it at the store."
2. "I want to buy local for environmental reasons."
3. "It doesnt taste any better than store coffee."

And yes there is a problem. Five years ago, fair trade coffee ment remote mountains family farmers who had the best coffee, but following years of revolution and a glut on the coffee market the farmers were taken advantage of by unscrupulus Coyoties. Fair trade ment a fair price to those farmers and a quality, but often rough coffee to the US consumer at a modest price.

Today many less needy producers of of lessor quality coffee, grown in cultivated fields, obtain fair trade certification. This creritfication means less. Fair trade to the farmer means a lower price than his first quality coffe brings on the market, so he tends to sell secondario or a blend as fair trade coffee.

The US importer, faced with a record high commodity price for coffee, tends to accept the fair trade organic certification (fto) and a lessor quality coffee in supplying the fair trade market segment. As a result quality suffers, the consumer gets a mediocer cup of coffee and the remote high mountain Mayan family farmer still faces the challenge of bringing his truely high quality hand picked coffee to market.

A few direct trade quality coffe enterprises still take the high road, buying at a truely premium price the best high mountain coffee whilst monetering the environment and the distribution of funds from the cooperativa to the family farmers and their community. European and Japanees coffee buyers compete for the same high quality product. Their cost runs something like "C" market plus 70 cents per pound plus import costs which have escilated as well. Fair Trade pricing on the otherhand brings in only "C" market plus 20 cents -- 50 cents less than the good stuff.

This Stanford Social Innovation article, linked above, tells it all. If you want truely excellent coffee and tuely help the endigenous farmers, be very careful in your selection of producer/importer. It is probably not local, probably not a brand name, and probably not at the store. SHB Arabica marks the highest quality gradation for Central American coffee. The SHB stands for strictly hard beans, European prep and above 5,000 ft. The quality is in the bean.