By Carly Kadlec, Green Coffee Buyer, Equal Exchange
At Equal Exchange we love coffee, we love beer, and guess what? We also love them together, so we were excited about the opportunity for our latest coffee and beer collaboration, brewed up in Portland, Ore. Our Portland crew teamed up with Harvester Brewing to offer a tasty new coffee beer featuring Equal Exchange beans. While lots of brewers are discovering the delicious ways that a little coffee can complement the dark, toasty malts that are the traditional staples in the brewing of dark winter beers, this brew is a little different.
I was in a hot room, sitting in a circle with colorfully dressed Ugandan women representing the 10 primary societies of Gumutindo Coffee Co-op. Right away I knew that I was taking part in something special.
Over the last year we at Equal Exchange have been making a concerted effort to have conversations with lots of our customers. We have called hundreds and hundreds of our customers, some folks who are just starting, others who have been super stars for over a decade and some who are working hard but are still not growing.
Tea grown at the ashram.
Among the small farmer groups working with PDS are the Adivasis (tribal people), an ashram, and a convent. Here we are learning about the tea grown by nuns at the convent, and their very impressive organic composting practices.
At the ashram where in addition to their spiritual practices, they grow tea, fabricate organic compost, and raise cows to generate income and provide the local community with dairy products.
Vote for your favorite submission to our A Sweet Exchange chocolate giveaway!
Happy New Year!
We hope that the start to 2014 brings with it new energy and positive growth, both personally and professionally, to everyone in our Bananacado network.
Part Two: Here in South India, we can report there have been positive changes in the last few years in the effort by Peeramade Development Society (PDS) and Tea Promoters of India (TPI) to empower small tea farmers. Peeramade Development Society is a Catholic church of India based NGO that has a variety of projects to support the rural poor. Tea Promoters of India is a unique family-owned tea operation that has a foundational commitment to authentic fair trade and to small tea producers.