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A Face for Radio
Monday, October 20, 2014 - 12:15 PM - 4 days, 6 hours ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - Steve Leighton's HasBean Weblog
A face only a mother can love, I have a face for the radio, not a video blog. I’ve had this a few times that people would like me to do an audio podcast rather than a video one as I scare their children or pets, so for those people welcome to in my mug… Continue Reading

Our Bolivia coffee should be leaving shortly
Saturday, October 18, 2014 - 12:44 PM - 6 days, 6 hours ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - Steve Leighton's HasBean Weblog
A question I get asked most days is when will your Bolivian coffees be back. Its a question I had no answe to until today. I received these three pictures yesterday telling me this is our shipment having its final touches before export. It takes a while to Leave for Chile across the altiplano to… Continue Reading

10 years of writing this blog
Sunday, October 12, 2014 - 11:41 AM - 1 week, 5 days ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - WBC 2007 World Champion James Hoffmann's jimseven
10 years of writing this blog
Ten years ago today I posted my first post on here. The idea was pretty simple – I wanted to learn more (learning can be hard if you feel isolated) and sharing is beneficial if you want to learn faster. I think that what was true then is true today. Milestones, arbitrary as they may be, always tend to be times of introspection and (while nothing is more boring than a blogger writing about a blog post about their own blog) it has been interesting to spend a moment considering the role of my writing on here in my career in coffee. I remember registering the blog, inspired by the blogs of Thomas Gauperaa (gone now), Chris Tacy and Tonx (also gone now). In the next few years it seemed like coffee blogging became somewhat fashionable – at one point I had maybe 300 blogs in the “coffee” folder of my RSS client. Then, slowly, they all began to disappear or become dormant. That isn’t to say that new, interesting blogs haven’t started more recently – more that there was a massive swell that has since receded. There are somewhere around 400,000-450,000 words published on here, spread across about 870 blog posts. I did think about turning the best bits of it into a little book but I’d imagine the demand for something like that would be so small that the resulting price would put off the few interested. I’m quite pleased that the timing of my book has meant that I do get to publish something I’m proud of on my ten year anniversary. (I’m also delighted, and relieved, by people’s positive reaction to the book. Thank you!) I think it is worth restating how valuable writing here has been to me. It has done so much for me, both personally and professionally, that I’ll continue to recommend people do it – no matter how much further out of fashion it falls. Writing here has always been a great way to clarify my thoughts, to force me to think coherently enough on

Ask Stevee pt 2
Friday, October 10, 2014 - 01:17 PM - 2 weeks ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - Steve Leighton's HasBean Weblog
So in my quest to answer your questions I’ve done another audio podcast to answer all the things about coffee you were to afraid to ask listen to ‘ask stevee coffee questions’ on audioBoom there will be more of these so keep the questions coming

Ask #stevee not Garyvee
Thursday, October 02, 2014 - 10:49 AM - 3 weeks, 1 day ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - Steve Leighton's HasBean Weblog
listen to ‘no #askgaryvee you should ask rip off #askstevee for you @jimgrant17’ on audioBoom

Carlos gets a new depulper, thanks to you?
Friday, September 26, 2014 - 08:56 AM - 4 weeks ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - Steve Leighton's HasBean Weblog
Last year we had an amazing new coffee, one that blew my mind how good it was. So much so I nearly gave up my house and all my worldly possessions to get it. I first got to meet a guy called Carlos at my Costa Rican exporter’s office on the last day of my… Continue Reading

The story of Ernesto and his tasty coffee
Wednesday, September 24, 2014 - 01:59 PM - 1 month ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - Steve Leighton's HasBean Weblog

Miscellanea for September
Tuesday, September 23, 2014 - 10:24 PM - 1 month ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - WBC 2007 World Champion James Hoffmann's jimseven
Miscellanea for September
I thought I’d post a quick round up of various things that are going on at the moment: The Atlas First of all – it looks like copies of the World Atlas of Coffee are starting to arrive with resellers. There’s no embargo on the book so, even though the release date is the 6th October, you can grab them now. Amazon will ship so books are delivered on release day. There’ll be copies for sale in the Square Mile Webshop if you want to buy a signed copy direct from me (which would be lovely – but local is good too!). At the latest, signed copies will be available from the 10th October, dependent on the stock arriving and my travel schedule. It’s not too late if you want to be a stockist. Just fill in your details here, and the local publisher and distributor will get in touch with you (anywhere in the world). I’m Hiring I need some help with the various projects I have ongoing, mostly the Coffee Jobs Board . Therefore I’m looking for a part time EA/PA, ideally based in London. You can see the ad (and perhaps apply!) here . It feels a little weird to be hiring for this role, but having some support would be extremely helpful. I hope that I can offer more than money for someone interested in this industry, or in business. Upcoming Events I go to Moscow tomorrow, for a Black Eagle event there with DoubleB . After that it’s Seoul to take part in the WBC All Stars event – looking forward to hanging out with Matt, Alejandro and Nick! I’m curious to see how the coffee culture there has changed in the last two years. (I will try not to flood my instagram and twitter with my incredulous postings!) Straight after Korea is Barista Camp . I’m delighted the camp has sold out, and I think it is going to be both educational and huge amounts of fun. I’m looking forward to meeting baristas from all over Europe, and there should be plenty of time to chat about all things coffee. It’s been a while since I travelled and got to meet lots of new coffee people – if you’re going to be at one of these events then do please say hello. It’ll be weird to be travelling the day the book comes out – but that’s another post for next month…

Mobile Friendly Has Bean
Monday, September 22, 2014 - 08:25 AM - 1 month ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - Steve Leighton's HasBean Weblog
I like to think I’m quite tech savvy. I own a website that does ok for web sales, and I make video podcasts that get watched by thousands each week, and have a healthy twitter and facebook following. I listen to tech podcasts and read blogs still. So much so I even go to tech… Continue Reading

A few things I learned writing the atlas
Monday, September 15, 2014 - 02:06 PM - 1 month, 1 week ago   - 1. TMC Members' Coffee Blogs  - WBC 2007 World Champion James Hoffmann's jimseven
A few things I learned writing the atlas
The experience of writing the book was an interesting one, and not always pleasant. The process involved finding as much information as I could, trying to pare it down to what I considered important and then doing my best to fact-check what I found. There were moments when there would be little epiphanies, though these weren’t always good feeling ones. I came into coffee at a time when speciality was on the rise. I came to know coffee through stories of direct trade, relationships with producers, trying to pay premiums and to push quality forward. What didn’t make sense to me were certifications like Fair Trade. I was dismissive of them because I couldn’t see how they fit into my world of speciality. They didn’t focus on quality at all! How ridiculous! What was worse, so many of my favourite coffees came from single estates – and when I learned that a single estate couldn’t ever be Fair Trade certified it seemed even more laughable to me. (Ah, the arrogance of youth…) Writing the history of each coffee producing country brought my foolishness and shortsightedness into sharp focus. What I wanted to do was look at the history of each country to understand how it had ended up with the level of traceability it had: why was coffee in Central America so much more traceable than coffee in Papua New Guinea or Ethiopia? The Europeans Each and every chapter could likely have contained a sub heading of “That time the Europeans were complete b*stards” because, invariably in every country there was such a time. The English, the Spanish, the Portuguese and the Belgians (especially the Belgians – who were often utterly evil and no one seems to take them to task about this any more) did atrocious, unspeakable things – from a place of greed, ignorance and a callous belief in their superiority. It got to the point during the research that I was just waiting, as I worked chronologically through the local coffee production timeline, for the bad things to happen – I was never disappointed… The locals That doesn’t mean that all the terrible things were done by colonists. The painful past and guilt of land ownership, of theft and displacement, of abuse and slavery, belongs to a great many people in each and every country. This doesn’t mean everyone who owns a coffee farm is a terrible person, or that every person who owns a coffee farm has some historical skeleton in the closet – it just means it’s all complicated. Certainly more complicated than I can deal with in this post, or within the book. Fair Trade When you look at the past the actions of those who set up schemes like Fair Trade make more sense – and the idea that it was designed to support cooperatives, rather than those whose families had acquired land at some stage, makes a great deal of sense. This side of coffee’s history is rarely on display, and while the price crashes of the past are well known I don’t think many people in my coffee generation are particularly aware of this stuff. I’m sure it isn’t just me Like I said – the history of coffee and land ownership raise incredibly big, difficult issues, and I didn’t really look to tackle them in the book. I hope people who read through the chapters are inspired to read a little more on the subject. For a quick overview, and a starting place on the subject, have a look at the Wikipedia article on land reform by country. Why I won’t buy anything from Chiquita Banana Writing about Guatemala was one of the most depressing chapters for me. You can read plenty about it online, but the summary would be that 10 years of progressive land reform between 1944 and 1954 didn’t sit well with US owned United Fruit Company. Their big, very profitable business, owned 42 percent of arable land in Guatemala (how they got it is another story) and it was threatened by this reform. In short, they convinced the USA government to have the CIA stage a coup d’etat, which spiralled into a civil war – the longest and bloodiest in Central American history. 100,000 Guatemalans would be “disappeared” during this war. United Fruit Company is now known as Chiquita Banana. This is the same company that had apparently urged the Colombian military to fire on its striking banana workers in 1928 – estimates of the casualties at the time range from 47 up to 2,000. (In case you were wondering where the term “Banana Republic ” came from…) Bananas or coffee? On one level this has nothing to do with coffee. However, in so many ways it has everything to do with coffee – with our relationship with those who produce the crops we import, with the attitude we’ve inherited towards trade with developing countries, and how our history has shaped our present. As a species we like to demonstrate a complete failure to learn the lessons of our history. I confess that I had been in coffee a surprisingly long time before I really dug into its history. It was revelatory, saddening and also inspiring. I’d like to do better, for us all to do better – and I am more driven to that end than I have ever been. World Atlas of Coffee 1 - Amazon UK – Amazon USA I hope to have a website up showing all resellers as soon as possible, if you’d like to shop with independents ↩︎ I hope to have a website up showing all resellers as soon as possible, if you’d like to shop with independents

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