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Coffee Talk - September 2017

Year in Review

Program Awareness

  • Grounds for Empowerment launched a new website and social media platform. In our first year, we gained a loyal following base to our Twitter account and Facebook pages.
  • We piloted the Grounds for Empowerment Community Forum, which offered many great opportunities to spread awareness. We hosted events at nine different locations, engaged with over 300 people, and gained over 100 new subscribers to our monthly reader. We also led a Momentum Campaign, which raised $8,517 during and after the GFE Community Forum.
  • Daily Coffee News (DCN) featured us as one of their top origin-focused stories of 2016. The article talked about the launch of the program and our Community Forum. Nick Brown, Editor at Daily Coffee News, regularly writes on our specialty coffee work and events.
  • GFE launched our first wholesale account with Good Measure Meals (GMM), a local catering service that emphasizes healthy eating and responsibly sourced food. GFE and GMM hosted an official announcement event on Emory’s campus to promote both brands to the university community, and many of the attendees have followed up with their interest in our programs.

Program Developments

  • GFE hired its first dedicated staff member, Ben Shaum, and is ramping up with a second team member on the ground in Nicaragua, Giselle Barrera. Ben has previous experience working as a roaster and account manager for a roastery in Colorado Springs, CO. Giselle previously worked for Deloitte Consulting, has experience in supply chain and international development, and is originally from El Salvador.
  • The first GFE Community Forum was held in November 2016. The forum offered exposure and education opportunities for Ivania and Ramona, our first GFE farmers. The forum will be an annual event for GFE and we will use it as a platform for engaging with GFE farmers and the Atlanta coffee community. This next year, we will be looking for more ways to get more people engaged with GFE. This is the first of two trips that GFE will plan each year.
  • The first GFE Origin Trip is planned for the spring of 2018. To set the stage, Ben and Giselle hit the road and visited the two GFE farms, our friends at PRODECOOP, and our friend Byron Corrales at his Cooperative's dry mill. Along the way, they checked out hotels and restaurants and cupped coffees from the 2016/2017 harvest! Once logistics are finalized, we will let you know how you can book your spots on the 2018 GFE Origin Trip. Stay tuned!
  • We had a packed schedule (as usual) at the 2017 Coffee Expo in Seattle this past month. Ivania and Ramona had an opportunity to display their coffees during a public cupping session, where they also handed out samples from the recent harvest. The GFE team also met with key industry figures like Maria Botto (leader of El Salvador’s chapter of IWCA), Gilles Brenner (Al Grano), Nick Hoskins (Etico), and Fatima Lopez (PRODECOOP). Lastly, we had the chance to attend the International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA) annual breakfast. The Specialty Coffee Expo will be the second GFE trip that we plan each year.
  • For the rest of the current harvest, Radio Roasters will be roasting all of our coffees. Chip Grabow has been a supporter of the program since attending the Grounds for Empowerment Community Forum last fall, and we are happy to be a part of his excellent portfolio of work at Radio. We encourage all GFE supporters to stop by and thank the Radio Roasters team during their open shop hours from 10am-12pm on Saturdays!

GFE Sales Update

  • Ivania and Ramona both found the Expo to be an excellent learning experience where they could represent their communities. They found the lectures and cuppings to be perfect experiences for learning more about coffee and meeting important figures in the industry.
  • We have identified a third producer to join Ivania and Ramona. Alexa Marin from the Dipilto region of Nicaragua is a producer that we identified through PRODECOOP during our GFE Pilot Origin Trip in March. We will be offering Alexa’s coffee in our store very soon!
  • Thus far, we have sold approximately 70% of our Grounds for Empowerment inventory through eight months of sales. Our current sales period is scheduled to end at the end of August.

Long Term Goals

  • GFE is planning work with four growers throughout our 3-year program. Each grower will work with us for 3 years before she “graduates”. At this point, our goal is to have situated them to connect and sell their coffee to an expanded network of buyers in the US.
  • As we begin our second year, we intend to begin building out a capacity to facilitate green coffee sales for the women in our program.
  • We are looking at ways to support the efforts of GFE growers to share their knowledge and connections with other women in their communities. This is one of the initial reasons for why we chose women producers as the focal point for our program—because we believe that they are better positioned and willing to share their experiences with people in their immediate communities.
  • In the future our hope is to have a strong GFE alumni network that can share their knowledge and empower more farmers in their communities.