With everything happening in the world today, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and totally at a loss of what to do. As the crisis gripping Colombia escalates, we feel a need to share. We’re far from expert authorities, but as roasters with an audience of fellow coffee lovers, we want to, at the very least, share how we’re engaging with the situation and encourage you to do the same.
The current crisis in Colombia is multi-faceted and complex. The recent explosion of civil unrest, police brutality, and cries for change are not one-off incidents — they echo a long history of turmoil. Again, we aren’t experts on the many issues at play. We do, however, want to point you in the direction of some voices and platforms that are tackling the situation in-depth.
Corruption, exploitation, and violence in Colombia aren’t new and aren’t unique to Colombia — they’re endemic to most coffee-producing countries. As coffee consumers, we have a responsibility to recognize and engage with the systemic issues that lie at the roots of the ills we’re currently witnessing in Colombia. After all, coffee is the 2nd most widely traded commodity in the world and is the livelihood for millions of families who want nothing more than a fair shake at a good life. Knowing how to engage productively though, can feel impossible. It doesn’t have to be, and here’s how you can start:
Be smart with where you buy your coffee. Ask your roaster, cafe, or grocery store about how the coffee you’re buying was purchased from farmers. Ask and explore how the roasting company is using their profits. Remember that cheap coffee is almost always exploitative coffee that cripples farmers’ ability to provide for their families, roasters’ efforts to change the industry for the better, and ultimately your opportunity to enjoy truly beautiful coffee.
On our end, we’ll continue communicating with and supporting friends in Colombia as they navigate this crisis and battle the deeper issues from which it is born. On a larger scale, we’ll continue refining our purchasing model by seeking transparency and being transparent in turn. We’ll keep learning about how we can contribute to change in our industry, doing our best to be our best, and encouraging others to do the same. Thanks for listening!