Filed under: Africa, Coop, Ethiopia, Fair Trade | Tags: Ethiopia, Ethiopian coffee, Fair Trade, Just Us!, Just Us! Coffee Roasting Co-op
[I have a couple issues with the title of this recent article, but I love Just Us! I enjoyed an Italian Roast at their Wolfville cafe last night while reading my favorite novel, Things As They Are; or, The Adventures of Caleb Williams by William Godwin. …Ian Hussey]
Deal with Ethiopian coffee co-op makes popular beans available to local roasters and helps growers in Africa
By KEVIN KELLOWAY and MARTHA WILSON, The Chronicle Herald
Sun. Jun 22, 2008 – 7:47 AM
IN CASE you haven’t heard yet, Ethiopian coffee is hot. The beans everyone is chasing now are Harar, Yirgacheffe and Sidamo, from renowned coffee-growing areas in Ethiopia — and demand is definitely outstripping supply.
So the folks at Just Us! Coffee Roasters were delighted last month when their co-operative became one of the first to sign a trademarking and licensing program with Ethiopian coffee farmers. The Oromia Coffee Farmers’ Co-operative delivered 18,144 kilograms of beans to Just Us! early in June.
“We’re proud to be one of the first coffee companies to sign on to this agreement, which will bring major and positive changes to the lives of the coffee growers,” Jeff Moore, CEO of Just Us!, said in a recent interview.
The agreement was signed last month at the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s annual conference, which the Grand Pre company always attends.
The conference, held this year in Minneapolis, offered coffee-roasting, brewing and espresso-tasting labs, along with discussions about sustainability and biodiversity. For Just Us!, the conference offers new ways to build on core strengths: a passion for quality and a dedication to social justice.
Just Us! got off the ground in 1995, when Moore headed to Mexico to see what he could figure out about importing, roasting and selling coffee — a business he knew absolutely nothing about. (His background was in social work.) But he had experience with running a non-profit organization, and he wanted to do something in the developing fair-trade movement.
Moore, unable to speak Spanish, went to Mexico without a translator. He dropped by the coffee shop of a coffee collective he had read about in a magazine article, and a customer was fortunately available to translate as he chatted with the person in charge.
Back in Nova Scotia, he told his wife, Debra, that he thought they had found a viable business. He was convinced there would be a market for organic coffee offered at a price that would give the growers a decent income.
But to move forward they would need to place a substantial initial order: a container load, or 37,500 pounds of green coffee beans. And they would have to borrow against their house to do it. The Moores decided to go for it. Their success has borne out the wisdom of that choice.
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