Peace Spokes - Peace Coffee

  1| Making a Difference

  2| IATP Update

  3| Coffee on a Stick

  4| Crafty Corner

  5| Roaster's Corner

  6| Quote of the Month

As the Peace Coffee crews moves (grudgingly) from summer to fall, we reflect on our work here and what it means to our individual lives and to the bigger picture. In this month's issue of Peace Spokes, our Project Manager Anna Canning explores the meaning of Fair Trade -- both to Peace Coffee and to the farmer cooperatives with which we work. We also hear from new Peace Spokes columnist Andrew Ranallo, who shines a light on the good work being done by our parent organization, IATP. We also look back on a hectic but very satisfying twelve days at the Minnesota State Fair. That plus a new Crafty Corner and Roaster's Corner make for a good issue -- grab your favorite Peace Coffee, sit back and read on.

Oh, and a note from our Roaster Extraordinare Keith -- if you haven’t tried our limited edition Ugandan Peaberry yet, you still can. Due to popular demand, we added more of it to our supply.

by Anna Canning, Peace Coffee Project Manager

The wind is getting colder even if the tomatoes are still on the vine, and just around the corner is October which is both Fair Trade & Co-op month. The phrase "Fair Trade coffee" has become ubiquitous in some circles, especially among co-op shoppers, but in the spirit of Fair Trade month, we ask, "what’s at the bottom of that cup?" What does it mean to say that those beans got there "fairly" and from "small farmer cooperatives?"

The answer to that question is two-fold: first, there are the basic Fair Trade standards. Those are the elements of making the coffee trade just a little bit more fair for the little guys, farmers who, in the behemoth global commodity trade, get the short end of the stick time after time. For coffee, that means that a minimum price is paid to democratically-organized farmer coops for each pound of coffee regardless of where the commodity market roller coaster is at. If it's riding high (as it has been lately), all coffee prices are up and the Fair Trade price provides a premium above that market price. When the market is low, farmers still have the assurance that they can at least get that minimum price from their Fair Trade buyers.

Read on...

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Newsletter Special - 15% off your entire order.

by Andrew Ranallo, Communications Assistant, IATP

I've been drinking Peace Coffee for most of my coffee-loving days but it wasn't until I joined the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy this summer that I realized the connection between my favorite coffee company and IATP  -- a nonprofit organization with a 20-year history of supporting Fair Trade. Some of IATP's work, like launching Peace Coffee in the mid-90s, is well-known. Other areas are less visible, but are all part of IATP's ongoing mission of forwarding fair, healthy and sustainable food, farm and trade systems.

In this column, I hope to share some of IATP's work that Peace Coffee lovers (like me)  -- as supporters of Fair Trade -- may find exciting, while at the same time serving as an outlet for the more personal aspects of IATP that often go unnoticed. For example, have you seen the pictures of our staff garden this year? Or made it out to one of our Mini Farmers Markets? While the garden crew and farmers markets are winding down for the approaching winter, things at IATP are really starting to pick up.

Our Food and Society Fellows program recently held a reception in Washington, DC, to discuss their fresh ideas for policy innovation like reducing health care costs by providing more access to healthy foods for school children. They had the opportunity to tour the White House organic garden and meet with Kathleen Merrigan, the current deputy agriculture secretary. See pictures on our Facebook page.

For now, I’m just excited to represent IATP in Peace Spokes and until next time, you can keep up with the latest from IATP on our blog, Facebook or Twitter.

Andrew Ranallo is the Communications Assistant at IATP. He is a little bit scared of winter coming.

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Peace Coffee & the MN Oxfam Action Corp had an action-packed 12 days at the MN State Fair. As you know, especially if you follow our Twitter, we LOVE the fair. Everything from the crop art, bee beards, baby farm animals & anything on a stick brings us great joy & incites our MN pride!

Cheers to everyone who stopped by our booth to try our pedal powered coffee grinder and sample our delicious Guatemalan Dark Roast coffee. We enjoyed seeing lots of new faces and familiar faces from last year. Together you helped us to grind 400 pounds of coffee with pedal power alone which we brewed into over 30,000 coffee samples.

The Oxfam Action Corp was thrilled to collect more than 500 signatures for their petition calling on Congress to pass climate change legislation that reduces carbon emissions and funds adaptation projects that will help vulnerable communities, many in countries where Peace Coffee farmers call home, cope with the effects of climate change.

Lastly, congratulations to Sarah Elhardt of St. Paul, MN, who won the raffle for an educational trip to visit one of the coffee farmer cooperatives from which we purchase beans. We are excited to have her join us on our next trek to Nicaragua or the Dominican Republic in February of 2010.

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This month Sue, our crafter extraordinaire, is joined by "craftswoman" & Minneapolis College of Art Design student, Ella S.! They both created wallets using our different size coffee packaging. Sue created a simple checkbook & coin holder by folding the one-pound bag into itself, sewing the edges and adding velcro to strap in all down. It is very easy to do and so practical! Try making one yourself.

Ella's design is more complicated. She used 2 of our 12 oz bags (these are only available in local grocery chains) to make a very fancy billfold complete with ID & credit card holders. She created this product during her summer break from school. She made one for each of the Peace Coffee crew. We don't have a design template for this wallet, but we're sure Ella would be happy to swap ideas with other "craftswomen!" Check out her website at:

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Get your holiday shopping started early with the Yeti Cold Press Bundle. Buy it or anything else on our website and get 15% off your entire order (before shipping charges are added). You can also buy the pint glasses separately. To get your discount, enter YETIBEER in the Promo Box at checkout. Offer ends October 23rd.

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Biking, Dining & Cupping in Montreal

I recently had the pleasure of spending a few days in Montreal, Canada, as part of my work with our importing cooperative. I was there for a Green Committee Retreat. The Cooperative Coffees Canada, or Coop Sol, office recently moved from the living room of our Producer Relations Manager, Monika Firl, to a large space shared with two other Fair Trade organizations, all on the fifth floor of what used to be a Cadbury’s chocolate plant.

Montreal was enchanting. Small stores of all kinds populated every corner. Each morning we walked to Monika's local bakery, Le Fromentier, and purchased fresh baked sweet breads for breakfast. Truth be told I could have lived eating out of that store alone, with its pizzas, extensive cheese selection, breads, sandwich meats, and yogurt. But, then that would have meant be missing out on Sushi/Laundry night, a building that houses both a Laundromat and the single best sushi restaurant, Tri Express, all within about 800 square feet.  Also I would have missed out the tasty chocolates from Maison de Cakoa just across the street. Everyone either walked or biked, and their bike infrastructure is just about a year ahead of ours. They recently starting a bike sharing program called BIXI, which has been very successful and have been employing many of the bike lane, bike boulevard, and separated on-street bike lanes that we are currently experimenting with. (Minneapolis is getting our own version of this bike share program in March of 2010. Check out for more info!)

Part of the move into a larger office space was the end goal of setting up our own SCAA certified cupping lab in Montreal. When completed, with the assistance of Mane Alves of Coffee Lab International, the cupping lab will be the very first SCAA certified lab in Canada!  The first night there, shortly after getting to participate in the aforementioned sushi/laundry night, I was helping to hand screw the new table top on to stands that would make it a regulation height cupping table. The next morning by the time the rest of the Cooperative Coffees people arrived, there were nine people in total representing seven different organizations. As we always do when getting together, we spent time cupping coffee, improving our cupping and sensory skills and trying to all get on the same page about what qualities we are looking for in the coffee that we are importing from various Farming Cooperatives, or Unions.

A lot of the weekend was spent with the nine of us sitting around a table talking about policy all as a prelude to the Annual General Meeting taking place in Austin this coming weekend. Part of the weekend was spent, in what must have been the most stressful interview process ever conducted, meeting with a gentleman who owns an espresso bar in Montreal, to determine if he will be hired on as the head quality control and import sample grader for the new cupping lab. And, as always, I left with a ton of new ideas about how to continue to push myself and Peace Coffee to be even better at what we do.

Next stop -- Oaxaca, Mexico for a roasting demonstration and lecture to help advice for and assist with domestic roasting projects in Mexico. Then on to Austin, Texas, for more Cooperative Coffees meetings, and lastly off to a much looked forward to vacation, culminating in the Austin City Limits Music Festival.


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"Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all." 

~ Stanley Horowitz

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Peace Spokes is a monthly publication from the crew at Peace Coffee.
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