Sustainable Harvest to discuss topical challenges at Let’s Talk Coffee 2023

Let’s Talk Coffee 2023

Sustainable Harvest’s Let’s Talk Coffee event is coming to Honduras in 2023, uniting the coffee supply chain to discuss topical challenges and foster transparent relationships.

For the past 19 years, coffee importer Sustainable Harvest has hosted Let’s Talk Coffee, an annual supply chain gathering that brings together roasters, growers, and other stakeholders in the coffee supply chain for three days of sharing knowledge.

Founder and CEO of Sustainable Harvest David Griswold says the event, returning 20 to 25 February 2023, is a living example of the benefits of its Relationship Coffee model, a system that focuses on creating transparent relationships that increase value throughout the supply chain.

“Let’s Talk Coffee is an important opportunity for industry leaders, buyers, and sellers to meet face-to-face with their suppliers and really understand each other and what their needs are,” says Griswold.

“Attendees can also be inspired by great speakers who can discuss the most pressing and important issues. Nothing is off the table in terms of topics, whether it’s child labour, deforestation, or exorbitant shipping prices. We want to create an open atmosphere of transparency and trust, because we believe that’s what builds great relationships.”

Griswold says Let’s Talk Coffee is very inclusive of producers, which is what makes the event so important.

“Seventy per cent of the people in the room are often producers, and what that does is that it levels the playing field, which I don’t think producers experience at most of the events they attend,” Griswold says.

Griswold adds that for relationships to form between each link in the supply chain, partners need to continuously meet each year to build trust and shared experience.

“When I began my coffee career in the early 90s, the relationship coffee model was not the norm of how coffee was bought and sold, it was much more of a physical transacted commodity based on physical characteristics and not people. But at the core, there’s a farmer behind the coffees that you buy, and that farmer should know who you are,” he says.

“Sustainable Harvest guarantees that every roaster or consumer knows their grower, and every grower knows their consumer. Let’s Talk Coffee is a grand celebration of just that. That’s the world of commerce I want to live in.”

Edgar Carillo, a coffee producer from Honduras, says Let’s Talk Coffee allows producers to discover new and cutting-edge agricultural techniques.

“It has been important for us because [industry leaders] teach us how to improve our coffee farming methods. The producers learn very fast, and they work according to what the market is asking for, and that means in the long run better income and opportunities for all,” Edgar says.

He says the conference provides hands-on activities, allowing all participants to contribute to the conversation and in turn, build lasting personal and professional relationships.

“The communication with Sustainable Harvest is very fluid, and producers can communicate very easily with their roasters, send photos, tell them how they have done well this year, tell them, ‘my children are studying thanks to the work we are doing together.’ It’s a very transparent relationship where we can know everything that happens with our coffee,” Edgar says.

“We look at a producer, their life situation, how they did last year, and we look at it this year, and it has improved. That is the most beautiful thing we can find in this direct relationship.”

The 2023 conference will take place at the Marina Copán Convention Center in Copán Ruinas, Honduras. Griswold says Honduras was chosen as the location because it’s an origin that’s “still to be discovered” for many specialty coffee roasters.

“We are partnering with Honduras’ National Coffee Institute (IHCAFE) to make this event a window to Honduras top coffee producing regions and provide an immersive experience for participants through tastings and education,” Griswold says.

“I visited Honduras as my first trip after the pandemic, and just seeing what’s happening with new processing methods is creating some exciting opportunities. It’s got tremendous potential, and it just seemed like the perfect place to bring the coffee world if we could.

“I love seeing the connections of people and communities, that’s what I’m most excited for. Our goal is to make sure every new attendee feels like they’ve just stepped into something that they should’ve been at all along.”

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This article was first published in the September/October 2022 edition of Global Coffee Report. Read more HERE.

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