Ethiopia coffee

Ethiopia: The original coffee origin

Bruck Fikru of Volcafe describes the legacy of Ethiopian coffee and how new ideas are transforming traditional processes.

It took a while to connect with Bruck Fikru, General Manager of our sister company, Volcafe, in Ethiopia. Political turmoil in the country led to restrictions being placed on people’s internet and social media access. Bruck says this difficulty with communication is one of several challenges being overcome by Ethiopia’s enduring coffee industry. Read more

A day in the life of a coffee trader

Cofi-Com’s John Russell Storey explores what really goes on behind closed doors at one of the country’s largest coffee traders, and just how many coffees are actually consumed.

Cofi-Com’s Operations and Trading Manager Dariusz Lewandowski and I are between origin trips at the moment. We’re giving our passports a rest and wistfully reminiscing about the last plantations and the folks we saw and talked to. That being said, two weeks ago Dariusz snuck in a quick trip to Papua New Guinea. Read more

Protecting Australian coffee’s borders

Australian Subtropical Coffee Association’s Rebecca Zentveld on how to keep Australia’s coffee growing industry pest and disease free.

Thanks to Australia’s geographical isolation, it is the only coffee-producing nation in the world that is free of coffee leaf rust and the coffee berry borer pest.

It’s also thanks to Australia’s rust-resistant cultivars that Australian coffee growers enjoy the unique position of being able to grow naturally spray-free coffee in a cooler, subtropical climate. 

However, with such isolation comes a degree of vulnerability, and we are always at risk of introduced pests and diseases. 

Rebecca Zentveld is an Australian coffee specialist, Owner of Zentveld’s Coffee Roastery and Plantation, and President of the Australian Subtropical Coffee Association.

If coffee pests such as the berry borer or leaf rust were to arrive on our plantations, the Australian coffee growing industry could be wiped out. 

Farmers can only do so much to ensure that Australia’s coffee crops remain free of pests and disease. We also rely on the people visiting and working with international origins to be on the lookout, such as baristas and roasters, the ones who could accidentally introduce these pests to the country.

To avoid introducing pests and diseases to Australia, be aware of the following risks and rules. 

  • When returning from visiting origin plantations, you could inadvertently bring back coffee leaf rust spores on your clothes and shoes. Spores aren’t visible, but cling easily to clothing and textured material. The berry borer beetle can easily get caught up in folded clothing, or in a backpack or camera bag. Shake your clothes out thoroughly for any little critters.
  • Never bring home hessian or jute coffee bags from origin. Also avoid bringing back small samples of green bean. If you do bring back small samples, treat them like the biosecurity hazard that they are and keep them isolated. Leave hessian bags at your roastery, and above all else, do not place anywhere near a coffee tree — even if in a garden or a pot. Leaf rust spores can last for weeks on hessian bags, and become active under the right conditions. 
  • Only use green beans for roasting. Do not germinate green beans yourself, or contract a local nursery to do so. This is illegal because the biosecurity risk is immense. The biosecurity protocols for importing coffee for roasting do not cover the purposes of growing coffee, which is far more stringent. Australia’s legitimate, law abiding coffee importing companies know and strictly communicate that any green bean they sell is for the purposes of roasting, not growing.

Back on home soil, there are, however, a few simple steps you can take to ensure Australia’s coffee production remains fruitful.

  • At the roaster: Keep hessian bags separate from everything else and dispose of hessian bags responsibly. Thoughtfully repurposing for art or craft work is ideal.
  • When returning from origin: At international arrivals, do the right thing and declare your coffee farm visit to the quarantine officers and get your shoes sprayed by the biosecurity officer. It only takes a few minutes. Also, wash all clothes, boots, jackets, and bags soon after returning home. 
  • When visiting an Australian coffee plantation: Either soon after returning from origin or after being in your roastery, tell the plantation staff where you have been and be sure not to have the same bags, boots or clothes.

If we all take biosecurity seriously, we can help prevent any breakout or transference of the dreaded coffee pests and diseases, and Australia’s coffee growing industry can bloom without fearing the future. 


Trekking Tanzania

Cofi-Com’s John Russell Storey explores Tanzania’s countryside that reveals committed farmers, impressive coffees and a real life animal kingdom.  

Arriving in Tanzania was a world away from the bustling, crazy capital city experience of Kampala. Kilimanjaro Airport is bang in the middle of the countryside, with the nearest major town well over an hour’s drive away. 

Most arriving passengers are whisked away by tour operators heading off to big parks like Serengeti. For us, it was a short drive to a nearby lodge for an afternoon of R&R before driving almost two hours the next day through arid scrub and acacia trees to Burka and Mondul Estates.  Read more

Pedro Gabarra

Pedro Gabarra Teixeira’s good nature

Pedro Gabarra Teixeira is a sixth-generation Brazilian coffee farmer committed to protecting the natural habitats around his farms and educating the community on the importance of preservation.

Despite Pedro Gabarra Teixeira’s family having more than 150 years of coffee farming behind them, his first taste of the coffee industry came further down the supply chain.

“I am a sixth-generation coffee farmer, but I wasn’t actually raised on the farms. My relationship with coffee actually started in 2001, when I was at university and started to roast,” Pedro tells BeanScene.

“The idea behind the roaster was to give Brazil the best coffees of Brazil, not necessarily exporting everything good. That’s how I got into coffee.” Read more


Unlimited potential of Uganda

When people ask: “How was your origin trip?” I struggle to find the right words to capture everything and do the country justice. 

However, if I had to summarise Uganda in just one word, it would be “industriousness”. Kampala, the country’s capital and largest city, buzzes with insane motorcycle taxis that operate on adrenaline and blind luck. Main roads are lined on both sides by a myriad of small businesses selling everything from luscious fruits to massive bedsteads and intricate wooden coffins. In some areas it’s a contrast between sophisticated restaurants and people living in corrugated iron shacks tens of metres away. Outside the cities and towns, the pace is slower but it felt like everyone was doing something or going somewhere. Read more

Minas Hill Coffee

Minas Hill Coffee: Our farmers, our heroes

Minas Hill Coffee Founder Marcelo Brussi says his admiration for coffee farmers comes from his relationship with his grandfather, Francisco Brussi, who grew up working on coffee farms. 

Francisco’s parents migrated from Italy to Brazil to work in coffee farms before he was born. After his father left the family when Francisco was 10, he, his mother and brother, moved to Sao Paulo. When Francisco was an adult, the State Department of Agriculture hired him to monitor coffee exports, due to his knowledge as a coffee picker and worker. Read more

Gabriel Oliveira

Gabriel Oliveira of Bom Jesus shares his gift

Every producer thinks their farm is special, but in Gabriel Oliveira’s opinion, owning Bom Jesus is a matter of luck and merit. 

Located at Alta Mogiana biome in Brazil, Bom Jesus is a picture perfect postcard of lush terrain, symmetrical rows of coffee trees, and natural vegetation. 

As a child, Gabriel recalls playing among the drying coffee on his grandparent’s farm. He grew up with first-hand appreciation that coffee production was arduous, detailed, and extremely passionate work, but it was work that fascinated him. Read more

Fairtrade Papua New Guinea

Fairtrade: More than a label

To Will Valverde, Fairtrade is not just about certification. It is a comprehensive system that helps coffee-producing communities build their knowledge, skills, and production capacity.

“The consumer will buy a product because they want to help the farmers. But at the same time, they want to have a good quality product they can buy all the time,” Will says.

“As part of our commitment to the industry, we are working closely with producer organisations to ensure that they can bring the best quality green beans possible to their buyer.” Read more


Cofi-Com on the ground

Over more than 30 years importing coffee to Australia from around the world, Cofi-Com has developed strong ties with its Volcafe sister companies that operate in most growing origins. 

These relationships give Cofi-Com an in-depth knowledge of the requirements and capabilities of farmers in these areas. It is this on-the-ground presence that gives the trader the ability to provide a range of coffees, from commercial blends to high-end speciality, to its roasting customers. Read more

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