Importing for the Future
By David Planer, Director of Marketing and Education at Royal Coffee New York
We are all part of the future. I don’t mean that in the obvious way; I mean that every decision we make affects the way the future will play out. On a day-to-day basis, we make a million tiny decisions that probably have negligible long-term impact. However, some decisions we make as a society, over time, will change the way that our kids grow up, they will change the way the world operates, and they will determine our coffee-drinking future.
Sustainability is a popular word in the coffee world right now, but it’s important that it doesn’t go overlooked. Let’s look at a recent fact: at different points in the last year, we’ve seen both significant increases and significant drops in the coffee market.
A lot of this had to do with droughts and weather conditions at origin countries. And though these effects were not quantifiable at the time, that didn’t stop the news reports from inadvertently dictating the prices that coffee farmers got paid.
It’s easy to look at falling prices as a positive when you’re purchasing coffee, and it’s easy to look at rising prices as a positive when you’re producing coffee. But this type of volatility doesn’t bode well for anyone in the long term, which is why it’s important to build your crop and your business on more than just the relative market value of the product.
As importers, we view developing relationships as a key to promoting longevity. But what does that really look like? There’s a lot to unpack here—and I will do some of that at the New York Coffee Festival—but until then, let me just say this: it is of incredible importance that we look past the product to see the people behind it.