A large part of the coffee industry has developed around customs that still define it today and that have greatly contributed to environmental degradation, to the devaluation of agriculture as food production and to the debasement of the human being in his agricultural role and in the role of consumer.
In short, as it is now becoming clear to all, an economy based only on maximum profit regardless of quality and low prices can only be based on maximum exploitation from the beginning to the end of the chain, leaving people in their sole function of consumer, so that the wheel can keep on turning and the system be held together.
Climate change, accompanied by strong, sudden and dramatic migrations, has only highlighted the difficult conditions of a large part of the population that sees coffee as their means of subsistence.
Coffee, like other agricultural products, is one of the commodities, that is traded on the stock exchange and whose value is therefore determined not by different quality characteristics, not by the demand and offer of particular characteristics, but by financial speculations resulting from future contracts which define the market.
Coffee, therefore, is the commodity par excellence and it is so at the planetary level, since, after oil, it is the most traded commodity.
The changes, the innovation, the virtuous choices that we manage to implement in the coffee industry, also and above all as users, can therefore be exemplary and replicable to test new metrics in agriculture and the global economy.
The importance of all actors in the supply chain, including consumers
The associations and movements that have been seeking change in the coffee industry for more than thirty years now, call for the participation of all players in order to change the rules and for everyone to become aware of how their own behavior and individual choices are crucial in this process of global improvement.
All links in the production chain are called upon to transform their approach to work from industrial to artisan, from consumer to user, from a passive to an active role.
I speak of an artisanal approach, highlighting the innovative aspects that can arise from a culture of contemporary craftsmanship, based on awareness of one’s role and choices, on the ability to experiment and give new answers to questions, on education in the method and on the sharing of information.
Contemporary craftsmanship is able to give value to the work and to obtain a product that encompasses a new idea of quality.
Contemporary craftsmanship is able to give value to the work and obtain a product that contains within itself a new idea of quality, which does not reflect the convenience of a standardized market, but contributes to an education of taste and to the diversity and uniqueness of food.
Promoting biodiversity and good agricultural practices means qualitative growth and not always necessarily quantitative, however the artisan approach is desirable and achievable even on a large scale.
The role of the artisan in the world of coffee can stimulate reflection in large-scale industry on its social role.
This has been demonstrated by the new generations of artisan coffee roasters who have restored the fundamental importance of the roasting process in defining the aromatic and sensorial profile.
This has been demonstrated by the new generations of artisan baristas who have restored dignity to a profession by filling it with content, taking care of their own training and deepening their knowledge of the origins, varieties and processes that influence the extraction of an espresso or other method of extraction. Above all, they have taken on the role of disseminators to spread the knowledge of coffee culture.
This has been demonstrated by all the sectors that, from importation to the construction of equipment, have begun to think ‘artisan’, replacing the assembly line with craftsmen capable of giving value to their work and knowing their material from start to finish.
by Erminia Nodari, founder of the Critical Coffee roasting company and member of the Advisory Board of the Slow Food Coffee Coalition.