Growing Coffee Sustainably in Finland

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Climate change changes everything and coffee is no exception. Traditional growing locales are suffering from unpredictable weather and more incidences of extreme weather making it difficult for the coffee plants to survive. A Finnish company has been researching how to grow coffee in a a lab so that coffee plants and their delicious beans can continue despite the pressures of climate change. They are using sustainable energy to grow and cultivate coffee so perhaps your next cup of coffee will come from a lab in Finland.

The work was started by initiating coffee cell cultures, establishing respective cell lines in the laboratory and transferring them to bioreactors to begin producing biomass. After analyses of the biomass, a roasting process was developed, and the new coffee was finally evaluated by VTT’s trained sensory panel.

The whole procedure required input from several disciplines and experts in the fields of plant biotechnology, chemistry, and food science.
“In terms of smell and taste, our trained sensory panel and analytical examination found the profile of the brew to bear similarity to ordinary coffee. However, coffee making is an art and involves iterative optimization under the supervision of specialists with dedicated equipment. Our work marks the basis for such work,” says Rischer.

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Roasting Coffee by the Rays of the Sun

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In Italy your next cup of coffee may come from a solar roaster instead of an unsustainable source. Climate change is threatening the ability of coffee plants to survive, as a result the entire industry may not exist by the end of the century. This has got smaller players in the industry (not the mega corporations) to explore new ways to process coffee from plant to cup.

A roasters the size of a tennis court can roast coffee using only the rays of the sun, making it incredibly efficient. The only high tech aspect of the whole operation are a few microchips and servos to move the mirrors

The process isn’t only environmentally friendly and economically convenient. According to Durbe and Tummei, it also better preserves the coffee’s aroma, giving it a richer flavor. Unlike conventional hot air ovens, which are typically gas-powered, the concentrated sunlight roasts the coffee without heating the air around it — by penetrating the grains in a more uniform way and without burning the exterior.

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Good Coffee for Good Causes

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A coffee chain in Cambodia is more than just another place to get an espresso. Feel Good Coffee is a social enterprise that runs cafes and sells coffee wholesale to improve the lives of the average Cambodian. One of the really neat things they do is train their staff to basically get jobs elsewhere, the company gets better trained employees while those employees are free to apply elsewhere with increased skills like management or customer service. Employees are paid a living wage for serving good coffee and pastries, if you’re in Cambodia you should pay them a visit.

In our business, empowerment means giving people meaningful options an the power to transform their choices into actions and desired outcomes.
For our farmer-suppliers, this means theyset the price for their own coffee, using their knowledge to grow and process their coffee without interference, we respect their autonomy and treat them as equal partners in our business, and help them to access tools and training about new processes and technologies that can make their farms more sustainable and profitable.

For our employees, it means sharing information, rewards, and power with our entire staff so that they can take initiative and make decisions, solve problems, and improve performance and service, and direct their own career path.

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Birch Bark Coffee Provides Drinkable Water

Coffee production takes a lot of water and produces a wonderful bean filtered drink at the end. In Canada many aboriginal communities are suffering from a lack of potable water let alone good coffee. The plight of these communities enrages Canadians since one of the wealthiest nations in the world can’t even provide drinkable water for its citizens. Mark Marsolais-Nahwegahbow saw the hardships faced in these communities and decide to do something: make coffee that will fund sustainable healthy potable water.

In March, Marsolais-Nahwegahbow, a member of the Whitefish River First Nation, launched the Birch Bark Coffee Company, an Ottawa-based coffee roastery that produces fair trade, certified-organic coffee.

More than just a coffee company, Birch Bark is a social enterprise: $2.50 from the sale of every pound of coffee will go into a trust to purchase water purifiers for every home in an Indigenous community in Ontario that’s experiencing water issues.

“I really can’t fix the bigger problem of the water plant, but I can definitely bring clean water into a home instantly,” Marsolais-Nahwegahbow said. “And when I’m done Ontario, I’m moving my way across Canada to work on every province.”

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Get Your Fika On

Coffee breaks in North America tend to be more about coffee than a break. In Scandinavia they focus on the break. In fact, they even have a special word for it: fika. They also add baked goods to the mix.

The reason the fika concept is important is that Sweden has the happiest workers around the world. There is no doubt that their fika practice contributes to their happiness at the workplace. So for a good day at work take breaks.

“It is the moment that you take a break, often with a cup of coffee, but alternatively with tea, and find a baked good to pair with it.” explains Anna Brones who co-wrote the book Fika: The Art of The Swedish Coffee Break (2015). “In our own [US] culture, where coffee has come to be more about grabbing a 16-ounce-grande-whatever, in a paper cup to go, coffee is more about fueling up and going fast. In Sweden, coffee is something to look forward to, a moment where everything else stops and you savor the moment,” she writes on Apartment Therapy. “In today’s modern world we crave a little bit of that; we want an excuse to slow down.”

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