Thanksgiving Coffee Company

We are an artisan coffee roaster in Northern California. We buy from small farms and cooperatives around the world and our family run company is committed to sustainability. Find out where to buy our coffee or visit our online store.



A Trip to Africa: Intro – I’m going to Africa

January 7th, 2014

Paul KatzeffBy Paul Katzeff, CEO & Co-Founder, Thanksgiving Coffee

On January 12, I depart my comfortable home on the North Coast of California to visit coffee Farmers and Cooperatives in Rwanda and Uganda. I haven’t visited them on their home turf for almost a decade. Over the last several years Ben Corey Moran, our former Director of Coffee, deepened our relationships with Cooperative leaders and farmers in Africa. It is my intention that this visit will strengthen those ties.

AfricaI’ll be traveling with Nicholas Hoskyns of Etico, an import/export company that has imported our Nicaraguan coffees for the past two years. In 2004 he accompanied me to Rwanda on a USAID consulting job to help The Cooperative Coffee Sector plan its “cupping lab” construction project for cooperatives. He has a vast knowledge of Cooperatives and their organizational structures.

The trip’s focus will be on collaboration: How can our relationship improve quality of life for both coffee farmers and coffee roasters? I believe that quality of life and quality of coffee go hand in hand. There has to be opportunity for a better life in all parts of the coffee trading chain, from the farm to the cup. It is the farmers’ love of their trees that makes good coffee great. Back here in Ft. Bragg , California, it is our pride in what we create for the coffee lover that makes great coffee remain great.

There are some sticky issues that need attention, which have made this trip necessary. Primarily, about crop financing, shipment dates, and creating a system of transparency that demystifies the transfer of money from Thanksgiving Coffee to the individual farmers.

I want to have a first person experience in discovery and learning. And I want to share this 10 day adventure with you. I use the word “adventure” with a certain amount of respect for its broad application. I am not “going on an adventure,” but I know it will be an adventure. What I wish for is the most uneventful yet spiritual adventure. No ceremonial high points and no high fives or WOW’S! I’m hoping for a low key visit with a slow easy gait, and a smile on my face when I return home.

To be continued…

-Paul

A Trip to Africa (series archive)
Intro – I’m going to Africa
Day 1 – Arriving in Uganda
Day 2 – Dancing, Mango Trees & the Dry Mill
Day 3 – On the Road
Day 4 – Transparency, Trust & Relationships
Day 5 – Coffee Quality & A New Mystery

4 Comments on “A Trip to Africa: Intro – I’m going to Africa”

  1. Ellen Franzen says:

    I just want to reinforce what you said in paragraph three, because quality of life, the living and working conditions of the people who provide what I consume, is extremely important to me. When I see something that is very inexpensive, I always wonder who suffered for that.

  2. Annie Lee says:

    Fabulous. Don’t know if you caught “Sweet Dreams” at the Mendo Film Festival. Made by Meryl’s friend Lisa Fruchtman, it documents the development of a women’s drum group that has brought together Rwandans from both sides of the conflict – developed into a coop and and ice cream shop, Nzozi Nziza (Sweet Dreams. If you have time, it shouldn’t be hard to find – pretty sure it’s the only ice cream in Rwanda. Safe travels and lots of love.

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