Nepal needs help marketing coffee internationally. INGOs to the rescue!
Helvetas are advertising a job for a SENIOR PROGRAMME OFFICER (BUSINESS & MARKETING)
Perhaps it would be better if they hired a quality officer, perhaps an Ecuadorian or Colombian or Kenyan expert who knows the secrets of making good beans. And most of the secrets are not secrets. There are many steps in coffee processing and many steps for the quality to be degraded.
Coffee is something that goes in people’s cake-holes and that means quality is everything. From looking at many of the products created in fair trade, pro-poor, community-based projects, the quality often leaves much to be desired: wonky candles, honey with ants in, good doses of mould in the dried ginger, caustic soap and so on. And with coffee too: picked to early, mishandled, over roasted – all opportunity lost. I hope the new Senior programme officer is rabidly quality focused.
And what about the home market? Why can’t someone spend a week training the various shabby baristas around Kathmandu to make the stuff properly and consistently properly. Have any of these guys ever event drunk a really good coffee I wonder.
What about a coffee festival with some freshly roasted beans from all over the world. Get baristas cupping or at least drinking the results of coffee prepared properly. Get the different brands of coffee produced here tested in a public forum. This has not yet happened here before. And why not do the same for the coffee drinking public – brew up some good coffee and educate them before they go down the Starbucks route of accepting any bucket of sugary-milk. How about inviting a coffee connoisseur here to go around the cafés and see who is making good coffee and who is making awful coffee, and them publish the results widely.
I remember the best coffee I ever had, siting on a small terrace in Paris on a Monday morning. No actually it was in Holland, with the guy who had the portable hand press, I forgot his name, but I remember he was stationed in a car park as his little trolley was too wide to get through the door of the building he should have been in. Or was it that café in Switzerland…
Everyone should have their own ‘perfect cup’ moment. In raising the level of expectation of people here, perhaps there will be some immediate feedback to producers regarding what is good and what is not. Why should all the good coffee go abroad if a market can be created here? In creating a buzz about Nepali coffee in Kathmandu, perhaps the world will begin to pay a little more attention to Nepal.
Oh, Helvetas, http://www.teacoffee.gov.np/‘s website is down for days now. Why can’t someone create a website which is just about Nepali coffee which is buyer / trader / drinker focused, which provides all the information they could want about coffee in Nepal?
Is this view ill-informed? I welcome your opinion below.