The LCDC program and topics is an interesting work in progress. This is a list of the topics that will be presented during the course of the event – as we know them now. We are further curating the program and fine-tuning the topics so that they are interesting individually, as well as are working together to make for a greater understanding. In this way, we hope to fire up lots of great discussions with the audience.

Oliver Strand from New York Times will help facilitate the discussions throughout the event.



Paul Songer:

A major concern for coffee in the future: diseases or conditions that will make it difficult for coffee to be cultivated – climate change, fungus, and insect damage

Rwanda Antestia-Potato Taste Research Group: Where is the isopropyl methoxypyrazine (IMP) in green coffee affected by potato taste?

Journal of Applied and Environmental Microbiology (1985): Pyrazines Responsible for the Potatolike Odor Produced by Some Serratia and Cedecea Strains

Agricultural Research for Development (CIRAD) (2013): Up-to-Date Knowledge on the “Potato Taste” of the Arabica Coffee Coming from Africa Great Lakes Region

SCAA Chronicle (2014): Risk, Responsibility, and Potatoes? A Rwandan Coffee Story



Heleanna Georgalis:

Current Trade of Ethiopian Coffee, weaknesses on Traceability and Quality & profiles of Ethiopian coffees

Ethiopian Development Research Institute/International Food Policy Research Institute: Structure and performance of Ethiopia’s Coffee Export Sector, Working Paper 66 

Bloomberg (August 2014): Ethiopia Coffee Export Earnings May Rise 25% on World Supply



Lauren Rosenberg:

The power of thinking small and not being limited by small. Opportunities for innovation in Burundi’s coffee hills

Coffee is the second largest commodity traded after oil and consumed regularly by more than 40% of the world’s population. It is simplistic to treat coffee simply as a commodity and focus exclusively on the opportunities it creates for trade. Coffee is, and has always been, first and foremost about people. Coffee buyers and researchers around the world who live at origin (where coffee is produced) continually draw attention to this reality that there are now clear correlations between coffee quality and investments into improving the livelihood opportunities and knowledge sets of those who produce it.

In Burundi, a nation wide network of hills constitutes coffee production. Each hill holds a rural community of about 60 to 140 families who own very small plots of land scattered across the hill. In stark contrast to large family owned coffee estates in other coffee producing regions, Burundi’s coffee farmers split their time, effort and money across small plantations of different crops that include beans, sorghum, tea, maize, cassava and sweet potato to name a few. The specialty coffee market is creating a platform for development to occur as its form emphasises seeing the supply chain from both ends – market solutions crafted in a manner that is sensitive to the development needs at origin. Whilst structured sustainability programmes like Fair Trade only see the chain from the perspective of the producer (resulting in oversupply and limited opportunities for stimulating consumer demand), the sustainability of the specialty coffee sector rests on shared value. With quality as the central deciding factor of trade, farmers’ problems soon become buyers’ problems.

Read More:

Michigan State University: Special Report, Burundi Coffee

DAI: Boosting Burundi Farming: Burundian Farmers Earn Quality Premiums for Specialty Coffee

Reuters Africa (April 2014): Burundi’s Coffee Earnings Dive on Poor Harvest

Bloomberg (May 2014): Burundi Coffee Production Falls 52% in Lower-Yield Cycle



Oliver Strand:

Current coffee/political situation in the Nyeri region of Kenya

Over the past few years, Oliver has been researching and writing a book about coffee and one of the chapters focuses on Kenya as an origin country. It is material and observations from this research that Oliver will present during LCDC.

In January 2013, Oliver travelled to Kenya with questions about how coffee is traded: specifically, what are the advantages to buying microlots of high-quality coffee? He wanted to learn more about how roasters perceive travelling to origin in order to find and buy these coffees. Does this kind of travel provide a competitive edge? Is it done because it’s cool? Why do this?

Over the course of the week that Oliver spent in the Nyeri region – infamous for producing many of the most famous and top quality Kenyan lots – he travelled with and interviewed a well-known roaster/buyer, visited an excellent dry mill, and met with a well-known and very professional specialty exporter in Nairobi. Since this trip, Oliver has had to put his writing about Nyeri coffee on hold due to the many changes and upheavals the current and volatile political situation has caused for the coffee sector in the region.

While the Nyeri chapter was originally meant to be a case study on how a transparent coffee market functions, it has now become a study on how politics can completely transform how coffee is traded from one season to another. Rather than talking about stability in a coffee market, Oliver will open a discussion on a market in transition.

Read more:

Daily Coffee News (2015): Armed Thieves Steal Top Grade Coffee from Mill in Nyeri, Kenya

All Africa (January 2014): Kenya: Officials Threaten to Close Nyeri Coffee Mill

Standard Digital (January 2014): Coffee Farmers take County Government to Court

Commercial Coffee Millers and Marketing Agents Association: Press Release (January 2014): Farmers to Lose Billions Following Governors Disruption of Coffee Marketing



Philippe Lashermes:

Coffee genome research

Science Magazine (September 2014): Coffee Genome Provides Insight into the convergent evolution of caffeine biosynthesis

University at Buffalo, News Center (September 2014): Coffee Genome Sheds Light on the Evolution of Caffeine



 Carlos Arévalo:

New wave of experimental processing techniques in Colombia

Carlos works as the Project Director for La Palma y El Tucan Coffee Growers in Colombia. He has been assisting and consulting the specialty coffee supply chain since 2004, focusing in the technical training of farmers to produce, assure the quality and market their differentiated coffees. He is an experienced coffee taster and holds a Q grader certification since 2008.

This presentation presents and discusses the debate about whether the coffee rust resistant hybrids (catimors) can or cannot express high cup quality. Reviewing the scientific reasons behind its bad reputation, the social aspects of its massive propagation trough the Latin American coffee landscape and most important the impact of this botanical variety in cup quality, contrasting it with other factors such as “terroir” and processing. The presentation includes a tasting of Colombian Castillos all of them scoring above 85 points.



Miguel Moreno and Benjamin Paz:

Direct Trade from Honduras Past, present and future

Introduction to Santa Barbara and the Moreno Family (September 2012)

Miguel Moreno profile (September 2012)