Happy new year, friends! We’re headed into 2020 brimming with optimism and hugely excited for so many developments already in the works. But it feels worth noting that 2019 was a monster of a year—packed with change and good, earnest efforts, big and small. So, before we launch ahead, we’re taking stock of 2019, feeling grateful and sharing this quick review: Our year in numbers:
1 new headquarters
After 30-plus years in Houston, this summer we moved our headquarters to Hoboken, N.J., into the new Neumann Gruppe North America headquarters. It’s a brand-new space overlooking the length of the Hudson River and housing a bespoke cupping room and quality-control lab that was recently certified as an SCA Premier Training Campus (more details on that coming soon).
Importantly, the Neumann Gruppe headquarters is also the new home of Rothfos Corporation, a sister import company in the Neumann Kaffee Gruppe. While we’re separate companies, working literally more closely has created opportunities to better understand and learn from each other’s strengths—in addition to gaining efficiencies by streamlining backend departments like IT and human resources. In both regards, the change has made us even better, more informed and more competitive partners for our customers, and we’re thankful for it.
That’s the growth we saw in our certified Organic coffee sales in 2019—in addition to 76 percent growth in Rainforest Alliance–certified coffees. That tells us so much about what our customers are focused on and caring about.
In February, once our Houston team settled into their their new office, they kicked off the new InterAmerican Coffee tradition of Taco Tuesday: An open-door one-hour cupping, followed by breakfast tacos. It’s a fantastic event—the first Tuesday of every month—that everyone in the coffee community is welcome to. San Diego and Providence also joined in the fun—and San Diego even took Taco Tuesdays on the road. But Houston kept the momentum going all year, drew serious crowds and even dreamed up Tacoberfest! With growing orders to a local shop, the Houston team ordered, served and definitely helped to consume 578 tacos in 2019.
That’s our charitable donation tally for 2019. It includes gifts to World Coffee Research, via its Checkoff Program, which lets roasters donate a per-pound amount for each purchase that importers can match (if you’re an InterAmerican customer and would like to sign up, say the word!), as well as the Coffee Quality Institute’s Partnership for Gender Equity.
We’ve also been excited cheerleaders of Coffee Kids—a program of the nonprofit Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung. With thanks to the 37 roasters who purchased Honduras Coffee Kids UNIOCAFE this year, we donated $20,000 to Coffee Kids—in addition to the $7,656.81 in premiums we paid to the producers—to help the program expand into Huehuetenango, Guatemala.
That’s how many origins we purchased and imported green coffee from in 2019. Don’t see what you’re looking for on our offering list? Please get in touch!
This year, we were actively involved in creating or furthering at least six coffees that come from projects involving extensive strategies, care and attention by agronomists, export teams and producers.
Guatemala Maya Ixil Avelina FTO benefits from work with Food 4 Farmers, which helped the community embrace beekeeping as a complement to, and enhancement of, its coffee income—and we’re very proud to donate the annual salary of the lead beekeeper (as well as, of course, to purchase this coffee). Honduras Guara Verde and La Campa Reserva come to us thanks to intensive, on-going efforts by our colleagues at Becamo. And with our colleagues at Stockler, we’ve helped to nurture the Forca Café Championship and the smallholder producers who participate.
Producers of Guatemala HRNS San José Poaquil and Honduras Coffee Kids UNIOCAFE have worked closely with agronomists and entrepreneurial experts funded by the Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung foundation—and the results of these efforts were particularly apparent last year. The 2019 crop of Honduras Coffee Kids UNIOCAFE was outstanding—a truly impressive (and delicious) leap forward in quality over previous years, by a handful of young, up-and-coming producers. Plus, Coffee Kids announced that, with three youth group and farmer associations in place, along with revolving funds for microloans and on-the-ground readiness to train and nurture the next groups of young people, it was happily wrapping up its program in Colombia to continue its work in new locations.
In short, when you purchase these coffees, you get so much more than coffee: You encourage efforts that are empowering producers to improve their businesses, communities and quality of life across generations.
In May, our traders roster grew by 1, when we welcomed Ed Kaufmann to the team. Formerly a roaster and green buyer with Joe Coffee, Ed now brings his infectious enthusiasm and intensely, wonderfully geeky passion for all things specialty coffee to both our trading and buying efforts.
That’s how many samples our Quality Control team logged in 2019, though far more were cupped, discussed and shared. This year brought exciting new coffees and relationships from Papua New Guinea and Brazil, and QC flags Kenya, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Indonesia as delivering up especially strong lots. One more fun number: 9—the current headcount of Q Graders at InterAmerican Coffee US.
In November, our parent company, Neumann Kaffee Gruppe, introduced NKG BLOOM, a global sustainable-sourcing initiative designed to empower coffee producers to run their farms at full potential and meaningfully improve their lives. Far from simply a feel-good project, BLOOM is now intrinsic to the NKG business strategy—a dramatic and meaningful change for a 30-plus-year-old company. What will success look like? NKG BLOOM is aiming to positively impact 300,000 coffee-farming families in 10 countries by 2030. As soon as these coffees become available, we can’t wait to share the details. •