[I]n Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, 250 coffee professionals from twenty countries gathered together to discuss “Prospering in a New Reality,” the theme of Let’s Talk Coffee Mexico. Designed to unite both sides of the supply chain, the event played host to producers, roasters, baristas, café owners, and other industry members from around the world. Over 60 percent of attendees were from origin, with producer leaders making up 40 percent of participants.
Let’s Talk Coffee is organized by Sustainable Harvest Coffee Importers. The first LTC event took place in Mexico more than a decade ago. Sustainable Harvest founder and CEO Dave Griswold reflected on how the industry has changed in that time.
“There has been a massive loss of production due to coffee rust disease, as well as challenges from rural migration and a lack of government and private sector investment in the rural coffee sector,” Griswold said in a statement following the event. “As a company that has had an in-country presence for more than two decades, we felt that given the recent struggles of Mexico’s coffee industry it was important to bring the Let’s Talk Coffee event back to Mexico.”
Griswold was pleased with the outcome of the event, which included lectures from industry leaders on topics like crop diversification, global market insights, and building specialty coffee markets in producing countries. “Most powerful was to see how the event catalyzed conversations of real action—among the coffee-producing organizations, government, and the specialty coffee industry leaders to explore how all of those involved in specialty coffee can prosper in the new reality,” he said.
Following the conclusion of the conference, a group of attendees headed south to the state of Chiapas to visit farms that belong to a cooperative based in the city of San Fernando. Farmers and cooperative members shared strategies they’ve been using to replant and combat coffee leaf rust.