Over the years, one of the most rewarding aspects of publishing this blog (and its related Twitter feed @coffeelands) has been the dialogue it has invited with thought leaders in the coffee industry. The online discussions here have been joined by tastemakers from lots of different places along the coffee chain—SCAA presidents, Roasters of the Year, Fair Trade pioneers, award-winning social entrepreneurs, representatives of celebrated coffee grower associations, sustainability mavens, and emerging innovators in the marketplace. The discussions the blog has prompted offline have been equally rich, and certainly more numerous. All this engagement has helped us improve our performance in the field and in the marketplace, and is one of the main reasons I decided to reboot the blog last November after thinking I had given it up for good last July.
So while all the comments to the blog contributed something important to the conversation, some of the comments have been exceptionally rich. On more than a few occasions, I felt that the comments were far more valuable to readers than the blog posts that prompted them, and wished for a way to raise their visibility to folks who may not be reading the fine print.
In some cases I published separate posts to call attention to those comments. For example, see Peter Giuliano’s comments here about the relationship beween Fair Trade and Direct Trade, and my subsequent effort here to disentangle the roots and branches of these two approaches on the coffee trade’s family tree. Or how Peter’s comment on Fair Trade pricing here inspired another post here. But I fear I lost in the process the authorship and voice that were so central to the comments’ appeal.
This week, I will try something different—publishing reader comments in whole or in part as separate posts attributed to the people who authored them. It may help me address both the long-standing concern identified above as well as a more recent one: what to do about all the great comments generated by my recent post on the farm-facing cupping form.