Which coffee do you prefer: a bitter black office coffee or a nice rich espresso from your local coffee shop? Your answer is probably not surprising, because coffee isn’t just coffee. It varies much in taste and quality, depending on where it is from.
Colombia is the world’s third biggest producer of coffee, but is considered to be the largest producer of the high-quality coffee: Arabica. This coffee has the perfect conditions to grow in Colombia’s elevated and steep terrain. However this makes harvesting the coffee by the use of machines impossible and the production is therefore very dependent on manual labor. But harvesting coffee by a manual and selective process is both difficult and expensive and is resulting in an unattractive business for both farmers and coffee pickers. This is an issue not only for the economy of Colombia, but also for the market of high quality coffee with growing demands from coffee-drinkers all over the world.
Do you dare to think about what will happen if farmers and coffee pickers decide that it is not worth the trouble anymore? If they abandon the farms and migrate to the cities like so many others? The drastic consequences might seem far out the future or maybe not even realistic, but still… How much do you want to gamble on our morning cup of coffee?
So, the big question. What can you, as a coffee-loving individual, do to keep Colombian coffee business going and avoid this potential coffee crisis?
A time for innovation
The National Coffee Growers Federation of Colombia and Connect Bogota are together with Get in the Ring looking for a solution that will make the selective coffee harvesting process more efficient and reduce cost to keep the coffee production business attractive and profitable. That is why they need our innovative ideas! (Read more about the current challenge)
Inspiration can come from every angle
Have you ever thought about how one harvests olives? Or how ripe juicy berries are getting picked without being squashed? Tools within these areas do already exist and might provide valuable information about picking techniques. Why not get inspired?
When the altitude is high and the slope is steep, a simple tool like the Linden Sweden Berry picker might be the answer: small, simple and very low-tech. Or maybe the answer to efficiency lies in speed? Maybe a solution like OliveTec’s electrical harvesting tool might be the right inspiration. When it comes to innovating a process that has been working for hundreds of years, looking outside the original field could be required to achieve new and innovative ideas.
Maybe not only one solution
Harvesting coffee by the selective and manual procedure is perceived ineffective and costly, which is why most innovations have focused on changing the picking procedure by the use of technical tools. However, maybe the solution is not just to change the picking method. It might be crucial to look further at the whole process of picking, gathering and carrying the coffee. Gabriela Ravassa, a product-design student at Parsons, thought of not only the picking procedure, but also the working conditions for the coffee pickers when she designed the coffee bucket, Coco. So, maybe the right solution is not just one solution. A mix of picking tools, baskets or other innovations might be what Colombia needs to solve its potential coffee crisis.
Do you have the next brilliant idea to revolutionize the Colombian Coffee business? Are you ready to put it to the ultimate test? Sign up for the Colombian Coffee Challenge now!