Casa Brasil was proud to organize and sponsor an opportunity for Brazilian Coffee Producers to see first hand what happens to their coffee when it enters the United States. Part of our purpose at Casa Brasil is to help empower coffee communities, and if one subscribes to the fact that knowledge = power, then this was a great opportunity for the 50 producers that participated to walk away with some new ideas and perhaps some new tools in their belt. At the very least, they got to see a part of the coffee chain that often goes unseen. The tour contained three parts.
1. Visit to Bayport Terminal: Port of Houston
How does coffee arrive? What is the process for clearing customs? How long does (or can) the coffee stay at the port? How many containers per ship? How are the containers off-loaded?
2. Visit to Dupuy Warehouse: What measures are taken to protect their product at a modern coffee-focused warehouse? What services are offered by the warehouse – can they send out samples, track inventory, etc.?
3. Visit to Central Market: What do American consumers want to drink? What certifications are desired and which are not? This visit also allowed Central Market coffee specialists from all 8 Central Market stores the chance to meet first hand with the producers and learn about some of the realities they face. What are the labor standards in Brazil? How much does a coffee picker make? What are the major problems that the producers encounter?
Unfortunately I was talking and translating most of the time so I did not get to snap all that many photos. I have asked some of the producers to send me some they took so hopefully we can add more later. Below are some that I was able to take. Also, I would like to thank Keith Miceli, Trade Development Manager at the Port of Houston; Al Hernandez, Vice President of Dupuy Storage and Forwarding; Daniel Friedlander and everyone at Nucoffee; and David and everyone at Central Market for the time and effort they put in to it.