Attention All Coffee Buyers!

Attention all coffee buyers!

Remember, origin is a long way from home, and some may not believe you were actually there. Some may not believe you such a journey was even possible. Never mind that it’s really just a couple flights, and you get a lot of airline points to boot. Make it sound hard, dirty, and difficult.

Tell them you drove down impossible roads, further than the National Geographic people ever went, and you slept in a hammock! Then, when it is time for your “I was at origin” photograph, make it look like it was nothing, that it’s what you do every day, and that you aren’t secretly thinking about how you have the runs, and shouldn’t have eaten that local food when your host offered it.

Think rugged, think tough, say, “I have come this far, and I am not going to hold back now… I am going to throw myself into this adventure, I am going to plunge my hands into the fermentation tank, I am going to take photos 1 inch away from the coffee cherry, on which I shall engorge myself at each opportunity.” If you happened to come at a time when there is no coffee cherry on the trees, act like you knew that and, really, your travels aren’t just about coffee. It’s about coffee culture, it’s about the people and the place where coffee comes from.

And you may feel a certain elation, a quasi-celebrity status as children wave at you and everyone wants their picture taken. You may think, “Man, I am happy we paid X.XX for this coffee, and in fact I think we could even pay more next season.” Careful! When you return to your work at home you will find yourself a victim of the “fog of origin” because of such thoughts. When it comes time to arrange next season’s coffee, you know you can’t really pay anything more than a dime over the previous year. And why should you? Do those people know how much your flight cost? That was like a year’s salary in their country!

Better yet, look for options other than your host, now that you “know” the place. And just don’t respond if your host sends any emails beyond “I hope you returned home safely.”

The great thing is this: once you have gone to a place, even if it was for a few days, you understand it so much better, and you can use all those pictures you took for any coffee from that origin, whether bought from your host or not.

And really, since you have been there, and coffee you get is now Direct Trade, because you might not know the source personally, but you were just a few kilometers from their mill, I betcha. So don’t fret; the trip has already paid for itself! You are an authentic origin-traveling coffee buyer. Upload those damn macro coffee cherry photos to already, you coffee rock star!

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