Coffee Researchers

Anyone out there doing any sort of research into the coffee industry? Academic or otherwise. Come join me, share tips, knowledge etc,

Members: 42
Latest Activity: Aug 5, 2016

I just love this...

Discussion Forum

So, what are you researching?

Started by Bel Townsend. Last reply by Jamie Treby Mar 22, 2010. 31 Replies

Coffee Mathematics???

Started by Peter Tam. Last reply by Shawn Steiman Jan 16, 2009. 3 Replies

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Comment by sophie on January 30, 2009 at 12:41am
does any one have any research about coffee statsics in the us. I am trying to open up a shop in nc and need data to apply to my business plan.

Comment by Shawn Steiman on July 2, 2008 at 1:06pm
Hey Bel,
I turned in my dissertation on Monday and am now a free bird. So, what do I do, I begin scoping out your blog. I'm sorry to hear of the frustrations of your upgrade defense. I didn't have a tough time at my proposal defense (our equivalent) but my dissertation defense was a doozie. It took the wind out of me for a week! I understand your pain, my friend.

Before I forget (assuming your upgrade is approved), do you need additional contacts in Nicaragua? I have a friend living in London currently whose family has a farm in Nicaragua. She'd be delighted to help you out, I'm sure. Let me know if you want her email address. Also, I know the owners of Jesus Mountain Coffee, there. I reckon they'd be willing to assist you, as well.

As for Costa Rica, I mostly only folks associated with CATIE. If you think you need connections there, let me know. Perhaps I know someone helpful for you.

Your review panel asked a good question- what is this good for. Unfortunately, it may be the type of question that can only be answered after the fact. Your use of the word "waste" implies a negative situation (although, I can argue that low-quality beans aren't waste from a quality perspective. From an agronomic perspective, they can be viewed as fertilizer!). If you carry the negative connotation, then a result of your work could be an attempt to minimize the "waste" or help turn it into an advantage.

I often think of the waste stream, too. Lately, I've been fretting about the milk wasted by baristas while training. I'm quite eco-conscious and am anti-big animal agriculture already. To think all the milk is just thrown away... Argh!

Sorry, I digress. I'm happy to help you pursue your studies and hone your thinking. Not only do have the experience of just finishing my PhD (who's really Dr. Coffee, here. :-), but I know a lot about coffee, from seed to cup. I like your project idea and think it is worth pursuing. Call on me if you need me. Although, by the length of this post, perhaps we should move intense discussions to email:

Enjoy a nice evening at a pub for me; we lack any such decent establishments, here.
Comment by Bel Townsend on June 3, 2008 at 5:51am
Hi Shawn, thanks for the interest!
Asking to breaking down the topic is actually a whole lot harder than it seems! The more I learn the more complicated it gets.
Basically, my PhD is linked to a huge project called The Waste of the World. There are people who are studying social aspects of nuclear waste, waste in the steel industry, etc, and then three of us doing studies of food waste. My coffee project is not so much geared towards the consumption side of the industry, but all the human labour and skill that goes in to producing speciality coffee. I'm trying to find if producing high quality coffees actually produces more waste - if, for instance, you have to 'waste' more of the crop if it doesn't meet speciality quality controls etc. But I am effectively 'following' the beans; I'm studying what sort of waste occurs - and why - at plantations in Central America, then at roasters here in the UK, and finally at retailers, that is, a chain coffee shop and an independent one.
If you're really interested in the above geekiness, a lot of my thought trains are at and the main project website is at
Comment by Shawn Steiman on June 2, 2008 at 12:24pm

Can you elaborate on your dissertation topic? By industry do you mean the consumer side (i.e., the UK)? How do you define waste? Quality?

Basically, break down your description so a simpleton can understand it. :-)

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