Talk about Kim Ossenblock is to do it about one of the best baristas in the world: representative of Spain in the World Cup of Coffee Tasting in 2012, where it was in third place. Also from the author of Straight to the point! (Oberon, 2018), a book that condenses the basic teachings about coffee in a didactic and pedagogical way.
This is the reason why coffee tastes so bad in most bars in Spain
Not in vain Ossenblock, a Dutchman living in Spain, has based his professional career on training and acculturation, both professionals and amateurs of coffee, in a country like Spain, in which, as he says: “coffee is consumed and marketed simply as a drug, forgetting fundamental aspects such as taste, the culture behind or the sustainability of the process, not to mention human rights. ”
Now this barista and, as he defines himself, “old guru”, wants to go one step further and has decided change the entire sector by one move that he and others at his barista school have defined as “sensitive coffee”.
To do this they have launched a project that seeks to sell them by 2024 one million bags (60,000 tons) of sensitive coffee, when it is expected that in 2020 world coffee production will be 170 million bags. We have called him to give us more details about his project and he has told us about them from Brazil, where he is visiting various coffee farms to join the movement.
How can you explain the concept of sensitive coffee?
To explain it, it is best to start with what is not sensitive coffee and for this there is nothing better than commercial coffee, massive, which only takes into account profit margins and does not address sustainability, human rights or reuse of elements, or justice with the producer in terms of prices, nor of course to the quality and care of the flavor of the product.
All of this is not sensitive coffee, and by definition contrary, sensitive coffee is one that it contemplates in 360º all the elements mentioned above, but also adds the importance of culturing and involving both the producer and the consumer, who must learn to be sensitive to coffee and appreciate it not as a drug that awakens us but as an ancient culture.
Do not the numerous existing certifications fulfill this function, from fair trade to eco?
It is true that there is a whole world of fair trade, ecological, bird friendy and others, all of them with the best of intentions. The problem is that for many producers the cost of being certified is greater than the benefitTherefore, many cannot take this step and lose a very important market.
On the other hand, even if you are certified in some of these aspects, it does not mean that you take care of the others, or that your coffee will be treated in a differential way in the country where it is consumed. For example, you can sell an ecological and sustainable coffee, but if it is then encapsulated and with plastic everywhere, your certification makes little sense. Sensitive coffee goes beyond certifications by covering all aspects.
In any case, the coffee market in Spain has changed a lot; Can’t we consider the coffees that we can buy in a roaster as sensible?
It is true that consumption has changed a lot, but what we call specialty coffee, which is the one who takes care of the grain and the roasting and therefore is drunk not as a morning drug but as a pleasant ritual.
Between 13 and 15 million bags of specialty coffee are sold in the world, which is not many and makes it clear that it is an exclusive market, which does not reach the normal consumer, partly because of the price but more surely due to lack of culture and because they do not know where to access it. We also want this aspect to be corrected by sensitive coffee.
How do you hope to achieve it?
During these years working as a trainer and guru I have made many contacts with various actors in the sector, from producers to distributors, packers, roasters, etc. My intention is put them all in touch and involve them in movement, because sensitive coffee is movement.
At the moment we have brought together a score of companiesThroughout 2021, I hope that they will reach 50 and that we will also start placing sensitive coffee on the market, with the goal that by 2024 one million bags will have been sold, which is about 60,000 tons.
For this, it is not enough to create a label, do marketing or have a good distribution chain; must reorganize the sector to equalize power of all parties eliminating unnecessary intermediaries. As we see it, the logical thing is that you can relate to the producer and acquire the product directly, the technology blockchain, which is decentralized and does not depend on currency exchanges, allows it.
Are you talking about being able to pay for your own cup of coffee with bitcoins?
Yes, but not in such a direct way, rather that consumers are active part in the financing of the producer with micro-investments that later revert in the form of kilos of coffee that arrive at your house. And that these investments can be made through cryptocurrencies and demanding all the requirements of sensitive coffee (sustainability, fair price, human rights, reuse, etc.), without the need for intermediaries or certifying entities.
Of course, you will always need a distribution, roasting, packaging platform, but both you and the producer can demand the requirements, the ends of the production chain gain power and rebalance forces with intermediaries. So you can end, for example, with speculation regarding the price that does not come from weather conditions, etc.
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