Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Want to help a bunch of sexy biker chicks???


Drink coffee. But not just any coffee...the Bella Blend from De La Paz Coffee. Founded by cyclists, De La Paz is a brand new San Francisco based micro coffee roaster that focuses on organic and fair trade coffee.

25% of every Bella Blend
purchase goes to Team Velo Bella.

Velo Bella uses this money to support women in cycling.
They are especially effective at getting women into the sport AND entering their first races. Velo Bella also has an impressive elite team who regularly displays their talents at the highest level of competition throughout USA.

One of the above photos is of me, the other is not.


22 comments:

gewilli said...

fair trade is a gimmic...

but organic is not...

fair trade is a way to market a product... nothing else...

in principle it is great...
in practice no so much...

sexy biker chicks... mmm

PAB(a.k.a.CID) said...

Velo Bella rocks!!!!!!

Peanut said...

Gewilli, you are always entitled to an opinion. I personally would not feel comfortable placing a blanket statement over the whole fair trade industry for fear that i could be incorrect and unintentionally affect the livelihood of those who are working hard to the right thing.

gewilli said...

Starting with a marketing campaign vs starting with a product...

which one is better?

Setting up a fair trade certification and then certifying exactly what?

Only that the "farmers" are getting $1.26/pound.

Does it mean he is paying his workers more money? Or is the farmer/landowner pocketing the extra cash so he can send drive around in bullet proof Land Rovers?

Yes, it can help the farmers, but will it help the people he has working for him picking the beans?

I'm skeptical. A bit negative (ala need for less self doubt on bike) but cautious with wildly supporting limited/open ended "organizations" like the Fair Trade movement folks.

Noble principle. But in action? Sure some may be passing along some benefit of selling at a higher price to the workers... but... these guys are all in it for $$ in the bottom line. Does an extra $1/pound or whatever it is on our coffee mean it is better for the workers? Nope. In general no.

Yes it is just an opinion, based on some facts, hearsay, and reading the fine print. It is not enough to dissuade someone from buying coffee that supports a team.

The roaster should be commended for supporting woman's cycling and supported (by buying coffee from them).

But...

don't forget your carbon footprint... including the transportation network that gets your beans to where ever they are...

best to get a local roaster who buys in volume and send the cash electronically to the team... watch the size of that carbon footprint...

woops...

how the hell did i wind up on this soap box anyway...

/steps down sheepishly and walks off mumbling to himself...

Chris said...

I like the Koffee Onan stuff I bought in Leuven...it took me a week to figure out why the name of that cafe was funny.

Dave Noisy said...

I dunno..if you do some research, you might find that FairTrade can be much more than a gimmick..and likely addresses some of your concerns.

Have you really looked into the subject, or are you just speculating?

Your complaints seem applicable to Organic as well -- for example, just because something comes from an organic farm, is the farmer paying the workers more?

Somehow, i'd imagine that a farm that's certified both organic, and by a fair trades commission would be likely to also provide for their workers. Just a hunch. ;)

I'd be all over that coffee if i drank it, Christine!! =)

Little_Jewford said...

Dave Noisy has a point (and since he runs frankblack.net and races track he gets extra cred with me)...both fair trade, and I would argue to a greater extent organic, can be used as marketing gimiks. But as consumers (I'm including myself) we are generally be trained to accept the commoditization of our food ... organic, "natural", fair trade or not.

We should know more about what we eat and where it came from (that includes where it was grown and/or processed in any way). Thats why in some places buying LOCAL trumps those other factors. Being local has always been very important to consumers in places like VT, where my best friend is a one-man cheese producer. He is organic but his strongest selling point at places like local co-ops and the farmers market is that the milk he uses is local and his small "production" facility is local. He has been talking about the importance of local production (to himself and new england consumers) for years and now its a growing movement (cover of time a week or so ago).

Anyway...my general point is it is our responsibility to be well informed about our purchases (if you care that is)...its not that any single accreditation agency is pure marketing or not.

Alex said...

Christine you are true class. Many racers can ride at a professional level, but you are amongst those I define as PROFESSIONAL in your approach. I loved working with you as your team manager and I continue to respect and admire your approach to expanding and continuing your path on two wheels. You are a class act Lady, and I am proud to know you...

Now, go out there and kick some French female ass! And of course,if you think one of those asses is worthy of me... :)

Have fun!

Alex

Peanut said...

chris:
bin laden connection?
pab:
Love how you got your nickname! I nearly peed in my pajamas when i read the story!!
gewilli et al:
Thanks for comments on fair trade & organic. I'm sure it got a lot of folks thinking...
alex:
very kind of you and much appreciated.

gewilli said...

Guess what i saw on the door of the Dunkin donuts as i'm walking out with my free 16 oz iced coffee?

"All dunkin donuts coffee served here is Fair Trade Certified"

how about that?

Yes - marketing and selling product is good.

Wholefoods is a massive profit machine because people perceive a benefit to buying stuff there instead of walmart... and those people generally have deeper pockets than most at walmart...

The "organic" label and the "fair trade label" are alot like the "synthetic oil" label. not the black and white definitions that they were originally intended to describe.

Stories from the organic fruit buyer for a big natural/organic yogurt company are pretty scary...

i know too much about the whole damn agriculture side of things (hard to avoid at a place like MSU) and am always skeptical of mass produced "organic" produce.

But even if there is a 'chance' that going fair trade is better - go for it.

The local vs organic movement has been picking up steam. And has many merits...

But as it is pointed out - a farmer's market could just be selling you the same apples that you can get at meglomart or wholepaycheck for 1/2 the price and economics are important - the money you save could be spent better offsetting your carbon footprint ;) or on cool bike gadgets like power meters or cross tubulars!

Anonymous said...

Quote: "a farmer's market could just be selling you the same apples that you can get at meglomart or wholepaycheck for 1/2 the price and economics are important"

**
Economics are important, but if you cared even slightly about taste, after having a farmer's market, local apple I bet you could never go back. There is no comparison between the two.

If you think about the fact that apples grown halfway across the world are 99 cents a pound (for example, not sure how much they cost) and local apples are anywhere from $1.60 to $2.40 a pound....one has the cost of a plane ride across the world, and the other has the cost of a truck ride from 25 miles away...

That 99 cents a pound isn't paying for a quality apple - it's paying for a massive distribution machine for a very generic product. Ew.

Regardless, it is great to see a coffee company supporting a great women's team.
-KT

gewilli said...

KT,

hit any of the regular farmer's markets...

look around...

maybe you are lucky in that most stalls are selling only apples picked from their own orchard...

unfortunately... it has turned into an Ebay of sorts (for the non-super aware consumer).

Apples can be bought by anyone at wholesale and loaded into the back of a pickup truck and driven to a "farmer's market"

in fact...

its a sad reality.

I'm not trying to knock the real deal apple sellers. The folks who have orchards. But, as in insider to the world of farmer's markets and a weekly visitor to the one here by me, it is a rare apple vendor now who is selling ONLY apples picked from their own trees.

Some orchards even do both, have apples from their trees and apples varieties that they don't grow for sale side by side. Maybe that box of Fuji's is from Washington and you are at an upstate new york farmer's market.

Bottom line i guess, yes, fair trade, organic, local, all good things. All absolutely the way to go. But making assumptions WILL get you in trouble and lead you into a marketing trap. None of those tags come with full disclosure. Was this apple picked from a tree that borders a non-organic orchard? Do you know? Are those organic strawberries from mexico really organic? Or did the land baron pay off the inspector to certify his product or to overlook a minor violation.

Now, with choices, buyer beware is even more critical. Be certain that if you are paying a premium for something that there is REAL value to that premium. Not just a way for the retailer/wholesaler/producer to tag on some extra profit.

What's wrong with extra profit? Nothing. But for many who don't have many fiscal resources in the first place but a desire to try and "do good" with what they have, it is extortion. A dramatic furthering of the economic divide in the world.

Even if the farmer who's selling the fair trade coffee is paying his labor more money, he's making even more and furthering the divide between him and those who pick his beans....

Little_Jewford said...

gewill said:

quote:
Guess what i saw on the door of the Dunkin donuts as i'm walking out with my free 16 oz iced coffee?

"All dunkin donuts coffee served here is Fair Trade Certified"

how about that?
unquote

So whats your point? Are you trying to make your argument by dropping the name of a national chain? IF (and I say if) more farmers in some coffee producing country were getting better prices for their product because a national chain is using their product does that make fair trade bad?

what you dropped the same comment but replaced "Dunkin donuts" with "my locally owned coffeehouse"?

Get my point?

Velo Bella said...

If it matters any, De La Paz delivers all of their coffee to their stores in SF via bicycle.

We all can't do everything, but those little things we each do matter so much.

Besides, that coffee kicks ass. Like our Peanut!

Anonymous said...

Gewilli,
Duly noted. In MA, the Fed of MA Farmer's Markets guarantees that products sold in their markets are made or grown at that farm. Exceptions are things like meat, which must be processed at a USDA-certified slaughterhouse, and I think cider is sometimes brought to another local farm with the capacity to make cider.

There's one sketchy vendor at the Harvard Square market, but generally I feel confident from having gotten to know the farmers over the past few years.

I have gotten the impression that most farmer's markets have similar agreements, mainly to keep them from turning into glorified flea markets with bric-a-brac etc. I am sad if this is not the case in GeWilli-ville.

Anyway, who knew I'd be on a bike blog talking about my famrer's market passion? :)
-KT

gewilli said...

disclosure:

I buy my coffee as much as i can from the coffee Depot in warren ri... its organic and fair trade...

I shop at the Farmer's market when they are open...

I buy little pre-packaged/processed foods... (unless you count pasta as such... and then i'm pretty particular about that too).

A food snob like few other.

The DD reference was a "hey how about that"

And it is GREAT to hear that the Mass folks have got it right. THAT is a good sign. But something that, can't be taken for granted everywhere. But still fantastic.

Coffee delivery by bike is great!

Its just that the fair trade thing kinda bugs me a touch. Why? Because it completely sucks that it is needed.

Totally blows that the world is so messed up that you NEED something like that...

Crazy props to De La Paz for doing this, and supporting woman's cycling! WTG.

and Let me apologize for starting this whole nonsense and getting people talking about it more than they otherwise would have.

sorry
g

Little_Jewford said...

gewill...dont apologize...I think it was a great topic to discuss, and honestly I agree with many of your points its just I think we have to be careful when conveying our points on the food industry so we can avoid sounding like wacky anti-everything "establishment" types.

Interesting the ANON. in Mass brings up the point of farmers markets and how they are certified. Coach Farms cheese is no longer allowed to be sold in NYC green markets because they owners sold the production end of the business (they still own the goats and the farm). The product is still made the exact same way in the exact same facility which is managed by the old owners but to be in a NYCGM the product has to be produced and processed all by a single owner ... no exceptions. Now thats strict...

Jason said...

Wow, I wasnt expecting to find a deep discusion on coffee buying principles when I went to check out the comments. I love talking for days about the pluses and minuses of fair trade and/or organic. The bottom lines is that coffee growers do not make enough money for the work they do!! Like someone noted, fair trade and organic are both marketing tools. They are also two important principles for many end users. The trick is finding an organic and fair trade coffee that has an incredible taste. Just because it is certified organic does not mean it is superior in taste. Many of the best tasting coffee's in the world do not have any certification (this could be due to a small farmer not having the money to get their organic certification). In the case of De La Paz, we believe in finding the best coffee that is grown without any pesticides and also making sure that a fair price is given to the grower. Actually accomplishing this is harder than it seems. We go through endless tastings trying to find a great tasting FTO (Fair Trade Organic). If anyone is bored and wants to get wired one day, just swing by our warehouse for a cuppping session. To top it off, if that coffee is not properly roasted (like a large majority of coffee), the end result is a bust. All that hard work is a waste. I like to let the quality of the roasted coffee speak for itself. That is what keeps people coming back. Sorry for the rant...
Jason

Little_Jewford said...

I want FTOSGLR (fair trade organic shade grown locally roasted)!

Thanks for the insight from the roaster end of things...hmmm...an afternoon getting wired while getting to taste a bunch of De La Paz...where do I sign up?!?

gewilli said...

FTOSGLR

sounds great!!!

An old Italian coffee roaster in seattle, one of the original guys been there before SBC/Star*ucks/Austin Chase....

Had this story he told about the guys who started starbucks...

Well he told the story to my Step father who told it to me, so who's to say. But my step dad is an exceptional story teller and re-teller. One of those who gets the details right no matter how many times the story is told.

So these guys go down to San Fran and want to know how to roast coffee, and they head to Pete's.

They both have stop watches and clip boards and write down everything. The old roaster is impressing upon them that every step is critical, timing is everything.

So these guys are scribbling, and the phone rings. Problem is it is at that last finishing end of roasting... The old roaster knows this but doesn't say anything and answers the phone thinking it won't be a long call. Well the call causes the beans to be burnt and over roasted.

But, the old roaster knowing that these two could be his competition some day doesn't say anything. But after these two guys leave he tosses the batch he roasted while they were there.

Thus is born the folklore and legend of why all starbucks coffee tastes, well... over-roasted and burnt.

I can appreciate a good cup, but will not pass up coffee when i need coffee...

and yes - i do drink about as much as my avatar does...

Feltslave & His Organic 48X15 said...

Interesting dialogue. I'm with Jason, I live this every day. I am the Puchasing Director for likely the worlds # 1 Organic Brand.
G-Willi says some good 'FACT-based' (although it might stem from opinion) tids. Organic is not perfect, local is not perfect, FT is not perfect, but I assure you, as someone that handles and watches the data EVERY DAY, it sure as hell beats the other side.
So, yes, D.Noisy, I speak from doing this as a paid ORGANIC professional, the jury is out on all of our consumer options, but I assure you 50% of us in this industry (Org, FT, Local) are real and walk our talk, the other 50% are as G-Willi says 'cash bound'.
Those of us that live in the organic sector are struggling every day to maintain and educate the grass roots establishment of our own identities, FT will fight the same, local will fight the same. Opinions are great, and will only better our ill-fated nation, thus I say do all, support all, just live to make a difference and leave this place a better place for our children. God knows when I hug my 2 girls good night, I get on my full time bike commutting ass to make a change in my life...
Peanut, Peace!

Chris said...

Koffee Onan (because Onan is the old testament guy who masturbates...true story), so it kind of means 'I pleasure myself with coffee'. And also because it sounds like Kofi Anan, the ex-head of the United Nations.

Coffee tastes good.

I am covering the London trading market this week and they buy and sell futures based on weather patterns in Brazil and Vietnam. Apparently there will be a worldwide coffee shortfall this year of about 10 million bags. One bag is 60k of green (unroasted) beans.

One 60k bag sells for about $1500. That's 132 lbs. At a fairly average price of, for argument's sake, $12 a pound in the gourmet store, that same 60k bag only brings in about $84 dollars profit.

But that's kind of a bogus economic comparison, because most of the traded coffee is robusta and arabica filler for big industrial roasters. So the margin is probably a lot higher, rendering my example ridiculous.

But it is what it is.