Adelante Coffee Infuses Social Good into Every Cup. Adelante кофе

Adelante Coffee Infuses Social Good into Every Cup – Adelante Coffee – Medium

Bay Area-based social enterprise funds education in Honduras and attracts customers looking to give back

If someone asked you where your coffee came from, what would you say? You might think of a gleaming specialty coffee shop or gathering in your office kitchen. Perhaps you’re familiar with your coffee’s region of origin, such as Latin America or Africa. In some cases, you might even know the country and varietal of the beans.

At Adelante Coffee, I think of the names of our farmers. The sound of the community’s only bus that visits town three times a week. The smell of corn being ground for tortillas mingling with the crisp mountain air — a stark contrast from the city smog. And the faces of young men and women who have overcome so many obstacles to attend school for the first time.

Adelante is a direct trade coffee company that works with farmers and their families in Honduras. For decades, the country has struggled with gang violence and drug trafficking, as well as political and economic instability.

Working in rural communities across Honduras, I’ve seen the startlingly few options available for young people. Nearly 80% of rural youth can’t afford school fees, so many young people are forced to join a gang or marry early, cutting short their dreams for an education.

The coffee industry offers a new way forward for many families. However, the prices offered by most specialty coffee buyers — even those who identify as fair trade — is rarely enough to provide a living wage. While their coffee may be sold for nearly $5 a cup, many coffee producers earn an average of only $5 a day.

What makes Adelante Coffee different? First of all, we trade directly with producers. That means there are no middlemen and producers take home higher incomes to their families. One of our producers more than doubled her income after ending her work with a middleman and joining Adelante.

Zurzular producer, Marta Emilia, was accustomed to selling her specialty microlot coffee to middlemen for only $0.85 per lb before partnering with Adelante.

We also educate producers on how to improve and protect their plants to ensure their premium-level quality is preserved. It’s a win-win: Our customers receive a fantastic bag of coffee, and producers receive the best prices possible for their beans.

Finally, the profits from sales of Adelante coffee are invested in an initiative to provide affordable secondary school education to the children of smallholder agricultural producers. Our nonprofit partner, Educate2Envision, works in isolated rural communities that are off the radar of most charitable organizations.

But how does Adelante Coffee taste? Our all-natural single-origin coffee is grown in two communities hidden among the mountains of Central Honduras. Small batches of premium coffee beans are shade-grown beneath banana and orange trees and slowly sun-dried to perfection.

Each batch is treated like oro, or “gold,” the local term for green coffee beans. The beans are cupped and scored by experts before packaging. Our medium dark roast, Zurzular microlot, has a smooth body and notes of sweet caramel, chocolate, and citrus.

A tasting session of Adelante Coffee in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

Some of our earliest customers are startups who saw in Adelante a shared desire for social impact. You could think of it as connecting entrepreneurs across the globe.

We share photos and messages from our coffee producers with our customers, and many have attached the postcards to their coffee machines. Every morning, they’re reminded of the impact of drinking coffee with a cause.

We’re proud to help these fast-growing companies fuel their productivity while fueling education around the world. Our hope is that we can pave the way for more startups to make real commitments to social impact, especially within their daily work culture.

As Adelante Coffee grows, I’ll share our learning and progress every step of the way. To request a sample or hear more about our story, send me a message at [email protected]

An Interview with a Rising Star in Honduran Specialty Coffee

Raised into a family of coffee growers, Yasmin Blandin is one to watch in the world of specialty coffee in Honduras. Working currently as a professional cupper and roaster at Cafetano in the capital city of Tegucigalpa, Yasmin shares her thoughts on the state of coffee in her country.

How do you see the future of Honduran coffee?

Yasmin: Very promising. Honduras is a small country by size but plentiful when it comes to its fertile lands and even more generous with its crops. Coffee is like a national identity for us. There are more than 110,000 families who work as coffee producers and these families employee over 1 million seasonal workers. Now more and more you’re seeing these producers place a greater emphasis on quality. In recent years we have seen the possibilities to continue improving when new technologies are implemented in coffee farms and applied to processing techniques.

What are some of the main threats or obstacles you find?

Yasmin: The threats are subject to change each day. The common plagues are quick to spread and each time it occurs it becomes harder to control than the last time.Due to climate change, the coffee plantations suffer from such things as; hydrological stress, premature blooming and frequent issues with the actual development of the coffee fruit.The lack of training of some producers or those in charge of collecting coffee cherries, wet processing, dry processing, among others. In addition, these producers often are without the necessary tools to improve their processes.In many of the coffee communities, access to transporting their coffee is incredibly complicated due to the totally critical state of roads in these areas. This makes it very difficult to transport coffee to market.

Why should consumers value Honduran coffee or consider it to be among the top specialty flavors?

Yasmin: Honduras is positioned as one of the largest producers of coffee in the world — occupying the first place spot in Central America, third in Latin America and fifth in the world. Its location and lands are ideal for coffee production. And we’re not only talking about sheer volume, since in recent years the production of specialty coffee in Honduras has been strongly growing. In the 2015–2016 harvest, Honduras earned the most expensive electronic auction price for coffee in the history of any country. In the 2016–2017 harvest, the winner of the Cup of Excellence award was Oscar Daniel Ramirez, a producer from El Paraiso. He earned a score of 91.8 for his yield and his coffee was sold for USD $124.50/lb, setting a record in Honduras.Honduras has 6 distinct regions of coffee production of which you can find a vast diversity of different cup profiles. The altitudes are different, as well as the microclimates, varieties of plantes, and processes that are used to develop different coffee characteristics.Honduran coffees are demonstrating that they really have a lot to offer. The experts have recognized this fact and consumers are becoming more and more enamored by these exquisite coffees that are processed by the hands of people who work with great passion and enthusiasm with the end goal being to bring to the world the best of Honduras.

How would you describe the taste of Honduran coffee?

Yasmin: I would say that the coffee produced in Honduras has the ability to easily enchant any type of coffee drinker. Each one of the 6 producing regions can leave us impressed with only a single sip.To better explain this, I will give a description of each of the 6 regions:COPÁN: We can find very sweet coffees here with notes marked by chocolate, caramel, and citrus. The body tends to be strong and creamy with a lingering and balanced after taste and delicate acidity.OPALACA: In this region, you can find a great complexity of flavors: tropical fruits, grapes, berries; a refined delicate acidity and a balanced aftertaste.MONTECILLOS: In this region you can enjoy coffee with a citrus flavor including melon, apricot, and caramel; a smooth body and an intense tartaric acidity.COMAYAGUA: In a cup of coffee from the Comayagua region, you can expect a sweet fragrance, mixed citrus with an intense level of acidity, and a rich creamy body.EL PARAÍSO: El Paraiso has profiles of a sweet citrus cup with a smooth body, refined acidity, and a prolonged aftertaste.AGALTA: The coffee from this region offers a diverse flavor offering of tropical fruits, a caramel and chocolate fragrance, a delicate yet pronounced acidity, and a sweet aftertaste.

What can the coffee community do to create a more equitable supply chain and/or ensure that coffee producers are earning a livable wage?

It is something that happens quite often — the coffee harvest will come and go and in the end those who are receiving the least compensation are the producers. In my opinion, it is the producers who ultimately invest the most; in their farms, their manual labor, and their time. I should say that the main problem here is largely owed to the middlemen that exist in the supply chain. We’re talking about up to 7 different people the coffee is passed through for it to arrive to the roasters and each one of those people always keep a good percentage for themselves.What I would advise would be to invest in forming cooperatives and/or community-run banks that can help move the sale of coffee towards a more direct trade. This would eliminate the chances that the coffee will pass through several middlemen and the producers could earn higher prices so they themselves can invest in improving their farms and be given a better support system.

My Hunt for the Best Coffee in Madrid

Have you ever played that cheesy icebreaker game where you have to introduce yourself using an adjective that starts with the same letter as your name? Church camps and extracurriculars were almost always prefaced with endless spiels of, "I'm Talkative Tom!" and "I'm Shy Sally!" Every time it was my turn to spout off a cliched alliteration, I'd without fail say, "I'm Coffee-Addict Courtney."

During my senior year of high school, my AP Spanish class even tried to stage an informal intervention for me. For a span of several weeks, I would receive anonymous notes on my desk pleading, "We're worried about your addiction" and "Seek help now". Fast forward six years later, and I have yet to kick my bad habit. After countless attempts to give it up, I've realized that life is truly more joyful with java. Plus, what kind of expat would I be if I couldn't enjoy a steaming café con leche in a bustling plaza or charming Spanish café? Certainly not one I'd want to hang out with.

I'm always a happy camper when I have a cortado in hand

I'm no coffee expert, but I am a Seattleite. I like my coffee a certain way, and when it fails to meet my expectations, I refuse to drink it grumble and reluctantly still chug it because I'm an addict, remember?  I don't like to dwell on this country's flaws, but I have to be honest here: Spain has a lot of bad coffee. I often have to resist the urge to plug my nose whilst downing my daily dose of caffeine. (For the most part, this is due to a little thing called torrefacto.)

But don't let that discourage you, for Madrid still has plenty of cafés that serve a quality cup o' joe. After an extensive pilgrimage, here are my top 3 contenders for the best coffee in Madrid:

Toma Café

Calle de la Palma, 49

Metro: Noviciado, Tribunal

I'm just going to come out and say it: Toma has the best coffee I've ever tasted in Spain. At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, Toma could quite possibly serve my favorite coffee ever. Order their café con leche and you'll understand what I'm talking about. Their staff is the friendliest bunch of baristas I've encountered in Madrid, and they always offer a delectable assortment of gluten-free treats. It takes a lot of self-control to avoid coming here multiple times per day.

Enjoying a café con leche from Toma on my balcony

La Bicicleta

Plaza de San Ildefonso, 9

Metro: Tribunal

This cozy coffee shop gets its name from the vintage bicycles and charmingly mismatched furniture adorning the restaurant. The café blasts indie classics from Vampire Weekend and The Shins while local hipsters, savvy expats and trendy bloggers sip their piping hot cortados. However, it isn't just the ambiance that has won me over, for their first-rate java is positively addicting.

Federal Café

Plaza de las Comendadoras, 9

Metro: Noviciado, San Bernardo

Not only does Federal make a mean café con leche, but their brunch is arguably the best in Madrid. Their avocado and feta toasts, breakfast burgers, cortados and chai lattes keep me coming back almost every weekend. They also offer almond milk with their coffee (a blessing for us lactose-intolerant folk), and their gluten-free options are abounding. It's a win-win.

What's the best coffee you've had in Madrid? 

Do you have any other recommendations? I'm all ears!


Somewhere in Hanoi at this very moment, small plastic stools are filling up on overflowing sidewalks. Chopsticks clatter against clearing plates, marinated meats sizzle on a grill, and kaleidoscopes of exotic fruit fly through noisy intersections. Hungry spectators swarm the narrow streets, sniffing out the next stop on their gastronomic pilgrimage. This is Hanoi, where the sidewalks come to life at mealtimes.

Vietnamese cuisine seduces the senses. Each ingredient harmonizes with its counterparts, creating a sublime symphony of flavors. And when done right, street food is the most authentic way to sightsee through your tastebuds.

Hanoi's unpretentious hideaways humbly host the city's best dishes. Forget Michelin stars; inside these hole-in-the-wall kitchens is where the real magic happens. When embarking on a quest for Vietnamese street food, here's what you need to know about what and where to eat in Hanoi.

Bún Cha

A staple dish of Hanoi, bún cha is a flavorful noodle soup with grilled pork. Almost exclusively served during lunch, bún cha is comprised of rice vermicelli noodles, charcoal-grilled pork belly or grilled grounded pork, room temperature broth, and a basket of herbs to adorn your bowl. The broth itself is a magnificent feat, subtly enhanced by fish sauce, the cornerstone of Vietnamese cuisine.

Though undoubtedly deserving of fame in its own right, bún cha was made infamous by Anthony Bourdain and President Obama's dinner together in Hanoi. The hype is real - if you only get to try one dish in Hanoi, let it be this.

My favorite places to get it in Hanoi:

Huong Lien (aka "Bún Cha Obama") 24 Le Van Huu Bún Cha 34  34 Hang Than

What is it?

Vietnam's breakfast of champions. By far the country's most famous dish, the term pho actually refers to the type of noodles specific to this bowl of heaven. It's made of tender rice noodles, herbs, meat (typically chicken or beef), and a savory broth that packs a punch. In Vietnam, the best pho is judged by the flavors of its broth.

My favorite place to get it in Hanoi: Pho Gia Truyen49 Bat Dan

You can also find it on pretty much any given street corner. Pull up a plastic stool and dive in!

Com Bình Dân 


What is it?

Literally translated to "commoner's rice", com bình dân is a heaping plate of rice generously topped with a colorful array of side dishes. The expats I met in Hanoi lovingly dubbed it as "pointy rice", because you can point to all of the mouthwatering toppings your hungry heart desires. As it was traditionally a workman's lunch, a hearty plate of com bình dân will likely keep you full until dinner.

My favorite place to get it in Hanoi: Bo De Quan (Vegetarian friendly) 164 Au Co, Tay Ho

What is it?

Known simply as "beef noodles" in the south, bún bò nam bo makes magic out of vermicelli noodles, roasted peanuts, bean sprouts, and fresh vegetables. To unlock the dish's true flavors, drench eat bite in the delectably tangy blend of fish sauce, sugar, lemon, and chili.

My favorite place to get it in Hanoi: Nha Hang Bach Phuong67 Hang Dieu

What is it?

While every chè dessert beverage or pudding is slightly different, each boasts a savory amalgam of textures. My favorite blend featured kidney beans, mung bean paste, jelly, and tapioca, stirred together and topped with coconut milk. While not overwhelmingly saccharine, a refreshing glass of chè will still satisfy one's sweet tooth.

My favorite place to get it in Hanoi:Street VendorC2, Ngo 34A Tran Phu, Ba Dinh

What is it?

Savoring a fluffy cup of Vietnamese egg coffee is like drinking crème brûlée. Pioneered at Hanoi's Giang Cafe, this delicate and frothy concoction is comprised of bold Vietnamese coffee, condensed milk, and egg yolks whipped to perfection. Not only does it satisfy the need for a morning jolt of caffeine, but it also makes for a sweet afternoon treat.

My favorite place to get it in Hanoi:

Ca Phe Giang39 Nguyen Huu Huan

Coconut Coffee

What is it?

Akin to a caffeinated slushie, sipping on coconut coffee takes me back to sunbathing on a white sand beach. While its tropical vibes feel seemingly out of place in Hanoi's urban chaos, its tastes and textures are substantially more refreshing than your average Frappuccino.

My favorite places to get it in Hanoi:

Cong Caphe54 Hang Dieu

Tranquil Books & Coffee5 Nguyen Quang Bich

Street Food 101 with Hanoi Street Food Tour

Not quite knowing where to start on my first day in Hanoi, I took a crash course in street fare with Hanoi Street Food Tour. Their beginner's guide to street food introduced me to some of my favorite Vietnamese dishes, while also providing me tips on how to find the best spots on my own. Bún cha - noodles with grilled pork Our tour guide Mango had an infectious love for Vietnamese cuisine, and her passion brought the tour to life. As we devoured a myriad of traditional dishes, Mango peppered our tour with restaurant recommendations, useful phrases, and historical anecdotes. She also offered personalized substitutions for those of us with food intolerances, and went to great lengths to ensure that everything I tried was gluten-free. Never have I fell victim to such an overpowering culinary love affair. Despite my euphoric tastebuds, Hanoi still left me with an insatiable hunger for more. Until I get the chance to visit again, I'll surely be daydreaming about my next bowl of bún cha.

What are your favorite cuisines you've tried abroad?

Is there a country whose gastronomy stands out as the best?

PIN IT! Disclaimer: Hanoi Street Food Tour graciously invited me on this tour, however, all opinions expressed are my own.

As a Celiac, I took this tour at my own risk. While Hanoi Street Food Tour can make substitutions to accommodate a gluten-free diet, they cannot completely guarantee avoiding cross contamination.

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