Not An Ordinary Camping Trip

Coffee Camp, Building the Next Generation in Coffee

More than 100 youth from different regions across Honduras gathered in July to discover new opportunities within the coffee value chain. They meet in the heart of the coffee growing region of Central America, in the small town of Copán, Honduras. Coffee Camp, the multi–stakeholder initiative led by Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung (HRNS), captivated the attention of many within the coffee sector, bringing together local institutions and the coffee community to guide youth in developing a network of young coffee entrepreneurs.  This year’s Coffee Camp, was made possible with the support from The Honduran Coffee Institute (IHCAFÉ), BID LAB, World Vision, Fundación Etea and Curoc University, working together to inspire youth to uncover new possibilities in coffee beyond the farm and look within themselves to discover their potential.

Coffee Camp is a space where youth can stand out and become a part of the coffee community. They are encouraged to learn more about the different aspects that make up the coffee global value chain such as climate-smart agriculture, processing, roasting, marketing and trade, sharing their perspectives and creating a network of young coffee entrepreneurs as the new voice of the next generation in coffee.

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Topics explored were technological innovation, climate change adaptation, roasting, cupping, barista skills, coffee quality and digital marketing. During the cupping learning station, many youngsters expressed their concern of not being professionals and knowing little about cupping. Little did they know that after the workshop ended, they would leave with the knowledge they needed to easily cup at home, observe the tastes and aromas of brewed coffee and importance of knowing about their coffee for future buying negotiations. Josue Melendez, one of the Coffee Camp youth members stated, “Many of us don’t know how much acidity, sweetness or body our coffee has. I need to be able to know about my cup profile in order to give it value”. In addition, youth learned about the initiative for coffee & climate and their studies and analysis of new technologies for climate change. They also participated in the entrepreneurship fair where they shared and discovered new innovative coffee businesses established by youth from the region such as branding coffee pulp tea, coffee candle shop, and more.

“As young coffee farmers gather from across the country for one same purpose unleash their potential and discover different areas of opportunity throughout the coffee value chain, urban and rural youth are being linked and becoming one same community,” says Pablo Ruiz, Co-Manager of HRNS in Central America. “We are striving to build a network of young coffee farmers,” he adds.

The coffee community, a network of passionate baristas, coffee shop owners, farmers, farmer organizations, traders, universities and IHCAFE participated in the event to share their expertise. Together, with other leading mentors in the industry, they led 10 hands-on learning stations which opened a whole new world of exploration, training opportunities and learning about the coffee value chain.  Even though the majority of youth’s experience comes from working on the farm, they are interested in learning more about other areas of work. Coffee Camp is the perfect place to discover new areas of interest, capabilities and opportunities!

“Thank you to everyone who made this event possible. We are truly privileged to have had the opportunity to take part in these four days of learning. Coffee Camp helped us discover new opportunities around coffee, gave us the knowledge we want to apply at home and most importantly, made us discover the transformative potential of youth in the region” said Elizabeth Pineda, Coffee Camp Participant.

HRNS’ programs go beyond productivity and coffee quality. The majority of coffee farmers are struggling to make a living and the potentials of the young generation in coffee regions are not cared for. It is our goal to change that and release the possibilities of the young generations to shape rural areas of the future. To know more about HRNS’ current work and youth projects, visit www.hrnstiftung.org.