Café Kubal brings an extra kick to its coffee

The new Marshall Street coffee joint educates about the origins of its products through a Skype session with a Honduras farmer

With Syracuse gone schizophrenic from all green to all white overnight, there’s no better way to cheer up a whitewashed morning than with a mug of fresh brew.

Friday morning, Café Kubal appeased the masses by offering freshly brewed Honduras coffee paired with a Skype call with its progenitor, coffee farmer Mario Tulio. That’s the benefit of buying local: have a cup and meet the source. (Added bonus: any student who submitted questions for the farmer through Kubal’s social media pages, stood a chance of winning a pour-over-coffee set and a T-shirt.)

Head Barista Chris Deferio says that the farmer receives 12 times more from Café Kubal’s system than he would from fair trade.

“Fair trade isn’t a plus,” says Mario Tulio, who speaks entirely in Spanish over the crackling Skype line from the family-owned farm where he lives and grows coffee in Honduras. Matt Godard, the owner of Café Kubal, explains: “One of the main problems with fair trade is that farmers are guaranteed a price for their crop before the crop yields, so there’s no incentive for him to produce a high quality product. And because there is a ceiling to how much they can earn through fair trade, farmers don’t make as much as they should.”

Alternatively, Godard sources his coffee directly from farmers like Tulio through an initiative titled Thrive Farmer’s Coffee. Through this group, 425 farmers sell directly to coffee retailers, roasters and wholesalers, meaning that the middleman is effectively eliminated. 

Through this model, Godard says that one can “dramatically enhance the family life of farmers like Tulio, starting with his family’s education and healthcare.”

More good news, this time for environmentalists: coffee fields become a microhabitat for a host of different species, so the vast tracts of individually managed fields are beneficial to the ecosystem.

“This is responsible coffee that benefits everyone involved in the process,” says Deferio. 

Although the attendance at Kubal was rather anemic today, Godard will host another Skype-meet coffee-chat at their downtown store soon, this time with a farmer from Guatemala.


Extra kick (or, what you didn’t know about organically grown, environmentally and economically sustainable coffee):

- This manual coffee making accentuates the terroir (a word that is oft used for wine that denotes its climatic influence) of the coffee

- Coffee changes its flavor as it cools (similar to chocolate)

- Each coffee has it’s own personality based on it’s origins

- The best way to have coffee (or chocolate) is to be mentally present while you are having it

The use of schizophrenic in

The use of schizophrenic in this article is both insulting and inappropriate, and the Newhouse school should not have allowed such ignorance to be posted in an otherwise decent article.

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