At Smokin’ Bean we know our producers. We understand the risks and challenges faced by coffee farmers and we want to help them overcome these challenges and provide support right where it is needed. That’s why we are proud to launch Project Next Gen: a unique initiative designed to inspire young people – the next generation of coffee farmers.

What is the challenge for coffee farming communities?

The average age of coffee farmers is increasing, yet it’s becoming more common for the next generation to leave the family farm in search of different career paths. What does this mean for the future of coffee? It’s clear that for coffee to support communities for generations to come, we must engage young people, and offer a promising future.

The demand for coffee is growing and showing no signs of slowing down. With this comes many more opportunities for the ambitious young farmer. We want to motivate young people to choose coffee and to show them that it can provide a stable and profitable future.

What do young people say prevents them from working in the coffee business?

Hard physical work

Undignified working conditions

Low salary

Inadequate education offer

Few options for welfare

Unequal distribution of land

Source: Investing in Youth in Coffee Growing Communities, A Review of Current Programs and Practices in Latin America, Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung, SAFE & Sustainable Food Lab (2018)

What will project next gen do to address this?

boy sample roasting coffee

We know that young people are the key agents of change. That’s why our Project Next Gen programme aims to inspire and engage young people from coffee-growing communities at the Ubiriki cooperative in Peru.

In this project we will:

Invest in equipment and training for young people

  • 24 young adults will be selected
  • At least 50% female representation
  • Either co-operative members or children of members and technicians

Enable the improvement of coffee quality

  • Hire three external professionals
  • Training on wet coffee processing
  • Speciality coffee cupping
  • How to increase quality

Ongoing learning and development

  • Transfer learning to 180 co-operative members through field schools
  • Five participants selected to become Q-graders, and hired in the quality control team

What do we hope to achieve?

Clear procedures for processing methods

Increase in average SCAA cupping scores

Increased market access for the co-operative

Young people are more engaged in coffee

Collaborative learning across the co-operative

Strengthen the organisation for the future

Due to covid-19, our plans have been delayed, but this exciting and important project will resume in march 2021

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