Friday, April 9, 2010

BODY Unite~ A Pan Roasters Journey 2 Spread Awareness Halted Not Stopped ~

Today as I write this posting, I'm deeply disturbed to have to write this, however these are my feelings. I hope that you understand. The purpose of this posting is not to Bash anyone or company, just to voice my feelings and concerns in hopes that nothing like this ever happens again.In case you are a 1st time reader. Hi My Name is Johnny Milton Jr aka PAN Man aka BaristaOnDutY aka Nashi to many, enough about names. I am a 4th generation farmer, and United States Marine. If you would like to know more shoot me an email, I choose to only let you know of whats relevant at this time for this posting.

All of my friends know me as a person that can be counted on in the time of need, also a protector, a genuinely good friend. I'm probaly one of the most outspoken people in the coffee field, and I have many reasons to be. My passion for coffee is fueled by my desire to not only express my artistic side, but to bring awareness to the consumers of the practices, wages of farmers, and in general be an ambassador for getting fair treatment for the ones that produce such a fine product.

Today in coffee so many people are caught up on buzz words and trendy names, not only paying premium prices for such, but overlooking the Big picture - the farmers. Without the hard work of the farmers not only would coffee be even more expensive, but the average person would not be able to afford it. I mean, you can go buy sub par machined coffee, coffee grown with all kinds of  substances for fast production etc. Then what would be the reason for pushing organic, fairtrade and direct trade. By the way all my coffees are organic, and some fairtrade.

I have been seriously Pan roasting coffee for about 6yrs, in that time I have met lots of grateful people who,  appreciated that  I was roasting coffee the way it was roasted originally and the way it is still being roasted in Ethiopia. I figured I wanted to be a spokesman for coffee, so I must return to the roots of coffee, in order to express coffee truths, and move forward with a movement of coffee conscienceness. Pan roasted coffee is not cheap, for a few reasons, it's very labor intensive, also being a Nano roaster. I pay on average 2X more than the average Micro Roaster, because honesly I can't afford to buy in bulk. Then again what would be the sense in buying in bulk if the coffee just sat around waiting for a hot Pan. I can be honest and say Pan roasting isn't for the faint of heart. I truly love what I do. In all, my goal was to work my way up the chain, and show people what was possible if you had a pan a plan and great coffee.

Here is where I'm lost for words, maybe you will understand, maybe you wont. I appreciate all of your comments of support and or understanding. I feel it is just as important to share with you my pain, because everyone loves to share their happiness. I do know and believe this is not the End, for me only the beginning to something big ahead. For everyone that loves my coffee and would love to be a regular customer, but due to prices you can't afford to - I understand and I hear you. Know that this was my first move in trying to get you those affordable prices. I know that the only way I can make my coffee affordable is to have a Roaster. The biggest thing for me was not to just get a roaster and start roasting coffee and be like the next guy. I pride myself in my uniqueness and my ability to provide great coffee with a Pan, the original way.

A few weeks ago I heard of a Coffee Poetry contest hosted by Roast Magazine. Guess what the grand prize was a mini Ambex Roaster, which I had been looking at previously. I thought what a coincidence. I have a nice poetic flow, my cause is awareness why not give it a shot. All I had to lose was a $10 entry fee and my time. With that in mind I Wrote A Poem entitled  ~ Crop To Cup ~  I felt pressed for time because I didn't want to miss out on the opportunity to advance in my coffee so I fired off with what I had. Well I thought first a poem could be pretty and word catchy or it could be real and straight forward. With my thoughts and my cause I put this together :

It Seems, Sometimes I'm Bitter, Sometimes I'm Hard. This Is While I'm Green, It's Safe To Lower Your Guard. As We Journey On A Trip From Crop To Cup, I Feel It's Necessary To Talk About The Downs, And Ups. Before Your Morning Sip, Before You Race Out That Door. I Will Attempt To Open Your Mind, That's What Coffee Is For.
Before Farmers Existed, We Lived Freely, Ran Wild And Spoke Our Own Language. Thanks To Our Discovery We Can Now Speak Yours. Whether Near Or Far, Abroad Or A Tour Coffee Is All Around You, Such A Joy To Behold.
As You Sip Away And Get Lost In Your Cup, Do You Ever Think About How Life Was Before Your 1st Cup? It's Probably Been So Long Ago, That You May Have Forgotten Or Just Plain Out Don't Know.
As We Sit And Sip The Finest Coffees In The Nation, We Sometimes Forget Of The Farmers Occupation, Working For Less Than Minimum Wage, While We Vacation.Never Thinking Twice About Our Cup Of Creation.Forget About Relaxing No Appreciation.As We Gulp Down Our Drink How Often Do We Thank? Or Think Of All The Work That Goes Into Our Drink?
Myself A Slow Sipper, I Like To Explore, And Compare How Beans Differ. Rather Washed Or Dried ,In Their Process, Good, Bad, Which Is The Best? We All Agree The Farmer Situations Are A Mess, Some Abandoning Crops,Settling For Less.
We Say Go Organic, Because It Will Be Much Better, Fair-trade, Direct-trade, Or You Can Do Whatever! Regardless Of What You Do, Or Who You Pay, Know That Farmers Need Our Support Each And Everyday.
Profits Have Been Made Throughout These Years,While Farmers And Their Families Shed So Many Tears.Wondering From Day 2 Day, Pay 2 Pay, If They Will Have To Abandon Their Crop Eventually One Day.
Lets Not Forget Without The Crop There Can Be No Cup.Next Time You Take A Sip Think Of Me, The Bean, The Farmer, As You Hold Up Your Cup |_|B  ~BaristaOnDutY

Well a few days ago I recieved and email, stating that the contest had been canceled due to lack of participation. Well the problem that I have is I participated. I'm uncertian of who else did, I'm sure others feel the same way I do about this contest, however I'm the HEAD of BODY, so I must speak out on this regardless of whether my poem would have won the roaster or not, is not the issue. The issue is that nowhere in the Rules did it state it was based on participation. To me it seems as if the contest was only to get monies to pay for the prizes and make a profit. I would have been more understanding if the rules had stated, it was based on participation. I hold coffee contests all the time. I cant imagine after sponsoring someone or them sponsoring me, me coming back saying I cant give out the coffee to the winners because we didnt get enough participation. For one that makes myself and whomever I'm sponsoring look bad in business practices. Whether or not this posting gets any attention, I dont know, but  I'm voicing my opinions and feelings toward this contest because I feel like it was wrong, and I was wronged. So to the readers and anyone who plans on doing any sort of contest - coffee related or not in the future, you should be clear on your intentions and your rules. I am a Farmer, I am a voice of coffee, and I will defend it with my last breath. I can just imagine how the farmers feel when they are told, going organic is the way. Then changing their crops getting lower yields, but unable to make a living, thus having to abandon crops, or go back using non organic methods, because they get greater returns, and are able to somewhat provide or make a living. Thank you all for taking the time to read this, any comments of support is appreciated. To my loyal fans, supporters, this is just the beginning we shall rise together. This article was written, by me for me, for other participants, for my supporters and for the farmers that still struggle to make ends meet. May GOD, and the force of great coffee be with you   ~Unroasted Coffee Doesn't Get Dranked

At the time of this post Roast Magazine has issued an apology..