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Café Holdings develops blockchain platform for coffee farmers

The former café group has developed a blockchain platform aimed at improving coffee farmer livelihoods

Café Holdings, Inc. has developed a blockchain platform aimed at improving coffee farmer livelihoods | Photo credit: Josh Atwood

Café Holdings, Inc. has announced the conclusion of the development of blockchain technology that it says could be a revolutionary disruptor to the $50bn a year global green coffee market.

The former group of coffee shop businesses, which saw its retail operations decimated by the pandemic in 2020, says the platform will be used to bring equality and sustainability to millions of smallholder coffee farmers globally, whilst maintaining high environmental, social and governance standards for buyers who face increasing pressure to protect the livelihoods of suppliers.

The company also states that the move could reverse the current unsustainable and damaging trading system.

With previous involvement as The Coffeesmiths Collective in specialty coffee retail acquisitions and expansions, the announcement marks the latest step change for the company that has overseen a succession of sales and liquidations, including the UK and US-based Department of Coffee and Social Affairs brand, since the start of the pandemic.

The Illinois-based company has engaged Iron Sight Industries, a team of agricultural technology entrepreneurs, to develop and maintain the new blockchain platform.

Café Holdings, Inc. has entered into a conditional agreement, for an initial term of 25 years, to licence the platform to a newly established not for profit company, Kaldi Foundation, for an annual fee which will include the running and oversight of the platform.

Research indicates that 5.5 million of the approximately 12.5 million global smallholder farmers are deemed to be living in poverty. These smallholder coffee farmers represent more than 70% of the global green coffee market.

Café Holdings, Inc. intends to change its registered name to Coffee, Inc. later this month. The company recently entered a Heads of Terms Agreement with a speciality coffee company in the UK to launch a US-based coffee subscription business, to be based in Illinois, and built around a successful model operating in the UK for several years.

Supply chain traceability is increasingly lauded by coffee businesses seeking to foster greater equity at origin and demonstrate their ethical and sustainable credentials. Blockchain can be powerful tool in increasing supply chain oversight, with organisations such as AgUnity and iFinca deploying the technology to help improve coffee farmer livelihoods.

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