Get to know us in mundane and bizarre ways.
Our office consists of rough-around-the-edges revolutionaries - 6 in all in north Bangalore, India. Morning coffee is a Pour Over brewed with beans from leftovers - samples of new coffees we are trying out. By the afternoon our bloom is more precise. The bakery next door makes the best eggs puffs ever so those are consumed as part of our refined coffee pairing experiments. In the early evenings as rain beats down on rain, a chart paper is fashioned on to the tabletop. Mind maps are drawn, redrawn and reviewed. Where are we going and how can we get there in the most democratic way?
The idea of Black Baza Coffee did not come from us at all. It came from coffee growers themselves and it was the idea of creating a local, participatory and meaningful movement for coffee - starting with India and hopefully elsewhere as well. The idea of Black Baza Coffee holds within it a want for an alternative - a production and market system which values producers and nature equally.
For those amidst us, a four-year research project led to the realisation that coffee markets are structured in ways that undermine the wellbeing of farmers and forests. This is true even for contemporary sustainability mechanisms - which are, on paper, designed to tackle social and environmental inequities, but in reality achieve little. The uneven power structure of coffee value chains and the inherent limitations of existing sustainability mechanisms is what emboldened us to create Black Baza Coffee, a movement that attempts to reconstruct marketplaces such that coffee as a commodity is re-embedded in place, people and ecology.
Quite simply, our work is two-staged - first we co-imagine a sustainable future with coffee growing communities and then we interconnect producers to consumers through telling stories on a community-supported agriculture marketplace.
This means that Black Baza Coffee is not solely a trading organisation but an enabling one.
Keen to join the movement?
We work with any coffee grower, retailer, wholesaler, small or large institution or individual who wants to hop on board our movement for biodiversity-friendly coffee.
As of December 2017, our grassroots involvement with coffee growers is located in BR Hills and Kodagu in Karnataka, India. If you are a coffee grower in India or elsewhere keen on working with us, do please write to us at [email protected].
Arshiya did her PhD on the political ecology of markets for biodiversity conservation from Cambridge University. She has studied sustainability certifications in coffee for over 6 years. Her research findings led to her founding Black Baza Coffee. She travels nowhere without her Aeropress.
Jacintha is an alumnus of Parikrma Humanity Foundation. She joined Black Baza Coffee when we were still operating from our founder's rooftop. Jacintha handles orders and operations.
Sannarangegowda is our community and farmer engagement anchor in BR Hills. His work extends to all activities concerning the farmer-producer organisation.
Achsah finished her MSc in Botany from Madras Christian College on pollination of dry evergreen forest species. She is our excruciating optimist, maker of coffee jelly and consumer of unspeakable condiments like condensed milk.
Karthik is an architect, designer and design thinker. When not coffee-ing, he is bag-making (http://portmanteau.in). Karthik is also one of the founding members of Coffee Grounds.
Renuka likes pour-overs with a dash of milk. She is coffee prep queen.
Vivek is a photographer and documentarian based out of Bengaluru.(https://www.vivekm.com/)
Peeyush is an architect, writer, photographer and toy maker who has authored a number of books on nature and its surrounds.
Neha Margosa writes and lives in Bangalore, India.