Do you know about the "Thin Months".

by chee Leng (on coffee makers)

I have been drinking and writing about coffee for years, and I have never heard about it. Knowing it, gives me a shock.

While, we worried about where to get the best cup of coffee, and look down on low quality coffee, there is a group of folks that worried about food on their table!

And these are the folks that are the most important group of people in our value chain -the coffee farmers!

Every year, after the harvest, they suffered from a few months, known as "thin months", periods where they have little or nothing to eat.

They eat less quality food, they try to stretch what they have for days and months.

For some, it is to go through the days, by having less meals, for others, it is to dip into savings or to go into debts to purchase food.

But, going into debt is a vicious cycle, when the harvest comes, they would need to repay the debt and once again, after the harvest, the thin months would happened all over again.

This is a serious problem, one that I believe no one in the coffee value chain should be suffering.

Coffee pricing is at an all time high, and the folks that are growing it is suffering from hunger!

I came to know about this via a trailer of a film termed the "After the Harvest: Fighting Hunger in the Coffeelands".

This is a 20 minute film funded by The Coffee Trust with further grant from Green Mountain Coffee Roasters.

It is narrated by Susan Sarandon and would be shown at the Specialty Coffee Association of America Symposium and Exposition in Houston from 27 April to 1st May 2011.

Folks that are interested to contribute to this initative, please check out their website at

I think it is important for more people to know about this, so that aids and assistance can reach these folks and hopefully in future eliminate the "thin months" totally.

In addition, knowing this, would make us grateful and thankful for the food and drink that is set on our table.

I have often seen unfinished food and untouched beverages in my country.

The reasons given are "not nice". If they know that for a simple cup of "not nice" coffee to be on the table, a whole family have to toiled 8 months of the year, that coffee might not taste so bad after all...

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