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Starbucks Interactive Table 2017

March 9, 2017. Put a cup of coffee on the Interactive Table and it tells you where it's from. After last year's trial at the Roy Street Cafe in Seattle, GeoMotion is setting off once again to gather stories from distant corners of the globe. This is Starbucks version of the table, implemented by Ideum and GeoMotion.

The interactive table is one example of GeoMotion's effort to connect farmers with their customers. Setting up full traceability (from our sister GeoCertify) is like setting up a telephone line. Once you have a connection, you have a social media--"can you hear me now?" In this case, the connection is made through a cup of coffee.

Case Study: Peace River Coffee

Peace River Coffee is a small-batch roaster specializing in premium coffees. The company is a GeoMotion venture that was set up to how put traceability in the hands of consumers.

In 2014, GeoMotion teamed up with Starbucks and Sucafina, SA, to get a handle on this problem. Over the course of the season, separate teams from Starbucks and Sucafina evaluated over 20,000 cups of coffee from producers across Rwanda and Burundi. GeoMotion tracked the samples, the cupping scores, and the related lots of coffee as they moved from the drying tables through milling and on to arrival warehouses in Germany and the U.S. Catching the affected lots prior to shipment proved to be a financial game-changer. The project is underway for the 2015 season.


Case Study Ethiopia: The Challenge of the Commodity Exchange

Much of the coffee in Ethiopia is traded through the ECX, the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange. A commodity exchange facilitates trade by creating a fluid market for food or other products. Producers and traders benefit from a single, known price for a given product.

Despite its benefits, the commodity exchange presents a challenge for traceability. Any given unit of a product is considered equivalent to any other unit in the same classification, so the producer identity is lost when a product enters the exchange. For the specialty coffee industry, this presented a major problem--the many certification programs such as Fair Trade, for example, could not certify coffee traded through such a system.

From 2011 through 2013, GeoMotion worked with Starbucks and the ECX to implement traceability for Ethiopian coffee without compromising the function of the market. From 12,000 units the first year, to 50,000 the next, the pilot program grew to a volume of 250,000 traceable units in 2013.