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Coffee City

Melissa Allison follows the world's biggest coffee-shop chain and other Seattle caffeine purveyors.

May 26, 2010 at 12:02 PM

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Starbucks co-founder visits coffee program funded by Gates Foundation

Posted by Melissa Allison

Coffee guru Jerry Baldwin, who co-founded Starbucks and is now a director of Peet's Coffee, recently visited Ethiopia with his photographer wife, Jane.

They dropped by the Addis Ababa offices of TechnoServe, which in 2008 announced a four-year, $47 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to be used in its ongoing effort to improve coffee quality -- and therefore prices to farmers -- in Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda. The program now includes Ethiopia.

Baldwin describes their visit at TheAtlantic.com, where he regularly writes about coffee.

The program has helped some farmers doubled their income per pound of coffee, and the higher yields that are expected in future seasons will bring even more money, he writes.

"Peet's Coffee is already so impressed with the quality progress that it has developed a completely new blend, Uzuri African Blend (uzuri is Kiswahili for beauty)," writes Baldwin, who is on the board of Technoserve.

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