International Women's Day 2023
For International Women’s Day, we want to recognise the women who make our coffee possible and support their economic empowerment and social development.
This filter is from Myanmar where our partner Behind The Leaf employs women from the surrounding township to process coffee sourced from nearby farms and for the next two weeks we will be donating £5 from every sale of our coffees from Myanmar.
The past year BTL have been focussing on a singular initiative, their 'Coffee Drying/Vegetable Growing' bunk bed system. Implemented in 2019 the innovative solution means BTL's, mainly female, workforce can plant and cultivate fruits, greens and vegetables under the raised mesh beds where coffee is placed during drying season. Allowing for a more circular approach to the available space, this system was an instant success. In the middle of the pandemic, when things were uncertain and livelihoods for many in the villages was dire, the harvest from the bunk beds was kept in a freezer for nearby villages, instead of being sent to the markets to provide for the community.
The economic downturn in Myanmar has been far-reaching and devastating. More and more families have moved into the surrounding villages looking for work. BTL have used their harvest to provide for the new families struggling to make ends meet. More food was harvested this past year with less left to go to seed in order to meet demand and BTL even produced thousands of ceramic water filters to ensure many of the new faces in the community had access to clean water as well.
"The needs all around us are overwhelming and these are really difficult times, but we are doing our best" says Melanie of BTL, "I’m still amazed at how this challenge brought so many people together. I have loved seeing the Christian and Buddhist communities working together. The hearts of the people are golden."
But the year is not over, the staff at BTL are turning the coffee waste from processing into beautiful compost for the gardens. The rains will start in May and they will need to be ready to plant more vegetables. The work never ends.
Notes has followed Behind The Leaf's story for over 5 years, watching with amazement as their coffee community has grown from a business to a community with the aim of bettering livelihoods at the centre of their ethos. We are privileged to consider them our partners, to showcase their hard work through the coffee and to give back again this year for International Women's Day.
About Pa'O Villages
A fully washed lot from our friends at Behind The Leaf Coffee. Co-Founded by Melanie Edwards, Behind The Leaf has been one of the few success stories to emerge from Myanmar. Their work with the local Pa'O people in the Shan State of Myanmar, especially the women from the local village of Ta Ngo in the Pinalung Township, has meant that the fruits of their labour are now classed as speciality grade coffee, something almost unthinkable a few years ago.
Employing the women has been a boon for BTL but the sentiment is just as beneficial to them. Some are single mothers, others widowed, while the rest care for and maintain their households because their husbands have either left to search for better paying jobs or have just outright left the country because of job scarcity, leaving them to their own devices.
The last few years have been very challenging for everyone involved in the enterprise. BTL stepped in, providing them not only with gainful employment but a litany of wonderful initiatives introduced by Melanie and her organisation.
They've set up a ‘Bunk Bed System’, with a raised screen table top to sort and dry the coffee beans, and the ground underneath lent to the women, to grow food for themselves at no extra cost.
A seed bank initiative has also been introduced to provide a variety of crop to grow. From ginger and chia, to cucumber and corn this bank means that the women who work for BTL during the coffee season can also rely on crops to help sustain their lives outside of it too.
BTL has also begun to offer literacy lessons to most of the women. As their experience and education of coffee processing increases so should their ability to read and write, Melanie believes.
Custard | Vanilla | Strawberry
The Finer Details
|Variety||Catuaí, Caturra, SL28, SL34 & S795|
|Type||Beans and Ground|
250g Roasted Arabica Coffee from Myanmar
100% Arabica Coffee
Please store in a cool, dry place away from direct light
Roasted in London, UK by
Notes Coffee Roasters,
Unit 2 Blackwall Trading Estate,
14 Lanrick Road, Blackwall,
London, E14 0JP.
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