Incredible journeys that shape the present & future of food & beverage industry

Written by Hema Reddy / April 28th, 2016



For every 20 lots of coffee Karl tastes, only 1 makes the cut for the final container. A direct trading coffee company requires work. It’s not just visiting beautiful coffee farms.

Karl Wienhold has some stories to tell. He frequently has to take longer routes to coffee farms to prevent contact with leftist guerrillas that have plagued the country for 60 years.

My favorite story is Karl’s effort to change a supply chain and involve rural farmers in Colombia. Learn about international trade and specialty coffee:

  • How he learned the craft of selecting and cupping coffee
  • Explaining the economics of coffee to the end consumer
  • Breaking the rules, a few things that he does different
  • Selling in the US, but living outside of it
  • Avoiding guerrillas on Karl’s coffee travels
  • Defining direct trade and vertical direct trade
  • Shade grown coffee and the environment
  • The man, Jack Swilling (see his bio below)
  • On “coyotes”: intermediaries and their effect on the coffee and farmers
  • Working through the El Nino catastrophe

Selected links from the episode:
Direct Origin Trading
Swillings Coffee
Jack Swilling

About Jack Swilling: “Swilling was a teamster, prospector, mine and mill owner, a saloon and dance hall owner. He also was a visionary, a canal builder, farmer, rancher, and public servant. All of this was accomplished while he suffered from periods of excruciating pain resulting from major injuries he suffered in 1854. He took morphine to assuage the pain, which led to dependency problems for the rest of his life.”

Swilling founded the city of Phoenix, Arizona.

Posted In: Distribution International/Sourcing