January 18, 2021

Kayla Bellman, Founder, participates in a Q & A with Alma Mater, Emory MDP

Kayla Bellman, Founder, participates in a Q & A with Alma Mater, Emory MDP

After graduating in the May, 2020, MDP alumna Kayla Bellman channeled her dual passions for social justice and high-quality coffee into Finca to Filter, a collective of Georgia roasters committed to transparency, equity, and inclusion. Finca to Filter proudly displays the price paid to the growers for the green (unroasted) beans in the hopes that through this radical transparency, customers will start to talk, and think, about how those aromatic beans and grinds wind up on our kitchen shelves. Finca to Filter offers weekly, biweekly, and monthly coffee subscriptions as well as a rotating selection of specially sourced and roasted beans from farmers across the globe.

Q: How did you get interested in specialty coffee? What are the origins of Finca to Filter?
A: I became enamored with coffee while working with coffee producers during my time with Habitat para la Humanidad Guatemala. It was in coffee-producing villages that I first realized my favorite morning beverage was a hand pick, manually sorted and washed. It was a central part of the landscape, both geographically and financially.

Coffee is a perennial plant that takes 3-4 years to bear fruit. Finca to Filter partners with local roasters to create co-branded coffees which embody values of transparency, inclusion, and equity. Our roasting partners are sourcing and roasting coffees just for us; exploring new relationships and pushing their sourcing programs to curate something truly special.

Through partnership, our standards will improve, roasting partners will be challenged, and Atlanta will become the epicenter of equitable, transparent specialty coffee.

Q: How has your MDP experience informed your work with Finca to Filter?                 
A: Throughout my time at Emory I applied just about every activity, paper and discussion to specialty coffee—"Inhabiting the White World of Specialty Coffee," "The Feminization of Specialty Coffee," "Coffee and Development." The MDP experience allowed me the space to think critically about how development and discourse function to uphold the status quo in the specialty coffee sector.

        

Q: By telling consumers what was paid for the coffee you sell, you're setting an example by making your business transparent. What issues do you think Finca to Filter can address in the specialty coffee industry? 
A: Central to why and how Finca to Filter operates are our steadfast values of transparency, equity and inclusion. We hope that the rich partnerships we’ve established across the state—with roasters, chefs, and makers—will collectively push the Georgia coffee sector to be a leader in the specialty coffee sector.  We are committed to continuing ongoing conversations about transparency and its role in producing more equitable, resilient supply chains. Though iterative, our current transparency commitment is to paint a meaningful picture of what was paid and to whom with the goal of cultivating an understanding among consumers about how coffee is actually traded and to inspire conversation amongst consumers on these issues.

We hope our small business will be an example of how rich partnerships can have a substantial impact.

Q: What’s next for Finca to Filter? What are you looking forward to on the short-term and long-term?
A: Finca to Filter is now offering subscriptions, new partnership coffees (and more on the way), and fun swag. We launched a week ago, so getting our feet under us is the first priority. We are a small business with big goals. As we connect consumers with world class coffee, we will establish Atlanta as a world class coffee city; extending the global expectation of excellence to specialty coffee by celebrating the incredible roasters scattered around the state, growing the local coffee market, and cultivating a coffee curious city. 

Originally posted by the Emory MDP program at https://web.gs.emory.edu/mdp/about/newsandevents/2021/jan12.html

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