Finally! The appointment we’ve all been waiting for: I am happy to announce the event that will put coffee lovers from all over the world in contact with each other. On September 30th and October 1st, Milan will host the first Global Coffee Forum at the Auditorium of the Stella Polare Convention Centre at Rho-Fiera Milano. This international event will revolve around a full schedule of discussions dedicated to the present and the future of coffee. Coffee is truly of global interest: 2 billion cups of coffee are drunk every day; 148 million sacks of coffee weighing 60 kilos each are produced every year; and roughly 35 million families in 42 countries throughout the world work to produce the coffee we drink.
The Global Coffee Forum will propose an educational “coffee experience” to the many visitors who will visit the auditorium designed by Massimiliano Fuksas. It will highlight not only the taste and pleasure of coffee, but also the relationship between coffee and health, projects fostering sustainability, and solidarity initiatives. One of the Forum’s aims is to highlight the importance of coffee for socio-economic development at the global level. It builds on the role coffee has had within the framework of Expo Milan 2015, contributing through coffee-specific experiences and innovations to the exchange of ideas and shared solutions on the theme of food. Speakers at the Forum will include high-level representatives of some of the most important actors of the world of coffee – international institutions, brands and opinion leaders.
It all begins on September 30th, all the international speakers will hold forth on topics ranging from “Coffee and Pleasure” to “Coffee and Health”. As Chairman of the International Coffee Organization’s Promotion and Market Development Committee, I will be speaking that morning on “Pleasure, health and sustainability: the three virtues of coffee”.
On October 1st, a round of talks dedicated to “Coffee and Sustainability” will take place; after that, the Forum will transfer to the Expo, where the spotlight will be on “Coffee and Solidarity,” and on the first International Coffee Day – a worldwide celebration of coffee – where the fundraising initiative “Oxfam Coffee4Change” will be launched. This important campaign takes inspiration from the Neapolitan tradition of the “caffè sospeso”, which means a “suspended (or pending) coffee”, when those who can afford it pay not only for their own coffee, but also offer one to a stranger, anonymously leaving a coffee “suspended or pending” for anybody who orders one but cannot afford to pay for it. “Oxfam’s Coffee4Change” initiative gives us the possibility to donate the price of a coffee to support coffee farmers and their plantations. The Global Coffee Forum is an opportunity to reflect on concrete initiatives that can have a positive impact on coffee growing communities; the “caffè sospeso” truly can strengthen ties between consumers and producers by financing projects to help these farmers.