Why clean water is so important for coffee communities


Learn how you’re helping coffee communities through Starbucks Reserve

Four flights in 36 hours. To say Ann Traumann’s journey to Papua New Guinea was a long one would be an understatement.

She traveled there this summer to buy specialty coffee for the Starbucks Reserve® platform. But she also had the experience of a lifetime. A chance to celebrate with an inspiring coffee-growing community. After months of work, an expanded water system was complete, providing much-needed access to clean water. We’re happy and honored to have helped with the project through Starbucks Reserve.

“It was a really important and unforgettable moment,” she said.

When it comes to the countries where we source coffee, Papua New Guinea is one of the most exotic.

Located off Northern Australia, the island nation of around six million people is slightly bigger than California. At least 800 tribal languages are spoken. Many of the roads are unpaved. The terrain is rugged and mountainous.

Much of the coffee is wild-grown on small plots. In these coffee gardens, it’s not uncommon for farmers to also grow vegetables and other staples.

“Papua New Guinea is not comparable with another origin. It is a unique, wild and fascinating country,” said Ann, our Starbucks Reserve coffee buyer.

At the center of several coffee communities in the Eastern Highlands is a remarkable woman named Moanti Ise.

“She is a wonder woman,” Ann said.

Earlier this year, we had the opportunity to give back to Moanti and her coffee network. It’s part of our commitment through Starbucks Reserve to invest in coffee communities as we’re sourcing these rare, small-lot coffees.

We teamed up with the local suppliers and community members to help build a clean water supply. Before the filtration system and water tanks and four taps were installed, people used to walk high into the mountains to get clean water.

“It was really hard conditions,” Ann said.

But our work wasn’t done. When we purchased Starbucks Reserve® Papua New Guinea Luoka coffee , we funded a second phase of the project. It added 17 water taps in seven communities. The project, which was completed in June, also created two water tanks and a filtration system. Now, a total of 800 households in the area have access to clean water.

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