Wednesday, March 08, 2006


Get Ugandan Orphans through school

We have decided to launch a long term fund raising project in 2006 and for the first time we are actively seeking the participation of our online customers and friends.

Awareness of many of the issues surrounding poverty in Africa was heightened in 2005 by the Live8 concerts and the Make Poverty History campaigns. In our particularly coffee focussed area of East Africa, the crisis is deepened by HIV / Aids infection which robs society of its most productive members often in their prime.

As Uganda enters it's third decade of relative political stability, nowhere else in the region is achieving more tangible results in educating young people and starting to reverse the tide. Children see the light with free primary education and are grasping at the chance to improve themselves and the future life of their communities.

But they still need a helping hand from us and their needs become more and more specific.

In 2002, Charlie and Debbie Massey's daughter, Lisa, taught in a school in Iganga as part of her gap year before going to Medical school, and Lisa's experiences have inspired our association with a "cause" for 2006 and the foreseeable future. Succinctly we want to help those kids who have a thirst for knowledge and education to continue their education through secondary school, which remains mostly fee-paying in rural Uganda. The group we want to help most of all are HIV / Aids orphans, who are often trapped at the age of 12 or 13 into working to support younger siblings or elderly relatives rather than continuing their education. Girls can easily find themselves embroiled in child prostitution rather than their maths homework.

With our "Get Ugandan Orphans through School" fund raising we can begin to make a real difference, by sponsoring individual children through their four years of secondary education. Sponsoring one child for one term costs only £13.00 and we have made it easy to do via our online coffee store.

Please help if you feel you can.

More details of the project we have associated with are available on the Uganda Villages Project main website.


New Espresso Blend Launched

With our popular e.caffe now out of stock, we have devloped a new espresso blend based on experiences tasting coffee in Sydney, Australia.

The new blend, FDE Espresso features some exciting asian coffees with a good seasoning of a Sul de Minas Brazil Pulped Natural coffee to smooth out the finish and improve the crema.

We used several kilos of the new blend on our first event of the season this weekend and in true H&V style it promises a dark and sweet espresso and good flavour passage through the milk in an 8oz cappuccino. We will be using this coffee at all our events as long as stocks last.

The Coffee Tree in George St, Aylesbury will continue to use Bourbon Espresso.

Both blends are available in the online store.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


Fairtrade Fortnight - an announcement

Well it's Fairtrade fortnight once again - the two weeks each year when we are asked the most pointed questions about the "ethical credentials" of Hill & Valley Coffee. We usually give a long answer that refuses to over-simplify the question in the manner that a purchase of Fairtrade coffee might do. (Debbie calls it my "rant" and usually tries to hide!)

But we are not Marks & Spencer, thankfully.

We source our coffees based on the following criteria :

1. Excellence in the cup. Particularly when compared to other coffees from the same region, we go for coffees that reflect the traditional virtues of a particular growing region. New growing regions are always treated with some scepticism - particularly when we can't find the right Kenya AA that year!

2. Where possible we source from single estates / farms or from co-operatives, but always from organisations that rely on excellence to achieve a sustainable premium price. We abhor artificially manufactured pricing that ignores issues of quality. In all cases we try to find out the most we can about the growers and how they work and satisfy ourselves that basic human and workers' rights are defended.

3. We do not buy "first world coffee" from USA / Hawaii, Puerto Rico or Australia. We do however pay very good prices for the right coffees from developing countries - way above fairtrade prices.

4. We act in a non-patronising manner to support "good causes" in coffee producing countries and do not confuse these aims with our uncompromising approach to sourcing. It is our belief that we can find causes more needy than that of the so-called impoverished grower. He has his land and his crop after all....

So in 2001, we gave some help to a catholic charity that built a refuge for street orphans in Bogota Colombia.

In 2002, our daughter Lisa worked in secondary school in Uganda and sales of Uganda coffee helped fund a new fiction lending library for her pupils.

In 2004 and 2005 we supported Angeninge, a theatre group in Tanzania that taught Aids / HIV awareness to illiterate rural people through community drama.

In 2006, we have settled on a "house charity" which will benefit from our support for at least the next four years, and we hope that we can enlist support from those of you out there who buy Hill & Valley Coffee.

It is our "Get orphans through school" project set in Iganga, Uganda.

There are 95 HIV / Aids Orphans who are currently in secondary school and are depending on us to pay their next set of school fees. And we want to get 20 more on the scheme next year!

A detailed announcement will follow in the next few days, but for now here are some of the wonderful young people whose lives are already being changed through this scheme.

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