Brian is Ally Coffee’s Account Manager for Asia. He is based at Ally’s US Specialty Coffee Headquarters in Greenville, South Carolina, USA. Brian’s background in coffee started on the farms in Chiapas, Mexico.
After graduating college, Brian volunteered for six months at his church’s mission center in Yucatan, and from there he heard about a non-profit boarding school in Chiapas that was looking to join with a local coffee farm and mill as a source of support for the school’s operations. Brian accepted the challenge and found himself fully immersed in the coffee supply chain at origin.
“I was in charge of everything after the coffee became parchment. Quality control, export logistics, marketing, sales,” says Brian. He spent his days sample roasting, cupping coffees, and working with experimental processing, including black honey, yellow honey, pulped natural, and controlled fermentation hours for washed coffee.
Through strengthening coffee operations, Brian worked to build financial support for school, spur community development, and bring more recognition to Mexican coffee. The farm had 500 hectares in total, split between two locations, and its own nursery, wet mill, and dry mill.
During his four years with the project, Brian saw the farm plant Marsellesa, a variety developed by ECOM in Central America and assessed to be a good balance between disease resistance, productivity, and cup quality. He explains the complexities he observed in managing land for coffee farming in Chiapas, based on Mexico’s history of agricultural land management.
“If farms are owned by big owners, they are more likely to make educated guesses, but small farmers are selling one or two bags to survive. In the past, the government distributed land to farmers, making it difficult now to purchase land based on how it was previously divided. When roya leaf rust hits, producers can’t do anything about it because they don’t have the capital to renovate. They are interested in crops that will bring them money to live.”
Coming from a small company setting, Brian understands the business structure of how smallholder and midsized coffee production operations function at origin. He understands green beans from having worked with the upstream production process. “Looking at bag of beans or a cup of coffee, I know how much work went into it,” he notes.
Prior to his time in Mexico, Brian was a Starbucks lover, ordering caramel macchiatos as his preferred drink. Now, Brian has experienced all that goes into coffee before it is served in the café and he appreciates every sip.
Roasters in Asia looking to source green coffee from Ally can contact Brian via WhatsApp, WeChat, Line, and Kakaotalk.