Ellen Jordan on why she supports CQI

Ellen Jordan is a major supporter of Coffee Quality Institute. In fact, she is the largest single donor, recently adding another significant gift, but that isn’t what she wants people to think about when they evaluate what she’s given to CQI.

“I am approaching my fortieth anniversary of working in coffee” Jordan offered. “More than half of that time has also been spent in service to CQI and its important mission. The organization reflects my values and core belief in the promise the coffee industry holds. CQI’s great work also seeks to address my concerns about disparities in the supply chain and that’s why I support it in every way I can.”

Jordan began in the coffee industry right out of college, long before Coffee Quality Institute came into existence. She knew that she had found her career home because the people were warm and passionate, and the product was one that came to market hand-to-hand, with a personal touch. It was that connection that led Jordan to join Coffee Quality Institute in the second year of its existence.

CQI’s original focus was to incorporate science and technology into practical applications to agriculture and industry.  We quickly realized that while science and technology were important, it was the people who were going to make the difference! It felt like we began by focusing on the middle of the value chain, and that wasn’t where our efforts were most needed, so we refocused our energies on training and improving practices in growing and harvesting That was one of the first pivots the organization made to address evolving market conditions and that same flexibility and willing to adapt and redirect is an important aspect of CQI that keeps me supportive.”

In the ensuing 22 years that Jordan has been on the Coffee Quality Institute’s board of trustees, the organization has taken that focus on people and made it their purpose. “Improving coffee quality and the lives of people who produce it” is the mission, and the true north of everything CQI does.

“CQI is an organization that stands with producers, and Ellen Jordan has been part of that focus and a tireless supporter,” Tina Yerkes, PhD, CEO of Coffee Quality Institute said. “We’re grateful for her confidence in our work and look forward to further serving the coffee community together.”

Jordan spoke of where in the industry she sees need.

“Longer term the industry must do a much better job of rewarding the intensive, hands-on care that producers dedicate to growing and processing coffee. We must make sure that families don’t want the next generation to leave the farm in order to earn a living, and sadly, we still have not found a way to resolve the fundamental disparity between compensation for producers and elsewhere in the value chain. I fear that unless we embrace the reality that we need to reward and compensate the passionate hardworking people for all the tremendous work they have done, the very viability of coffee production is in peril. Supporting Coffee Quality Institute with my time and effort, as well as financially, is the right way for me to continue to improve this industry about which I care so deeply.”

Join Ellen Jordan in support of Coffee Quality Institute here.