Coffee Tales Special: UK Coffee Week 2020

Welcome to the Bear Essentials Coffee Tales series, this time we are looking at a very special tale as part of UK Coffee Week 2020.

UK Coffee Week

Celebrating its 10th year UK Coffee Week is a week in which we as an industry have a chance to focus on supporting and publicizing the work of Project Waterfall, a charity focused on providing fresh and safe water to coffee growing regions. 

Since 2011 Project Waterfall has raised over £1 million and impacted tens of thousands of lives. But they are a lot more ambitious than that, focused on growing and spreading the word Project Waterfall want to raise a further £1.5 million and help 50,000 more people in need all before the end of 2021. No small goal, but a very worthy one. 

We at Bear Essentials want to be a part of that, but we realise that the world is a very different place right now, usually we would do something active to encourage donations, and head out to support local coffee spots in taking part in the week.

But like so many out there we are limited in our ability to do so, with our entire household immunocompromised, you can imagine our usual trips to see our friends and Coffee family are off the board right now. So for our part we are bringing you a special coffee tale, to shine a light on why you should be supporting UK Coffee Week and Project Waterfall in any way you can.

Time for a Coffee Tale

Note: As is usually the case, the people and places of this article are fictitious, the stories and circumstances depicted however, are all too real.

We aren’t going to travel back in time for this tale, indeed all we are going to do is take a quick trip over to Africa, the beautiful land that gave us coffee in the first place. 

Here we arrive at a small village in Rwanda, this village is pretty spartan, though we can see several fields around it growing “cash crops” along with some wheat, livestock and barley for food. Kids play in the street, or attend a small school house in the centre of the village.

We can even see a small coffee wet mill and the beautiful sight of drying beds for the processed coffee (if you want to know more about this check out coffee processing). The place seems to be pretty well set up for producing quality green coffee beans.

Inside a Coffee Wet Mill

What we don’t see at first glance is what is not there. The houses we see have no water supply. Indeed barring the very basic necessary irrigation for the fields, the village has no water. No tap, not even a well in the square. 

If we linger for a while we can see the children come out of their morning’s school time, and instead of playing and relaxing, they join up with a couple of women from the village and set out with a stock of buckets and random containers. We can watch as this troupe trudges through the heat of the afternoon to reach a local stream, a trip taking 2 hours there and another 2 back, we can see the buckets and containers filled ever so carefully with the water.

Water may come from a tap for us, but not here.

Through the magic of my narrative prowess, we can even zoom into that, oh so precious, water and see the microbes in it, the terribly unhealthy, even dangerous microbes…

This place has no fresh water at all. None. 

I really want to break the narrative here, and ask you to think hard on this one. Imagine that even with back breaking work and constant effort, the only water you can use and drink is likely to make you sick. Every day. 

This is the reality of many of the regions that produce our coffee, some 785,000,000 (yes 785 million) people around the world don’t have access to clean, safe water. Many of these people live in the countries and regions that produce the green bean crop that becomes your favourite latte or flat white. 

They work long days, they use what local water sources they have to irrigate and process the coffee cherries, so they can earn the money (sometimes painfully little money, but that’s another article) from selling them on. They and their children get regularly sick from the poor water that they can access.

The reality of a less than ideal water source.

Back to UK Coffee Week

This is the life of our fictional village, more importantly it’s the life of oh so many very real villages, towns and farms around the world. 

Pretty sobering story there Bear! 

It is indeed. This cold and harsh reality is why Bear Essentials will always support UK Coffee Week. 

What Can You Do?

Well you can tune in to UK Coffee Week on the net, on social media here are the links.


Facebook Page



See what events and ideas are announced, and take part where you can. Unlike other years we may need to do more than just purchase our coffee from those businesses taking part, we may need to take part in online events, or make some straight up donations.

Please, please, do. We are all too aware of the tough times that dominate 2020, and we totally respect that we all face a lot of challenges. But please don’t let those issues prevent you from taking a moment to address one of the most cold and unacceptable inequalities still to exist in our world. Fresh, safe water should never, ever be so hard to get. 

That’s it from Bear Essentials this time, we’d love you to share the word on UK coffee week, and thanks for taking the time to read. 

There is an old Chinese curse “May you live in interesting times” and we certainly are. So please, do what you can, stay safe, and be well.

About Bear Essentials Coffee

If you have enjoyed this or any of my writing please check out my Homepage to find out more about me and my work. Follow the blog and if you feel you can, drop a donation to support my work.

Thanks, – Bear

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