Coffee can bring ‘positive social change’

Coffee can bring ‘positive social change’

There is a lot of passion in coffee, and trainer Raf Mlodzianowski is one man that believes coffee can really make a difference.

Mlodzianowski, who has joined European Coffee Expo as a consultant and is now a Coffee Business World columnist, argues that coffee can be used as a vehicle for “positive social change.”

“I think it’s about the people and there is a lot of passion in coffee. It can be a good vehicle for change,” he says.

“We can all start to be a little more conscious about where we purchase our coffee from. Is it ethical? Is the farmer actually getting rewarded? If everyone starts asking, this can have huge impact for the poorer economies."

He has strong opinions on the sector especially in areas of transparency, sustainability and future-proofing.

All these link, he argues, to the fact that the cost of living needs to be factored into the price of coffee throughout the supply chain from the farmer to the barista salary to the coffee shop.

“Green coffee has to go up in price because these countries are not poor anymore. The cost of living in Africa and the cost of living in Latin America is all going up and coffee economies are booming. Coffee is also becoming more expensive in India as its economy is booming,” he added.

“If we start looking at transparency and coffee reflecting the cost of living for the farmers, washing stations, the baristas and the coffee shop owner, then we can start to look at a sustainable industry.”

Another area he feels strongly about is how to make the industry sustainable for cafe owners with the barista shortages.

“Take the good baristas that you have. Keep a few key staff, pay them better, and then look into using some automation,” he suggests.

He is known for his strong opinions and expertise in the sector. He got a love for coffee early in his career. While working in bars and coffee shops, including a gap year in Greece, he gained a love for speciality coffee, starting with Illy. He was 19.

After studying film, he worked in the film and TV business. His first job was with a film crew that all drank Monmouth Coffee. In between jobs, it was working in the hospitality sector that kept him afloat.

After a stint in pre-production and assistant directing roles, the recession hit the sector and he took a year abroad in Europe. When heading back to London he decided to go back into the hospitality sector working for Fernandez & Wells.

“I wanted to work with better products and I started getting better at coffee and wine. I decided that I wanted to move into coffee and started moving around and working in head barista jobs,” he says.

While at Flat White Milk Bar he took his AST licence and his training consultancy beckoned. He started working part-time at Prufrock as a specialty trainer and his first consultancy role was with St Clements. Three-and-a-half years later, he is known as the man who has his finger on the pulse of the sector.

He is still excited by the coffee industry and is working with European Coffee Expo for its 2019 event. He supports the event, which he calls “unique” as it is targeted at trade-only with workshops and panel discussions on issues for the whole sector from independent coffee chains to large corporates.

He will be working with the Expo to ensure that the content of the sessions provides something for everyone.

He has praised plans for the Expo to have both a tea zone and soft drinks area, which will make it easier for those attending to be able to target their visit.

“You don’t just go to coffee shops and buy a coffee, there will be tea, iced tea and other drinks,” he says.


  • For more information on European Coffee Expo, contact Sukhvir Hayre on +44 (0) 203 668 9809 or email and check out stand and sponsorship options.


  • Raf Mlodzianowski is a Certified Arabica Q Grader and an SCA Authorised Trainer (AST) in brewing, barista, sensory, green and roasting skills. 


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