Stories on a String


Hi, lovely to see you here! 

This is a journal with stories about;

coffee, people, nature, climate, transformation, research, dreams and hopes.

I am Milda, and this is my PhD project. 



The Coffee Story

In simplest terms coffee is just a berry; but it is a powerful berry. It is a natural resource, but it is much more than that too. 

Coffee is grown, traded and consumed by people, it can therefore not be detached from people. 



25 million people farm coffee for a living, many more consume it.

Coffee connects the world, it connects the farmers to the drinkers, the poor to the rich, the sub-tropical to the arctic. It connects businesses, countries, and cultures.

Yet, as much as the value chain connects, it also detaches people, places, values, and potential from one other.  



Yields are dropping in a changing climate, making coffee supply unstable and jeopardising livelihoods for millions of farmers. 

The Arabica varietal is the tastier option, but it is also the more sensitive one. Half the areas suitable for Arabica coffee now will not be able to produce it in 2050 due to climate change.



I do not think the market is a neutral place that simply sets the price based on the balance between demand and supply. It is so much more than that. 

The market is made by different actors; it is created by the thousands of choices and coincidences that result in exactly that cup of coffee in your hands.  

New collaborations are popping up in the coffee market. They are attempting to tackle the combination of an unethical trade legacy, increasing demand for quality, transparency, and a rapidly changing climate.




The Research Story

So what is the story of this one specific quality coffee value chain aiming for community transformation in Burundi and transparent long-term relationships in Oslo?

Each actor along the value chain plays a role in creating the innovations and the very same challenges the innovations are aimed at.


I will study the whole value chain; every stage from production in Burundi, to consumption in Oslo. 



The Change Story

Lastly, as interesting as coffee is, it is simply a platform to understand how actors relate to change. 

It is a way to understand how we in our daily lives while drinking coffee are producing both the market and the climate.  

What can the story of coffee teach us about transformations towards sustainability?