You have arrived at the home of Ecsta­tic Expres­sion Stu­dios. I, Jimmy Canali am the busi­ness leader, artist and cre­ative pro­ducer here at EE Stu­dios. My first mis­sion is to invite you to believe that you can make a dif­fer­ence, that you are cre­ative, and that you have a voice that matters.

I do this through a vari­ety of artis­tic & cre­ative projects as well as speak­ing, teach­ing, encour­ag­ing through com­mu­nity work­shops, speak­ing events and sem­i­nars. These are in-depth times full of new per­spec­tives, and activ­i­ties that engage com­mu­ni­ties to think, cre­ate and take action. I part­ner with a diverse net­work of lead­ers, and entre­pre­neurs from around the world to run these events and have an exten­sive lead­er­ship and pub­lic speak­ing resume. View LinkedIn page to see experience.

What’s New in 2015?

Cof­fee Hub In this new seg­ment with EE Stu­dios, I will be intro­duc­ing the online and local com­mu­ni­ties to the story and tastes of cof­fee. A lot of what I am ini­ti­at­ing here is a learn­ing jour­ney and invit­ing you to come along side me as we learn and share together.

Lead­er­ship Par­a­digms – This is going to be a new sec­tion of EE blog arti­cles that will nur­ture, chal­lenge and encour­age those will­ing to become great lead­ers. I will share about my jour­ney as a grow­ing leader, the mis­takes, the chal­lenges, the suc­cesses.  With the inten­tion to facil­i­tate lead­ers to be part of fuel­ing the joy of build­ing great teams in the marketplace.


Read through the blogs, and inter­act with the ini­tia­tives. It starts here on the blogs, but will roll out into cre­ative and entre­pre­neur­ial meet ups around the world!  I look for­ward to gath­er­ing together to dream, express, and take action.

I encour­age you to reach out about your excit­ing, cre­ative and busi­ness projects, I am always look­ing to col­lab­o­rate and would love to know more about what your doing.



Recent Posts

Coffee Masters @ Starbucks — Ethical Sourcing


This is the first cof­fee post I have writ­ten on Ecsta­tic Expres­sion.  This is a longer arti­cle, but if you are inter­ested in cof­fee talk, there is more com­ing.  I have been think­ing about how to incor­po­rate all the great stuff that is going on in the cof­fee and cafe world where I work, so I thought I would start with an ini­tial post on eth­i­cal sourc­ing for those of you who asked.  I look for­ward to bring­ing a cof­fee and busi­ness lead­er­ship dimen­sion to Ecsta­tic Expres­sion over this next year (as I revamp the site in gen­eral).  So grab a cup of cof­fee and let’s begin.

Jimmy’s Cof­fee Begin­nings

I had my first sip of cof­fee from my par­ents cof­fee at a young age, while I was liv­ing in upstate New York.  Dis­turbed by this brew, mainly because it wasn’t that good it would be another ten years till cof­fee and myself would move beyond gas sta­tion vaca­tion drinks.

At six­teen I got my start in the cof­fee and culi­nary world at a local shop in where I was then liv­ing Gree­ley, CO, called the Bread Board Bak­ery and Cafe.  It was then that I had my first sip of Lavazza Espresso. Lavazza is a 100 year old Ital­ian cof­fee com­pany.  The espresso was ok, I remem­ber when I took a shot of it though, it was like cross­ing a thresh­old, I had crossed a line into a world of coffee.

Years later, in 2013 I started work­ing with Star­bucks.  I was attracted to the cul­ture, the high class cater­ing to cus­tomers, and the rich cof­fee his­tory, and respect the com­pany had for it’s partners.

It was at my first store just down from the Col­orado Rock­ies base­ball sta­dium in Den­ver, CO that I met my first cof­fee mas­ter.  My friend Ethan, showed me how to taste cof­fee, told me sto­ries of how cof­fee got it’s begin­nings and led me through the dif­fer­ences in each bean.

Cof­fee mas­ters for those who are won­der­ing is a pro­gram that takes a barista through an intense course about cof­fee grow­ing, cof­fee his­tory, cof­fee pro­cess­ing, and cof­fee roast­ing. So when you see a Star­bucks part­ner in a black apron you can ask those cof­fee ques­tions you have always won­dered about.

Eth­i­cal Sourcing

Last week June 25th, I led a sem­i­nar as part of “the last ten feet” of my cof­fee mas­ter cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.  I talked largely about eth­i­cal sourc­ing and Star­bucks role in cre­at­ing a new stan­dard for the cof­fee indus­try around eth­i­cal sourc­ing.  I tack­led ques­tions like why is all of Star­bucks cof­fee not Fair Trade?  What is Fair Trade cof­fee? What about organic cer­ti­fied cof­fee?  What are Star­bucks sour­ing principles?

In this post I will give an overview of what I dis­cussed, and hope­fully build some con­ver­sa­tion around cof­fee, with the Ecsta­tic Expres­sion, Star­bucks, and online cof­fee community.

The big themes I have learned about cof­fee and about Star­bucks is that cof­fee is all about rela­tion­ships, rela­tion­ships with plants, with peo­ple and with the planet…It’s big­ger than cof­fee, but cof­fee is where we connect.


Start with this video:

First I want to cover the roles involved in grow­ing cof­fee and the dif­fer­ent type of farm­ers and sup­pli­ers we do busi­ness with as Starbucks.

Intro­duc­ing the play­ers on the cof­fee network:

Intro­duce the play­ers in the cof­fee net­work: SSC: Star­bucks Sup­port Center—leadership HQ, and the base of Green Cof­fee Qual­ity Team.

GCQ: Seat­tle, Washington

  • Man­ages recipes
  • Cof­fee prod­uct development
  • Deter­mines stan­dards for cof­fee and busi­ness needs for blends

SCTC –Star­bucks Cof­fee Trad­ing Com­pany in Switzerland

  • Respon­si­ble for global pur­chase of coffee
  • Nego­ti­at­ing con­tracts for the pur­chase of coffee
  • Goal: Build­ing rela­tion­ships with Farmers

FSC—Farmer Sup­port Cen­ters (Costa Rica, Rwanda, China, …)

  • On the ground team of experts in soil, crop pro­duc­tion and pro­cess­ing coffee.
  • Help imple­ment our eth­i­cal guide­lines for cof­fee producers.

Types of Farms and Suppliers:

Small­holder farms—major­ity of cof­fee is grown on farms 5–12 acres big, but can be big­ger around 70-100acres.


  • Con­sist of 100–15,000 farms that join together to help pro­mote and sell their coffee.
  • These groups are cen­tered around a mill or pro­cess­ing facility.

Note: Cof­fee is grown on trees and its fruit ripens to look like a cherry, once har­vested it is sent to a pro­cess­ing facil­ity, which removes the pulp of the fruit off the green cof­fee bean.

Estates – com­bin­ing farm­ing and processing.

Exporters—buy from all the farms and can often be help­ful for all parties.

Where the cof­fee crop has come from over the last 100 years:

Soon after Kaladi dis­cov­ered cof­fee in Ethopia around 800 AD, it was pro­lif­er­ated in the Arab world (more on cof­fee ori­gin in another post), and it spread and grew from there.

How­ever, here began the abuse that the “pow­er­ful” nations of the time instilled with hor­ri­ble prac­tices that would last centuries.

A snap shot of this can be seen in the Brazil­ian pop­u­la­tion in the mid 19th cen­tury which grew to one-third slaves, over a mil­lion slaves in forced labor.

Then in Guatemala –the indige­nous (Mayan Toltec) peo­ple destroyed and forced into “penal colonies”

For the most part where cof­fee went—slave labor and human abuse followed

Telling a Dif­fer­ent Story

Star­bucks™ Shared Planet™ is the ban­ner of our focused ini­tia­tives in the core areas where we have the biggest influ­ence – eth­i­cal sourc­ing, envi­ron­men­tal stew­ard­ship and com­mu­nity involvement.

One big piece of our story in global con­ser­va­tion is through our eth­i­cal sourcing—how we buy and do busi­ness with cof­fee suppliers.

There are 5 major com­po­nents of Star­bucks Eth­i­cal Sourcing

First pay­ing a pre­mium price that high qual­ity Ara­bica cof­fee deserves.

  • Ara­bica cof­fee isn’t about a geo­graph­i­cal loca­tion but a species of high alti­tude cof­fee typ­i­cally grown 1500 feet and above.
  • Ara­bica makes up for 60% of the global pur­chase of coffee.
  • While Robusta beans makes up 40%. Robusta beans are grown because they are eas­ier to main­tain and are cheaper, how­ever, they are incred­i­bly infe­rior in taste and fla­vor profile.
  • Our goal is to have a win-win and build long-term relationships.

The sec­ond com­po­nent is pro­vid­ing afford­able credit.

  • Cof­fee is a sea­sonal crop; cof­fee farm­ers often expe­ri­ence a short­age of cash before their harvests.
  • We sup­port non-profits and other orga­ni­za­tions that pro­vide afford­able credit to farm­ers allow­ing them not to aban­don their crop or sell before the cof­fee crop peak, increas­ing their over­all profit.

Third com­po­nent is Eth­i­cal Buy­ing Guidelines

  • A big part of ini­tial work with the non-profit Con­ser­va­tion Inter­na­tional was cre­at­ing eth­i­cal buy­ing guide­lines as well as farmer practices.
  • We call them by the acronym C.A.F.E prac­tices stand­ing for Cof­fee and Farmer Equity practices.
  • Which have 24 social and envi­ron­men­tal cri­te­ria with more than 200 indi­ca­tors that are inspected by third par­ties. (99% of our cof­fee is now eth­i­cally sourced as of 2014).
  • There are 4 parts of our Cof­fee and Farmer Equity Practices:

The first two per-requisites…

  • Prod­uct Qual­ity (it must be high qual­ity Ara­bica beans that meet our taste stan­dards for each grow­ing region).
  • Eco­nomic Account­abil­ity –Trans­parency is essen­tial – sup­pli­ers are required to sub­mit evi­dence of pay­ments made for green cof­fee (un-roasted) cof­fee through­out the cof­fee sup­ply chain, includ­ing receipts that show much was directly paid to farm­ers for their coffee.

The sec­ond two are eval­u­ated, mea­sured, and can have the help of Farmer Sup­port Centers.

  • Social Respon­si­bil­ity – which includes cre­at­ing humane work­ing con­di­tions, pro­tect­ing the rights of work­ers, pay­ing min­i­mum wage and address­ing any child or forced labor/discrimination issues.
  • Envi­ron­men­tal lead­er­ship—mea­sures must be in place to man­age waste, pro­tect water qual­ity, con­serve water and energy, pre­serv­ing bio­di­ver­sity and reduc­ing chem­i­cal use.
  • The fourth part of Eth­i­cal sourc­ing is a focus on organic and cer­ti­fied organic. Which is the when no pes­ti­cides, her­bi­cides, fungi­cides, or chem­i­cal fer­til­iz­ers were used dur­ing the grow­ing process.
  • Organic farm­ing aims to develop ecosys­tems capa­ble of man­ag­ing pests, dis­eases, and com­pet­ing veg­e­ta­tion naturally.
  • It can be incred­i­bly expense and farm­ers can lose up to half their pro­duc­tion con­vert­ing to cer­ti­fied organic, all the while meet­ing Star­bucks taste stan­dards. How­ever, organic prac­tices are con­stantly used when grow­ing cof­fee and seek­ing improve­ment that’s sus­tain­able and healthy.

The fifth part of Eth­i­cal Sourc­ing of Cof­fee is our con­tin­ued part­ner­ship with Con­ser­va­tion International.

  • Star­bucks in 1998 began a rela­tion­ship with the glob­ally rec­og­nized non-profit Con­ser­va­tion International.
  • We con­tinue to develop projects to tackle global cli­mate change and pro­tect sur­round­ing envi­ron­ments where cof­fee is grown; they do this with cal­cu­lated and focused projects on a very large scale.
  • Star­bucks and first teamed on a project in Mex­ico in one of there nat­ural reserves to pro­tect 300,000 acres of rain­for­est and a rich cof­fee grow­ing community.
  • Part of that is using prac­tices to grow Ara­bica cof­fee trees in par­tial shade under the canopy of trees, which is the best envi­ron­ment for sup­port­ing bio-diversity as well as the cof­fee, rather than plow­ing down the forest.


The goal of Fair-Trade cer­ti­fi­ca­tion is to:

  • Empower small­holder farm­ers belong­ing to coop­er­a­tives to invest in farms and communities.
  • Pro­tect the environment.
  • Develop the busi­ness skills nec­es­sary to com­pete in the global marketplace.
  • We are the largest pur­chaser of Fair-Trade Cer­ti­fied Cof­fee in the spe­cialty cof­fee world.

The rea­son not all of Star­bucks cof­fee is fair-trade cer­ti­fied is multi-fold.

  • Fair-trade deals largely just with Co-operatives and the devel­op­ment of Farm­ers in Coop­er­a­tives (though there are ini­tia­tives for small­holder farms they are starting).
  • Fair-trade cov­ers one sec­tion of the cof­fee bean jour­ney while Star­bucks has a holis­tic approach that goes through­out from seed to cup and out into communities.
  • 99% of Star­bucks cof­fee was cer­ti­fied by a third party as been eth­i­cally sourced with C.A.F.E. prac­tices in 2014.
  • We also have opened up how we source our cof­fee to the cof­fee world at large and it has laid a foun­da­tion for third wave coffee.

Shared Planet Wrap Around

  • Where we buy our food is one of our largest and loud­est polit­i­cal, social, and envi­ron­men­tal votes we can take every­day. It matters.
  • I want encour­age debate, con­ver­sa­tion, and edu­ca­tion. This is just an intro, and I am still learning.

It’s big­ger than cof­fee, but cof­fee is where we connect.

Links to explore more:

Future posts will cover: Cof­fee His­tory, How to Taste Cof­fee, Dif­fer­ent Brew Methods.

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