One of the main aims of UK Coffee Week in September 2010 will be to raise a million pounds to provide clean drinking water and education to poor communities in African coffee-producing countries.
The project has been conceived by Jeffrey Young of Allegra Strategies, the company which provides research on the coffee-shop market and also hosts trade seminars.
The charity initiative is called Project Waterfall, and it aims to raise funds by collecting voluntary 5p contributions at the tills of chain and independent coffee venues throughout the UK.
Beverage operators will be encouraged to operate an optional levy on drink prices to raise the money, telling consumers exactly what they are doing and why.
"Allegra's research reveals that UK consumers are extremely and generously receptive to Project Waterfall," says Jeffrey Young. "I am convinced that together we can all make a huge and valuable contribution. Our first target country is Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee, where an estimated 75 per cent of the population do not have access to safe drinking water."
The project comes under the banner of the Allegra Foundation, a registered charity with a board of independent trustees and advisors to handle the efficient use of funds. The next stage is to find a leading coffee drinking celebrity to be the ‘face' of the project.
"The majority of beverage industry leaders see this as a genuine opportunity to raise the profile of the industry, while also creating a valuable platform to collectively give back to extremely worthy causes."
In 2011, UK Coffee Week will also include a London Coffee & Tea Festival. Allegra will be approaching the mayor of London, to ask for his support for the festival which aims to put London on the map as the capital of coffee culture in Europe.
By Ian Boughton