Tribute to Paul Stauder Jr., Coffee Exporter 1975-2008

Paul Stauder was a coffee exporter that handled some of our best Guatemala coffees. Paul Stauder was murdered while bringing the payroll to his family coffee farm on December 6, 2008. I pasted the email I received via Ian at Volcafe below. As you can see from the email, it is a very, very sad situation.

I had some time with Paul this year on my first of 2 trips to Guatemala. We cupped at Waelti's offices, and went out to San Jose Ocana. Later we went to see Armando at El Trinidad in San Jose Pinula. That's the picture below ... we had a great picnic lunch on the farm and Armando brought a bottle of the Guatemalan coffee farmer's favorite beverage: Johnny Walker Red. I can't drink at lunch, so I secretly poured mine out when they weren't looking. What a wimp I am - and definitely NOT like Paul in that way. He seemed to really enjoy being on the farm, and I think that's why he could handle the office end of the exporter job ... the fact he still got out to the farms.

I definitely wasn't a close friend of Paul, and certainly not an important client ... I know many people who worked closely with him. But he helped us source some great coffees, and would pursue a tiny, tiny 8 bag lot for us while I knew his chief concern was shipping containers. He was a kinda a preppie in that somewhat upper crust Central America way, and I must have looked raggedy and sloppy to him. I bet he wondered what kind of company could THIS guy own. But in fact he was our champion, and I think he was probably that way with farmers as well. After all he was a farmer. It really impressed me to hear about the agriculture college in Honduras that he went to, a real "ag school boot camp", and it sounds like he bent the rules to get off the compound when he could.

I wanted to make a page for him partly because it's behind-the-scenes people like Paul that help us get great coffee, and the term "middleman" has acquired a bad connotation. Paul was a "middleman". We wouldn't exist without "middlemen" and Paul was a great liaison to farmers. There's a supply chain in coffee and Paul was one of the important links in that chain. He will be missed... -Thomspon 12.9.2008

Dear All

Most regretfully have to inform about the demise of Paul Stauder junior.

Apparently Paul and his father went to their farm by helicopter to pay the workers and got into an ambush. The murders were obviously after the money they were carrying, knowing they were on their bi-weekly tour to pay the field workers. After landing in the farm, Paul and his father were attacked by a group of criminals, who were hidden in the coffee plantation. In the attack Paul was very badly wounded by gun shots but still could regain the Helicopter piloted by his father.

The aim was to bring Paul to the Capital for medical assistance, but on the way there Paul died.

For his family and his wife his death is a tragedy of unbelievable sorrow. His wife is pregnant with twins and Paul was looking forward so much to become a father in next March/April. The death of Paul is an enormous loss, he was only 33 years old, a very lovely person, highly committed to our business and company. He has built our Guatemalan specialty business most successfully and was in charge of procurement in one of the most important origin of the division.

He was a great friend of all of us and our sadness makes us speechless and we cant believe why he had to go so early.