My day begins with a good cup of coffee. Just minutes after waking up, I stomp into the kitchen where I pause for a second, turn around to where the coffee corner is and cherish that one, short moment of (what I term) the pre-coffee experience. This is when I feel, like I can taste the coffee before I have even started preparing it. It is the moment where one’s imagination creates the magical cup of coffee that is needed to begin the day. I am sure that, professional coffee roasters, and growers will identify with this feeling most. They are the ones that search for that perfect bean using their imagination to create the coffee we buy and taste.
Without the growers, there are no roasters, without the roasters there are is no coffee. Simply by knowing where the bean originates from as well as understanding the coffee production line through to the final taste, that short and sweet coffee moment experience in the home, will mean more than just keeping awake. Through these blogs, I can only attempt to raise awareness of the coffee production line, bringing you closer to the growers and workers in developing nations that live a tougher life.
The Tough Life
My desire to seek out the origins of the bean, comes from my background where coffee was always around us. I grew up in a house where coffee was more than a drink. My grandmother arriving from the Mediterranean seas brought across with her the secrets of fortune telling through the cup. There were times when I was sitting around the kitchen table usually after a bigger than life dinner, listening attentively to my grandmother’s coffee cup fortune telling that she would revealed to her friends. It was a show that was made only possible through Greek Coffee. It was not just my grandmother who knew all that one could know about coffee, it was also my grandfather who still, to this day dictates how I should be making a frappe. This legacy goes on, with my father attaining a small cafe business, and my mother who can’t live without her home coffee machine. Evidently, my sister and I have both lived in the rich world of coffee.
It was not until, I had read an article in my father’s Beanscene magazine, that I thought I would begin this campaign in search for ethical standards, and generally raising awareness of the FairTrade Coffee Label. The article that I had read, was called, ‘Searching For the X-Factor’ and traces the experience of a coffee roaster, in Victoria. The interview with Nathan Johnson from Cartel Coffee, was a pleasure to read. He describes his travels to developing countries to find the best seed, trading directly with the farmers. He briefly explains that when the trade is fair, it impacts the final product positively. Then there was another story, that John Bowes describes in the preface of the book, ‘The Fair Trade Revolution,’ sharing the experience of giving a piece of chocolate to one of the workers in Ghana, who had never tasted the final product. These stories and many more are the reason that ethical coffee practices should be embraced. In all the stories that are shared through the media, there is one thing in common. As the FairTrade website states, most of the coffee consumed in Western nations derives in developing countries where the “cultivation of coffee accounts for the majority of foreign exchange earning of up to, 80 percent”. Through simple business practices and knowing where your coffee comes from, consumers can impact on creating better working conditions in developing nations.
BeanScene, ‘Searching for the X-Factor,’ August 2013, http://www.beanscenemag.com.au/articles/view/cartel-coffee-roasters-search-for-the-x-factor
Bowes J (eds), ‘The FairTrade Revolution’, Pluto Press, London, 2011, http://www.amazon.com/Fair-Trade-Revolution-John-Bowes/dp/0745330789
FairTrade, Coffee, http://www.fairtrade.net/coffee.html