|Producing Coffee||Making The Perfect Cup|
|Nestlé & Friends||Coffee Makers|
|Finding Fair Trade Coffee||Recipe|
|Starbucks Coffee Sizes||Preserving Flavour|
|Cost of a Cup of Coffee||Caffeine|
They hire people to oversee the slaves. Unlike slaves of old, these slaves don’t even get enough to eat.
Just what work do these slaves do? They grow and pick coffee, bean by bean, for a pound — a price lower than it was even in the depression days of the 1930s.
Coffee-drinking you are an unwitting slave owner.
Perhaps you might consider being outrageously generous and paying the grower a pound instead of .
If you are willing to do that, all you have to do is buy coffee marked as Fair Trade. Ask for it at restaurants and grocery stores. There are many different brands to choose from.
It will set you back a cup.
If you ask me, people who knowingly keep slaves to save $0.02 a cup on coffee are sick.
It’s easy. Just say, I’d like a cup of Fair Trade coffee please.
Even fair traded is not all that fair. It primarily kicks in when the international price of coffee drops below $1.20 US a pound to put a floor under the prices. However, coffee can still sell at $30.00 US a pound to consumers. Graph of Fair trade prices.
Coffee is big business. It is the leading crop traded on the international market. It is the most valuable international commodity next to oil. Volunteering a cup extra for Fair Trade coffee makes a tremendous difference to the grower.
Producing coffee takes a number of steps:
Nestlé, Kraft and Proctor & Gamble between and a few other large coffee companies pretty much control all coffee in the world, doing business under a bewildering array of brand names. As multinational corporations, they have no consciences and have but one goal — maximise profit. To do that they use every means imaginable to depress the prices they pay the farmers for coffee. In Ethiopia they pay about per 1 kg (2.20 lbs) for premium coffee they sell for over in the west. In the days of slavery, a slaveowner had to provide sufficient food and lodging to keep his slaves alive and sufficiently healthy to work. Today he does not. The coffee farmers in Ethiopia (where the finest quality coffee comes from) routinely die of starvation.
In Central America after prices plummeted, Nestlé paid per 453.59 grams (1 lb). However it cost the farmers to grow. These dirt poor farmers had to lose money, hoping for better times, or give up entirely. Nestlé has unfair advantage of the poorest of the poor. They have no conscience. They don’t deserve to stay in business. Please do not buy your coffee from them, not even instant coffee powder.
It is more than just coffee where the Africans fail to get a fair shake. We in the west have really screwed over the Africans so they get poorer and poorer every year. For example, in North America and Europe, we subsidize our farmers to make it difficult for African exporters of agricultural goods to compete. However, using the leverage of the IMF (International Monetary Fund), we have forced all African nations to drop similar agricultural subsidies. That makes it easy for America and European exporters of grain to undercut native African farmers. You think we would cut the Africans a break. Instead we take advantage of them my enforcing a tilted playing field.
|recommend DVD⇒Black Gold|
|by||Marc Francis and Nick Francis [director]|
|Documentary about the international coffee trade. Partly it just follows Tadesse Meskela, the head of an Ethiopian fair trade coffee co-operative around as he explains the coffee business, including its economics. You get to see the actual coffee farmers and how they live, literally starving to death. You see wraith-like children with legs so skinny they look like space beings. It is like movies from Hitler’s death camps, only in colour. It then cuts to tubby Americans and Europeans guzzling coffee at hugely inflated prices in tony coffee shops. The growers are not stupid at all. They eloquently make the case to the camera for paying them a fair price for coffee. You find out what utter bastards the big coffee companies like Nestlés are. Their greed, ruthlessness and crueltly is beyond belief. They make Ebenezer Scrooge look like Santa Claus. See the website blackgoldmovie.com.|
|Greyed out stores probably do not have the item in stock|
We buy Creekmore coffee at the local supermarket. It is roasted here on Vancouver Island in Qualicum Beach. Another great local brand is Salt Spring made on nearby Salt spring Island.
You can get Clipper fair trade, organic instant coffee. The coffee is grown in Papua New Guinea and is packed in Germany. This is the best instant coffee I have ever tasted. It hits you with a delicious coffee aroma just opening the jar — expensive but fun. Even Starbucks now offers one fair trade blend they call Café Estima. To their credit, it is one of their least expensive offerings.
To find out where to get it from a source near you try searching for fair trade coffee.
Since I wrote this essay, Fair Trade coffee has become ubiquitous, at least here in Victoria. Grocery stores carry many brands, and every public event serves fair trade coffee.
The international fair trade certifying organisation is called Fairtrade International. The Canadian fair trade certifying organisation is called Fairtrade.ca aka Transfair. They maintain lists of certified coffee roasting companies. They audit to make sure the coffee truly is fair trade. They also provide similar certification for fair trade chocolate, tea, sugar, tropical fruits, and soccer balls. There is some phony fair trade stuff out there. If you don’t see either of these two certification logos, be suspicious. Most of the world’s fair trade certification groups are in the process of converting to the international logo.
|Starbucks Coffee Sizes|
|710 mls||1½ US pints||venti||applies to cold drinks.|
|592 mls||1¼ US pints||venti||applies to hot drinks. Italian for twenty.|
|473 mls||2 US cups||grande||pronounced grawnday, Italian for big.|
|355 mls||1½ US cups||tall||What you get if you ask for a small or regular.|
|237 mls||8.01 fl oz||short||To get it you must ask for short, not small.|
If you claim you can’t afford fair trade coffee, just cut back on your consumption. The easiest way to do that is to scale back on the size of your cup:
|venti||710 mls||1½ US pints|
|grande||473 mls||2 US cups|
|tall||355 mls||1½ US cups|
|mug||250 mls||8.45 fl oz|
|short||237 mls||8.01 fl oz|
|cup||177 mls||5.99 fl oz|
|small cup||150 mls||5.07 fl oz|
|demitasse||75 mls||2.54 fl oz|
You don’t know how big you cup is? Fill it with water and pour it into a kitchen measuring cup.
Just how much does a cup of coffee cost? Here is my raw data:
So a cup of spectacularly good coffee you make at home sets you back for the coffee beans, for each serving of cream, and for each serving of sugar. Compare that with a cup of Starbucks or a cup an a restaurant. Most often there is no additional cost for Fair Trade, but even when there is, it amounts to only a few pennies a cup. When people complain the tiny premium for fair trade, but have no problem with Starbucks prices, it means there is something other than the money at play.
It takes about 15 trees 1.83 metres (6 ft) tall to produce enough coffee for one person. The grower has to pick the coffee bean by bean. For all this work, even with fair trade, the grower gets just a pound.
A decade ago, fair trade coffee was hard to find, but where I live now, nearly all coffee is fair trade, at least the beans roasted locally. It an embarrassment of riches. There all kinds of specialty coffees. I have tried Kicking Horse Coffee, Salt Spring Coffee and Van Houtte. They are all excellent. Level Ground is delicious but the fair trade credentials are not as clear. My roommate and I consider the Ethiopian Harrar, with notes of Cherry, Tamarind and Cocoa as the best coffee ever. The Solstice Café ; introduced us to it. You can get it from the Fernwood Coffee Company. McDonalds makes the best coffee for a fast food outlet, but it is not fair trade. I don’t like dark French roasts. I would not start with them if you are just beginning to try something new. Snobs eschew Robusta beans, mainly because they are less expensive. They have that pleasant breakfast coffee smell. Just because a coffee is organic does not mean is Fair Trade and vice versa, so check the labels. You can sometimes be seduced by all the earthy imagery in the ads into presuming both.
When I was a teen I became a coffee snob much like a wine snob, showing off by telling people what their blends were composed of, and hosting a coffee tasting party where I served rare coffees from all over the world. I was popular in student residence because I had mastered the art of making the perfect cup of coffee. The odour would attract people who appeared at my door on all manner of pretexts.
If you buy tea you probably should not drink anything but organic. They spray the leaves with insecticide daily, and you consume the leaves. With coffee it is not so important because the coffee bean is inside a sweet cherry-like fruit, which is discarded. However, you don’t want to poison the nice people who grow your coffee.
In the olden days, coffee always came in 453.59 grams (1 lb) bags. Now it comes is many sizes. When you buy coffee beans, compute the cost per gram, not the cost per bag. Many websites do not tell you how much their bags contain. You have to ask. This is a dishonest business practice, but unfortunately widespread.
|Packing sizes for Fair Trade Coffee Beans|
|Metric Weight||Imperial Weight||Notes|
|100 grams||3.53 oz||sampler|
|226 grams||7.97 oz||sampler|
|226.80 grams||8 oz||USA sampler|
|300 grams||10.58 oz||sampler|
|340 grams||11.99 oz||for specialty blends|
|370 grams||13.05 oz|
|400 grams||14.11 oz|
|453.59 grams||1 lb||USA standard|
|907.18 grams||2 lbs||USA double size bag|
|1 kg||2.20 lbs||large|
|2 kg||4.41 lbs||custom roast order|
|2.27 kg||5 lbs||USA large|
You will notice a predominance of BC and Canadian suppliers below. There are two reasons for this.
A number of suppliers offer a coffee-of-the-month subscription. If you don’t know what you like yet, this is a fun way to find out.
Happily, this list as growing so fast and so long it will soon be obsolete. It will be like telling you where you can get baked beans.
|Where To Buy Coffee Beans Online|
|49th Parallel Roasters||Burnaby||BC||not fair trade.|
|Aroma Coffees||Quadra Island||BC||Wholesale only or drop in.|
|Arco||Superior||WI||Fair trade organic and ordinary. Jamaican blue mountain, Hawaiian Kona, green beans, small sample bags.|
|Bean North||Yukon||YT||Fair trade and organic.|
|Birds and Beans||Etobicoke||ON||Fair trade, shade grown.|
|Canterbury reSIProcate||Richmond||BC||Fair trade and organic.|
|Dean’s Beans||Orange||MA||Fair trade, organic.|
|Doi Chaang||Vancouver||BC||coffee from Thailand. Have a program called Beyond Fair Trade.|
|Earth’s Choice||Vancouver||BC||Fair trade organic. Head office is in Vancouver. Beans are roasted in Toronto.|
|Ethical Bean||Burnaby||BC||Fair trade organic and Kosher. Some as low as for a 340 grams (11.99 oz) bag.|
|Fair Grounds||Toronto||ON||Fair trade organic.|
|Fernwood Coffee||Victoria||BC||Sell Ethiopian Harrar, the best coffee I have ever tasted. The packaging is quite classy, nice for gifts. It costs them so much they give you a discount if you refill your old bag.|
|Fire Roasted Coffee||London||ON||Fair trade organic and ordinary.|
|Just Us Coffee||Grand Pré||NS||Co-operative founded in 1995 selling fair trade.|
|Grab A Java||Mission||BC||Fair trade organic.|
|Kicking Horse Coffee||Invermere||BC||All coffees are Certified Organic, Fair Trade, Shade Grown, Arabica beans roasted in Canada. This one of the more popular retail brands where I live. You can buy online, though the button to do so is not prominent, off to the far right after you hit ordering info in the fine print. It’s as though they don’t really want you ordering online.|
|Level Ground||Victoria||BC||They have a fair trade scheme, but not a certified one. This lets them offer lower prices. My roommate particularly likes their low acid Bolivian. It a mild aromatic coffee.|
|Marley Coffee||Kingston||Jamaica||Bob Marley, Jamaican theme, including of course Jamaican blue mountain and Ethiopian coffees.|
|MolaMola||Kingston||ON||Fair trade organic|
|Organic Fair||Cobble Hill||BC||Fair trade chocolate (excellent), coffee, spices. Make chocolate bars direct from beans.|
|Pacific Coffee Roasters||Vancouver||BC||Fair trade organic. to for a 340.19 grams (12 oz) bag.|
|Planet Bean||Guelph||ON||Fair trade organic|
|Reunion Island||Oakville||ON||Fair trade organic and ordinary coffee.|
|Rhodos||Courtenay||BC||Fair trade and organic|
|Salt Spring Coffee||Salt Spring Island||BC||certified organic and fair trade. Popular retail brand in Victoria BC where I live. Have a sampling subscription program.|
|Starbucks||Seattle||WA||Café Estima is fair trade; the other offerings are not|
|Strictly Organic||Bend||OR||Fair trade organic. It is primarily a café with only a limited number of coffee offerings.|
|Sweetwater Organic Coffee||Gainesville||FL||All coffees are Certified USDA Organic, High Altitude Shade Grown, Specialty-grade Arabica|
|Transcend Coffee||Edmonton||AB||They pay more than Fair Trade prices, but this is not certified.|
|Van Houtte||Montréal||QC||Fair trade organic.|
Given how easy it is to make excellent coffee, it is a wonder people put up with so much awful brew. Here’s how to do it.
|Melitta filter coffee maker|
|Bodum aka French Press|
|Trudeau silcone spatula|
I find the milder, cheaper beans such as Mocha Java, Brazilian, Guatemalan, Kenyan and Kona make a mellower coffee. Add a little Dark French if you want to give it a Starbucks bite.
To make the perfect cup of coffee, make sure you wipe out the grinder with a Kleenex after use so you will have no coffee grounds going stale to spoil the next batch.
Adding a subliminal pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove or ginger or a drop of organic vanilla or orange juice can add a little interest. Be subtle. People should just barely be able to tell the coffee is different, not how.
Wipe a touch of orange essence around the rim of the cup, and watch eyes pop with delight.
Of course you want to use fair trade coffee, both because you get the higher quality beans that way, and to play fair with the people who grow the beans for you.
Direct Trade gives the grower 20% above that.
Also look for shade-grown coffee. The rainforest canopy is not destroyed which supports the birds and animals. Mass production coffee farms remove the rainforest cover purely for convenience.
Fair-trade shade-grown coffee is very popular in Victoria where I live.
It is fairly easy to get a company or government office to switch. It does not cost much, and is good for public relations.
Coffee is big business. It is the leading crop traded on the international market. It is the most valuable international commodity next to oil.
To find out where to get it from a source near you try searching for fair trade coffee. To find out where to get it from a source near you try searching for fair trade coffee.
The international fair trade certifying organisation is called FLO. The Canadian fair trade certifying organisation is called Transfair. They maintain lists of certified coffee roasting companies. They audit to make sure the coffee truly is fair trade. They also provide similar certification for fair trade chocolate, tea, sugar, tropical fruits, and soccer balls. There is some phony fair trade stuff out there. If you don’t see either of these two certification logos, be suspicious. Most of the world’s fair trade certification groups are in the process of converting to the international logo.
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