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Archive for the ‘Ethiopian News & Culture’ Category

Coffee revisted.

Today is the final day of NaBloPoMo. Thank you for sticking out and keeping my visit stats high. This month has made me rethink my goal to write a book. I seem to have plenty of thoughts, but I get board with myself when I write them down daily. Blah. Who want to read a watered down adoption story?

Yea. Bittersweet. Whew.

I have 7 long months before we see a referral, so I will have plenty of time to continue my blogging, addressing the Q & A questions, telling the wonderful story of the Ethiopian community that I am starting to feel part of in Mpls., and just post random stuff perhaps pertaining to few other than me.

Soooooo, on that note, remember that rant about Star.bucks? If you have not watched the video yet you really must, the content matter in that short trailer is intriguing and the tune is rhythmically addicting. Anyway, Star.bucks seems to be responding to their PR nightmare with the Ethiopian Coffee industry. According this this article they are now going to help the farmers better their techniques for coffee production.

I should be pleased, but come on Star.bucks, the Ethiopians have been farming coffee much longer than you have been charging 4 bucks for an overpriced latte. Businesses, like Star.bucks, should not have to be motivated to treat farmers fairly for the sake of bettering their PR, it should be standard operating procedure.

But, better to get there by misdirected means, than not at all.  Right?

I will most likely still boycott corporate coffee, not only because of their ethical practices and reactive correction, but their coffee tastes burnt, stale, and harsh.

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Many friends and family have asked what they can do to help us as we adopt from Ethiopia. Other than support, I have a strange reply: Buy Fair Trade Ethiopian Coffee.

Historically and culturally coffee is incredibly important to Ethiopia. Quoted below is an excerpt from a Selamta Publication (volume 13, number 2) article that outlines the historical significance of coffee to Ethiopia:

More than 1,000 years ago, a goatherd in Ethiopia’s south-western highlands plucked a few red berries from some young green trees growing there in the forest and tasted them. He liked the flavour – and the feel-good effect that followed. Today those self-same berries, dried, roasted and ground, have become the world’s second most popular non-alcoholic beverage after tea. And, as David Beatty discovers in words and pictures, the Ethiopian province where they first blossomed – Kaffa – gave its name to coffee.

Want to learn more? Read the whole article at this link.

Coffee is also a significant export for the Ethiopian economy, with over 60% of their export product being coffee. Noting how much I pay for a cup of plain black coffee at a designer chain coffee house or even for a pound of beans at the grocery, one may assume that the coffee industry would be a decent business to get into.

Good for the corporations, bad for the farmer. To quote the documentary mentioned below, for every 3 dollar drink purchased at a chain coffee house, the farmers sees .03 cents. The farmer sees a whopping 1% of the profit. Are you convinced to buy fair trade yet?

I have only seen part of the documentary Black Gold, Wake Up and Smell the Coffee, by Nick & Marc Francis when it aired on PBS and since I have made a concerted effort to buy Ethiopian beans. I am trying to locate a copy of this not-so-uplifting documentary for a couch date with myself this weekend.

Check out the trailer below from YouTube.

Since I am perched on my soapbox, one more little request: avoid Starbucks for yet another reason or two. Also, if you live near me, Peace Coffee roasts a pretty good Ethiopian bean. You can even read their fair trade agreement with Ethiopia on their website.

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