Coffee and Culture
Across the world people wake to the rich aroma of coffee. Coffee is the second most valuable legal commodity on the face of the earth; oil is the first legal commodity. The impact of coffee affects people socially, politically and economically. Coffee was discovered in Ethiopia and today they are one of the top suppliers of coffee. The Ethiopian coffee ceremony - coffee is the central theme, however, it also gathers participants socially. The coffee growers were not making enough to live. The 'fair trade' model was introduced, this made it feasible for producers to continue growing coffee. The top five producers of coffee is: Brazil, Vietnam, Indonesia, Colombia and Ethiopia. Coffee improves your mood, reaction time and memory. This beverage is a stimulant and makes people all over the world feel good.
"Drink coffee and do bizarre things"
The legend of the dancing goats
Around the ninth century an Ethiopian goat herder rested in the shade while his herd was grazing. To his surprise his goats were dancing. He discovered that the 'red berries' nearby must have been the cause of the the goats strange behaviour - he tried some of the fruit he then began dancing with his goats. An Imam saw the man and his goats dancing and asked, "What's going on?" The herder claimed that it was the red berries that made him and the goats dance. After sampling some for himself the Imam realised that these were no ordinary fruit, he shared them with others and its popularity grew. Today, Ethiopia are one of the major producers of coffee.
The Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony
The Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony is an essential component of Ethiopian culture. Friends and neighbours' are invited to talk over coffee. The coffee is served by women usually the youngest female.
Green coffee beans are roasted about one cup will be enough for four people. The beans are continuously tossed for evenly roasted beans. The pan is then passed around the guests to inhale the aromatic fragrance of the roasted beans. The process stimulates the senses and the taste buds. The host then grounds the beans and adds the powder into a traditional coffee pot to brew. The aromatic coffee is served in a small porcelain cup with one teaspoon of sugar. Popcorn is sometimes served with the coffee or biscuits and so on.
This ceremony is not just about the coffee, its about the gathering of people sharing and strengthening community bonds. The ceremony lasts for about two hours.
Coffee, people and fair trade
People love coffee, half a billion cups are consumed every day. The coffee industry is huge and consumers are ignorant of where coffee beans come from - nor do they care.
Other countries opted to grow coffee, resulting in an oversupply of coffee and creating economic turmoil - prices fell dramatically. This has led farmers to poverty, disease and conflict. Some eventually abandoned their crops and the ones that remained producing coffee barely survived. The fair trade concept was introduced, involving: producer, exporter, importer and consumer. This model addressed inequalities in the trading system, sharing benefits of trade between consumers, the environment and producers. This enabled growers to cover cost of production and to meet the producers basic living needs. If the price fall below the 'fair trade' price farmers will always be paid the fair trade price. Thus producers are protected against fluctuations in the market. A premium is also paid and is invested for local community development.
Sustainable coffee growing
Organic coffee beans are grown without the use of herbicides or pesticides. This benefits the grower, consumer and environment. The non-organic coffee has a higher yield. Although, organic coffee is popular. And the environmentally conscious consumer will support the practice.
Life begins after coffee
- Alarm Clock and Coffee Brewer – The Barisieur by Joshua Renouf – Rich Consumer
Designed by british designer Joshua Renouf, the Barisieur is an alarm clock for caffeine addicts, which can wake you up with a fresh cup of coffee in the...
A Seriously Good Brew
I use the french press its easy, inexpensive, makes an excellent cup of coffee and is one of the best ways to make coffee. Use coarsely ground beans the fine ground taste bitter. I get my beans ground at the local supermarket. But you may have your own or you can buy one there is a variety to suit everyone's needs.
- 6 tablespoons ground beans, Coarsely ground beans
- 6 cups hot water, not boiling water
- One tablespoon of ground coffee is enough for one cup, the standard press makes six cups.
- Add six spoons of coffee in the french press.
- Add hot water - slowly.
- Stir the grounds to saturate and release the beautiful flavour - let it steep - do not plunge yet.
- Wait for four minutes, then slowly press the plunger until is at the bottom of press.
- Pour into a cup and enjoy.