“You know what I like about coffee…it’s simple, you roast it, you grind it, you make it, done.” I think this statement is a pretty good summation of how most people view where their coffee comes from. For some it might even be more simpler than that: you pull up to a window and someone hands you a cup of coffee in exchange for a couple of bucks. Who cares where it comes from.
I think this promotional video for a South African telecom company sums up in only a few seconds that what we end up with in our cup is truly the tip of an iceberg. From the farmer, to the importers, to the roasters, to the coffee shops, and the baristas there are many steps that we may not be aware of. At any point negligence can destroy all the hard work that has come before. I truly believe that this is something that we should be very conscious of. For example if a barista improperly prepares a pour-over or shot of espresso then it is possible that the customer may never again want to try that particular origin coffee. That means that farmer has one less customer due to no fault of his own.
I think, as coffee drinkers, we should be aware of where the final product we are consuming comes from and help support the producers of it. Farmers receive next to nothing especially considering the years of knowledge, hard work, and sacrifice they put into growing and harvesting the coffee. By being conscious of where we buy our coffee we can do our part to make sure they are receiving more of what they deserve and need to live. Companies like Tom’s (the shoe company that now offers coffee as well), individuals like the Long Miles Coffee Project (who pointed out this video) and local roasters that personally source coffee from the farmers should be supported. They make sure they are getting a fair price and often times much more. Not only are you helping out people that live in terrible conditions much worse than you but you are getting, in most cases, a carefully crafted cup of the drink that we already love so much.