Thursday, March 28, 2013

Las Capucas, Honduras

           Alright, fellow coffee fanatics, I've decided to take it upon myself to post some of Fair Trade's accomplishments on my barista blog, because I think consumers ought to be more in touch with where their coffee actually comes from.
           For one thing, look at this rickety processing mill. Cute, right? That is, until you try to use it.
           Well, if it weren't for COCAFCAL's support, Jose Isidro Lara, who inherited his father's farm and mill in Honduras, would have had to de-pulp his cherries in that rinky-dink old thing.
            Fortunately for Jose, he's earned enough from Fair Trade to invest in a brand new cutting edge wet mill.
           Not only is the new mill considerably less likely to crumble to pieces, but is also complete with a covered patio, allowing sunlight to come through, but keeping out the rain simultaneously. This is crucial in keeping the beans from rotting, and results in superior quality beans.
          Anyway, it's awesome, so I just thought I'd share, because this is the difference we as consumers are capable of making in real people's lives. Fair Trade makes it possible, and so do you as a conscious consumer. Think twice next time about what really went into your coffee, cause those beans come a long way.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Starbucks Buys Her First Coffee Farm

          I've been studying up a lot lately on coffee farmers, and the circumstances of the financial plight they face. It's no secret that farmers receive next to nothing for their harvest. They have no say in the price of their own product. The system is structured so that it's impossible for workers to receive adequate pay, because between the field on which the beans are grown to the counter from which they're eventually sold, they have to go through a heap of greedy middlemen, who take more than their share, often leaving farmers with nothing if not a loss.
          Well, the obvious solution is simple: Remove the middlemen, and deal with farmers directly. Starbucks seems to have taken their first step toward a more transparent system when they purchased their very own coffee farm in the slopes of Poas Volcano, Costa Rica. According to Roast Magazine, Starbucks intends to ethically source all coffee by 2015. Well I guess we'll just see about that, won't we?
          I'm certainly interested to see what happens. Many have questioned Starbucks' integrity in the past, myself included, but maybe I was wrong. That is, if Starbucks carries on purchasing farms in the hopes of rescuing them from the current system. Because if everything is direct, there will be no room for money to fall between the cracks, into the hands of the wrong people.
           I hope others follow Starbucks' example and invest in their own farms--work toward a fair, transparent and efficient system, not to mention know their growers personally. I'm proud of Starbucks--looks like they're really stepping it up...? I mean, either that or slowly colonizing earth. Soon they'll take over outer space, and make Star Bucks the universal currency or something.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Java Log

          Sorry I fell off the face of the earth for a while there, everyone... whoever you are... did anyone even notice? Anyway, I've been caught up in a bunch of other crazy stuff, but the other day while I was in Whole Foods checking out, and I noticed a stack of eco-friendly fire logs made of--you guessed it--coffee! Obviously, or else it wouldn't be on my blog.
          Anyway, it's environmentally ideal, because not only is it tree-free, but also diverts 12 million pounds a year of spoiled grounds that would otherwise wind up in a landfill. Not to mention, java logs put out 85 percent less carbon monoxide than traditional firewood does, according to an article from TLC Home, Green Living Tips, on how to "Make Your Own Java Log."Apparently all you need is some spent coffee grounds, vegetable oil and molasses. Yum.
          Likewise, the store-bought Pine Mountain brand uses renewable all-natural waxes. Due to its chemical-free composition, the Java Log boasts the most vibrant, bright and natural flame aflicker on amazon.
          I'm yet to check it out myself, as I don't have a fireplace. But do the environment a favor and check it out next time you light up a fire.