Friday, September 01, 2006

Black Coffee

I watched an excellent documentary this week on TVO. Black Coffee is the little known history of coffee, and it's impact on society from it's introduction to Europe in the 17th century to today.

Like millions of other java-addicted consumers, you probably
make a beeline for your local coffee shop every morning, and willingly shell out
as much as $4 for a tall, non-fat latte. But what you pay for your morning fix
equals a day's wages for the millions of workers who harvest the bean. Since its
discovery in the Ethiopian hillside in the sixth century, our beloved cup of joe
has been a dominant force in shaping the economic and social structures of
entire nations. Black Coffee provides an intriguing glimpse into the dark side
of the brew, which is the second largest trading commodity in the world after
oil, and like sugar, has been instrumental in promoting the slave trade. The
three-part series, from Montreal's Irene Angelico (The Cola Conquest) casts a
critical eye on its human rights and ecological record that remains dodgy at
best, and also links our morning ritual to the rise in the café culture and the
fair trade movement's efforts to guarantee small growers at least a decent

Utterly fascinating, and definitely worth a view if you get a chance.

The story of Starbucks inception and rise to the top of the specialty coffee market is interesting. My only complaints were the lack of detail provided about Tim Horton's chain and their success (it must be the Arabica beans...); they garnered a mention, but in an offhanded way that seemed incongruous with the series.


Blogger ickle_bro said...

I hate coffee! reminds me of mud, but all my family claim not to be addicted to it yet can't servive a day without it!

Maybe they have a self-punishment wish!

6:21 PM  

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