February 23, 2009
please don't stop buying coffee.
when i went to guatemala a year ago i got to have a conversation with a coffee farmer there. he was talking about the long hours he works farming on the mountains and how it barely is enough to provide the bare minimum for his family. i started to feel guilty about drinking his coffee every day and not appreciating it. i told him this and he said,
"whatever you do, don't stop drinking it. we count on americans to buy our coffee. it's the only way we can survive."
so i made a sort of convenant with this gentleman that i would drink guatemalan coffee whenever i had the chance, and if it wasn't an option i would support the next-closest coffee geographically.
something occurred to me when i took a sip of my bolivian coffee today though - with the economy tanking in the united states, people are cutting back on the ways they're spending money. and almost every "ways to save money during the recession" list i come across suggests removing the $3 cappuccino/latte from your daily spending.
i agree that $3 a day for a year is a large sum of money (over $1000), and saving that sure would be swell for our wallets here in the US, but i have to beg americans to please not remove coffee from your life enirely. instead, please turn to black coffee. it uses the same amount of ground coffee per cup as an expensive latte, but it is half the cost. you'll get your caffeine fix, you'll save some money, and you'll continue to support the lives of coffee farmers and their families everywhere.
even better: buy a bag of regional coffee and brew it yourself. it's even cheaper for you and it's the same number of beans sold. let's do the math over two weeks - cause that's about how long a bag lasts (at least for me):
cappuccino/latte = $3 x 10 working days = $30
black coffee = $1.50 x $10 working days = $15
bag of fairly traded regional coffee = $10
so please. don't eliminate coffee from your daily routine. coffee farmers across the globe need our business. thanks.