Most coffee is grown at high altitudes and needs quite a specific sort of climate. There are limited places in the world were coffee will grow. It would, therefore, be logical to think that coffee growers would be some of the richest people in coffee producing countries, for example in Peru. Nothing, however, could be further from the truth. The farmers of the drink many of us know so well have traditionally been some of the poorest people in the countries they live in. They are often rural farmers paid just enough by large companies to survive, and more recently less than enough to survive.
With the massive monetary riches that come with coffee, there is also the harsh abuse of low paid workers in third world countries. There an initiative called 'Fair Trade' coffee which looks to approve coffee beans that abide by the United Nations charter for human rights and equality. To qualify for Fair Trade endorsement, companies need to ensure they are not employing underage workers, are not paying slave wages, and foster a safe working environment. Once endorsed with the Fair Trade mark, producers get access to the lucrative global coffee bean market with an advantage of being able to charge a premium for upholding the values required for Fair Trade.
The current economic downturn has seen coffee prices plunge in the last few years prompting companies who had built up large stockpiles (as prices were so cheap already) to drastically reduce their buying of raw coffee beans and in some cases stop altogether. Interestingly the price of coffee in our cup has not gone down at all but has seen quite a rise in the last few years. So how does this happen? How do the growers get paid less and less and sometimes nothing at all, yet the price of coffee that we drink continues to go up and up? That is a complex question to answer but well worth pondering next time you are having a nice hot cup of coffee.
Coffee is an essential part of the office routine. In today's anti-smoking environment, many non-smokers have turned to coffee for their own personal 'smoke breaks'. Must Havecoffee with colleagues is not only a great social environment for team bonding but also a good excuse to leave the office desk for a few minutes. Unlike the smoke break, the coffee break has the added benefit of that caffeine hit to keep you going for the rest of the day - or until your next coffee break.
Coffee is one of the most widely available and used beverages in the world today. Coffee is drunk from one end of the globe to the other, often in quite different forms. Coffee has become a way of life for some people in the western world. Cafe chains have sprung up everywhere and a few have done very well set up new stores weekly across the globe. However this massive industry has to have a supply, where does all this coffee come from?
Fairtrade coffee changes all that. Under the Fairtrade system, farmers get a set price for their produce, on average about 5 times more than what they were getting paid previously by large multi-national corporations. The emergence of this type of commercial model is a heartwarming example that business can be done and it can work without exploiting the farmers at the end of the money chain.
The popularity of coffee has seen many coffee chains shoot up in major cities around office buildings. No longer is it just refined to the Europeans, companies like Starbucks, Hudsons, and Gloria Jeans have milked unsuspecting citizens around the world - from New York to Shanghai, coffee is a big money maker and hard addiction to kick.
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