Saturday, May 24, 2003
hark, all coffee lovers!
it's with the greatest pleasure that I'm announcing an scaa e-membership event for new york city, so far tentatively scheduled for june 28 - june 30, 2003.
this will tie into the fancy food show and the scaa reception on the 30th, which is open to e-members.
we will enjoy a weekend's events, such as: on saturday the 28th, roasting coffee hands-on with steve schulman of kudo beans and dallis coffee. we will cup and discuss our efforts, as well as tour a few nyc coffeehouses.
sunday the 29th we will go the fancy food show itself, to visit the floor, with an emphasis on the italian espresso exhibitors.
monday evening will be a cocktail reception at the columbian coffee federation from 6-8pm, to which e-members are invited, even if you've just joined on the spot.
non-emembers are welcome too. the focus of this event is to spread e-membership, and we hope everyone will use this opportunity to join the scaa. all coffee lovers are invited. the door is open!
non-members will be asked for a small fee, possibly US$10 for the saturday portion.
right now, it also looks as if all will have to get your own ticket to the fancy food show as well.
details are still emerging, but this is going to be an incredible event, with limited availability due to the hands-on nature of the program.
for those who can't make this event, we will be planning a barista-skills and machine-focused event for the middle of july 2003 as well.
please stay tuned for more information and new details as they become available. think you wanna come? email me or use the link below.
Friday, May 23, 2003
more destruction, in a good way.
long-time readers know i'm deeply interested in the world-price depression known as the coffee crisis. lately there has been an upswing in activity to combat this problem, which is the cause of so much human misery.
part of the problem is an oversupply of really low-quality coffee, which depresses prices. this is great for folgers and the other multi-nationals who sell most canned coffee at the market, because they can buy bad coffee super-cheap, manipulate it through their various modern methods and give you -- well, you know, that artifically-scented steamed stuff you seen in the supermarket cans, or parading about as international house of hazelnut romance. yuck.
what i don't understand is that with coffee prices so low, why the multinationals don't buy better coffee super-cheap and improve their product. they could actually make their coffee good again; they could sell a better quality product at a lower price and still make money hand over fist!
what nonsense i'm speaking -- as you can see, i'm not making chief finance officer of a fortune 500 anytime soon. because of course their goal is to buy low-quality coffee as cheaply as possible, hide its flaws, and then sell it to us at premium prices. thus making money 3 hands over 2 fists.
oxfam has long argued for the voluntary destruction of much of the lowest-quality coffee before it even goes to market. recently mexico destroyed some coffee; and now a mass producer of some of the worst coffee in the world, vietnam, is doing the same.
they are looking to destroy 20% of their coffee acreage by 2005. but will it be too little too late?
Thursday, May 22, 2003
don't miss this!
reminder: if you can't actually plant yourself in front of your tv this evening at 9pm est to catch the pbs frontline documentary segment on the coffee crisis (adobe acrobat required), bitter grounds, then please do set your vcr.
for those of you with a different broadcast schedule, check out the website to find when it's airing near you.
the spot examines the effects of fair trade on coffee growers from oaxaca and huatusco in mexico. long-time readers may remember that i've mentioned the social devastation the coffee crisis has caused in huatusco before.
these people produce premium quality organic and fair trade coffees, roasted by green mountain, newman's organics, and used in ben and jerry's "coffee for a change" ice cream.
while it seems the segment will focus on this success story, it's important to remember that not everything is turning around for most coffee farmers and workers. however, getting bummed out isn't the goal here.
the goal is to remember that we consumers can make a difference not only with our most simple daily purchases, but also by charitable activity. take a gander at wonderful coffee charities like coffee kids and the lutheran coffee project.
watch the show, see how you feel, and then wander over to these websites to learn how you can so easily help.
Wednesday, May 21, 2003
first of course: starbucks is making its move into the rest of your life. which i don't mind, because starbucks is more on my side than not. and some of the music actually isn't bad.
still, i prefer to support my local independent coffee roaster/coffee house(s). this happens to be gillies, dallis, kudo and higher grounds.
also, to follow up on the recent i.c.o. meeting: kraft used the meeting to offer its proposal, called "common codes for the coffee community," on sustainable development as a solution to the world-price depression known as the coffee crisis. this document was written by kraft's director of sustainable programs, one annemieke wijn.
i hope to have a copy soon to peruse. . . is it real, or a marketing ploy?
Tuesday, May 20, 2003
live 1 year longer
once again, i'm not making this stuff up. it's true: those who eat chocolate at least 1 to 3 times a month appear to live up to a full year longer.
this reputable study comes to us from the prestigious british medical journal. researchers found that people who ate modest amounts of candy bars had a 36 percent lower risk of death than those who didn't.
place your order for at donnelly chocolates now! eat your 1.5 oz. of dark chocolate on a regular basis, please.
of course, since i've mentioned this before (and here) you long-time readers have been doing this for a while now, haven't you?
Monday, May 19, 2003
coffee crisis summit today
a big confab took place in london today about the world-price depression known as the coffee crisis. an important coffee organization, the i.c.o., held a meeting with various groups to try to form more concrete courses of action in the search for a solution.
frankly, i think all suggested approaches should be tried -- funds for farmers to diversify, support funds, a new form of coffee market, ethical initiatives by consumers and charities, new structures in the producing countries themselves, broad efforts to increase demand, coffee purity laws to raise the quality of what can be grown and exported, all that.
and long-time readers know i have come to believe that the u.s.a. must rejoin the i.c.o. and pass our own coffee purity laws.
anyway, it's a nice summation. there will be another meeting i understand this autumn. . .
Sunday, May 18, 2003
how much do i really like that espresso don schoenholdt of gillies made up for me last week? enough that i looked at it this morning and realized i had already drunk 4/5 of it!
this surprises me, because it's so simple. normally, i would expect it to have 3, 4, even 6 beans. the max orsini espresso gold i loved so much was a 6-bean blend.
but this little espresso don gave me is quite charming. although i have to be quick to say, it can't be drunk in milk -- nothing more than a macchiato, or else it fades. . .
but i'm now i'm struck by the idea of getting don to make up a 6-bean organic blend for me. i'll call it the pola negri blend.
i've always liked pola; but then i have a soft spot for the golden beauties of the silent era. and madame dubarry, a.k.a. passion is a great movie, even tho' it's very hard to see and the prints that exist are bad. as don himself says, "hey, pola negri was a tomato."
these coffee people, they get better and better. . .