Thursday, September 18, 2003
into the raging storm
leaving today for the scaa meetings in atlanta, where i hope to learn the latest doings in the world of our favorite beverage.
so far it seems my afternoon flight is delayed only 1 hour. not yet cancelled, that's a good sign!
so while this space will be empty for a day or two unless i can find a way to post from the meeting center, i encourage all of you to have another cup of delicious coffee and think of me. . .
dealing with airline travel stress through the wrath of isabel should be an excellent test of my yogic breathing practice. if you are wandering through laguardia airport and happen to see a strange girl standing on her head in the corner, it's probably me.
wish me luck and happy coffee! i leave you with a zen verse from philip whalen:
Say that you love me say
That you will bring me
A delicious cup of coffee
In a topaz cup! From Silesia -
Property of Hapsburg Emperors -
The better crystal is upstairs.
Wednesday, September 17, 2003
important homeland security warning
i guess this is crucial news for the travelling chocolate lover. . .
naturally, the proposed espresso tax in seattle was defeated. was there ever any doubt?
and finally, in important news: the i.c.o. met in south america to discuss the world-price depression known as the coffee crisis. our coffee-yoga hero, colombian president uribe (i've written about him before) addressed the assembly.
the proposal: to set a minimum "sustainable" price for coffee.
long-time readers know that myself, danny o'keefe, and a mad montblanc-toting russian economist from the london school of economics have been running around for a while now proposing a market reform based on how the dutch sell flowers and the italians sell fish.
coffees on this alternative market would have to be high-quality, specialty grade only. it's a dutch auction on a clock, with base price, either the fair-trade price or another agreed upon "sustainable" price. and i think it should use some form of scaa chief ted lingle's q contract somehow.
but hey what do i know? i'm just the consumer, that is, the actual market-maker myself. . .
Tuesday, September 16, 2003
p&g flirts with fair trade coffee
more big news: one of the "big four" commercial roasters -- those who make the supermarket brand cans -- is dipping its toe into fair-trade waters.
p&g is going to start offering a fair-trade version of its millstone coffee, called moonlight mountain, online.
has the demon sawed off its own horns? taken the iron shoes off its cloven hooves? only time will tell if this is a real commitment to ending the coffee crisis, or just a marketing ploy. . .
Monday, September 15, 2003
improve your immune system
everyone's talking about the ny times magazine article (log your own bad self in and think of bruce: saute, wednesday) on how science is proving that meditation is great for your health.
long-time readers know i've been writing about this for ages. . . for example, in massively over-simplified form here. and yoga teacher carl horowitz responds here.
for those who can't deal with yoga, but are more on the coffee-chocolate wavelength, don't worry. your meditation is here.
for those who just find the idea of formal seated meditation overwhelming, try trataka, simple candle-gazing.
and you seeking an easy, guided meditation that can be done by simply lying down for 20 minutes but which will have intense effects over the long-term, check out yoga nidra.
you see, there's a form of meditation for all! try one until you see what works for you.
Sunday, September 14, 2003
drug trade, take 2
not to be a total downer -- esp. on pizza day -- but when this stuff comes up, ya gotta notice it.
"but last year when world coffee prices fell to their lowest levels in a century, the 71-year-old grandfather had had enough. he tugged up his once-prized coffee plants in disgust and joined the drug trade."
i know i ranted on about this just the other day, but here it is. "i recognize what is true, whether i like it or dislike it," as a dear friend of mine in the coffee trade said the other day.
this article is on the effects of the coffee crisis in ethiopia. long-time readers may recall i've written about this before (and here and naturally here).
these drugs won't reach our shores; but again, allowing country after country to turn into narc-ocracies is not in anyone's interest. or is it?
and if so, whose? this is as fascinating a question as my famous where does your coffee dollar go?
intelligent readers can answer this question for themselves with only a little thought. what's clear is that none of this is in the average coffee lover's interest.
so why are we consumers letting it happen? after all, we make this market. we buy the coffee. we are the demand. our tastes are exact and growing ever more sophisticated.
alternatives to the current situation exist; others are in the works. . . .when you de-commodify a commodity, who wins?
if we do it correctly (see pp. 8-11), the farmer and the consumer! [this presentation was put together by none other than the great ted lingle, of the scaa.]