You may have heard that coffee, after oil, is the world’s highest selling commodity. It’s true. You may have also heard that, after water, coffee is the world’s most popular beverage. It’s also true. So now – take a moment to fathom these facts and what they mean. Think of the size of our world, the amount of people in it, the amount of consumers that consume every day. Suddenly, your coffee cup means a whole lot more than it did this morning. And guess what- it could mean even more them ore you think about what those fact mean.
Every now and then we hear snippets of information that we actually listen to. The bite-sized bits that turn our heads and make us think –‘oh…really?’ When I read those facts about the coffee bean my turned; in fact it spun right around. If there are so many people busily buying coffee beans in this world of ours; busily ordering coffee at cafes, busily buzzing their coffee machines every morning and choosing their daily grind of their favourite coffee bean…coffee all of a sudden becomes a really powerful thing. That little bean that you see skimming the top of your grinder, just waiting to be ground into your favourite time of the day, makes a lot of difference to a lot of people’s lives.
Think about it. Each and every coffee bean started out as a reddish cherry-like fruit. It was picked – by hand – and packed up to be ripened and then eventually roasted once green. And each little piece of fruit weighed-in on the other end somewhere, counting as someone’s daily contribution, some farm’s supply. Until it gets to our coffee cup, that little coffee bean travels many miles through exotic fields, bypassing all kinds of ethical obstacles so that you can pay $3.50 per cup in St Kilda or Bondi.
So what should we do? Should we stare into our coffee cup dismally; should we choose not to choose coffee at all? Should we keep investigating and educating ourselves in what is considered to be a recent window that has opened up to reveal itself to the west? I say a bit of all of the above. By choosing not to choose, I do not mean giving up caffeine or the coffee bean. Now that would be plain silly! I mean what we could do is choose not to choose the easy, readily available, supermarket shelf variety. Like many things we find on supermarket shelves, coffee proprietors that supply coffee beans to supermarkets have often had to sell their souls to be there.
If nothing else, the facts above should simply get you thinking about the coffee you and others- all of us really- take for granted every morning. How the coffee bean got there ,where it came from and whose hands it passed through before it got inside your coffee machine are all questions we as citizens of the 21st century need to be pondering. One thing is for certain –coffee is here to stay! We just need to find a way to make us all happy, from the farmer to the end user.