Guest Author - Gayle E. Santana
When we think of coffee, we think of the small part it plays in getting us going everyday, but coffee’s impact is truly universal. Whether you drink coffee or not, it affects everything in our lives.
I always speak of my morning coffee as an event and apparently I am part of an elite group that is global. Just read an article called “Raise a Toast to Coffee” in the Hindu, an online edition of India's national newspaper” (Isn’t the internet wonderful?) The article mentions Mr. Ram who also rambles around at 5 am for coffee and has been doing so since childhood. He also raises a great point which I often ask myself. “Mr. Ram cannot tell whether he wakes up for the coffee or goes for it because he’s awake.” For me, it is probably a bit of both, but I’m not so sure if I would be so willing to be an early riser without coffee.
Coffee is a major part of the global economy. It is traded on the stock market and commodities exchange. According to the International Trade Center, “At least 14 countries are dependent on coffee for 10% of their export earnings and three (Burundi, Ethiopia and Uganda - all of them least developed countries) depend on coffee for more than 50% of their export earnings.”
Coffee also brings families, communities and countries together. In Ethiopia, known as the birthplace of coffee, The Coffee Ceremony is performed three times a day throughout the country paying homage to coffee as well as creating a great daily social event.
Coffee is also used as a tool of hope for creating a better world. In the case of shade-grown coffee, Green Mountain Growers has this to say: “...shade-grown coffee provides food and shelter for songbirds as well as other animals and plants. The trees protect the coffee plants from rain and sun and help to maintain the soil quality, reduce the need for weeding and pest control and the organic matter from the shade reduces erosion, contributes nutrients and prevents metal toxicities.” With the focus these days on global warming and the rush to reverse man’s damage to the planet, maybe earth-friendly coffee can single-handedly save the world.
Coffee can also be a tool that changes lives. A movement called Fair Trade which simply put ensures that farmers receive fair prices for their coffee, ensures that the economy of the coffee-growing countries can thrive with the rest of the world.
So the next time you are enjoying that hot and tasty cup of coffee, give some thought to the importance of how one beverage really does make the world go round. Who knows, coffee may even be the key to world peace.