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History of Coffee (Global Traceback)
Transcript of History of Coffee (Global Traceback)
Life of Coffee
Where does our coffee money go?
The history of coffee is so old it goes as far back as the thirteenth century, at least! Coffee could have originally come from African countries such as Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya. People from the Arabian Peninsula harvested the coffee beans back in the 1400's.
By around the 16th century it had spread around the rest of the Middle East and northern Africa. Then to European countries such as Italy. Indonesia and the America's would eventually find out about coffee.
Coffee is a drink made from roasted coffee beans. The coffee beans are actually seeds inside berries from the coffea plant. Coffea plants can range from small tropical shrubs or even 10m tall trees. The plants were originally from Southern Africa and Tropical Asia. Native people from the Kenya/Ethiopia area were the first to find the plants.
What is it?
Original Uses and Popularity
There are a few legends about the first uses of coffee. One of the first uses of coffee was when a Yemenite man observed birds eat a berry. He began to experiment with the coffee berries and he eventually roasted the bean, boiled it and then drank it!
Also, a goatherder also noticed his goats eat some berries. He tried some and he told some local monks about the energetic effects of the berries.
Back in the Industrial Revolution was around coffee was in fact used and sold in factories!
The work crew would drink coffe for a little energy boost. The workers drank coffee instead of alcohol so that they would not be drunk while using machinery.
Brazil is the main country that produces coffee nowadays. They sell 1 third of the coffee in the market, they produce about 2.6 tonnes. Vietnam is the second largest country in the world to produce it. They produce about 1.2 million tonnes. Finland though is the largest country that consumes coffee. 12kg of coffee is consumed a year per capita. While Finland, Iceland and Denmark drink 9kg of the stuff per capita, every year.
Producers and Consumers
Surprisingly, coffee was not always used for a hot beverage. Arabic people used it as a medicine and even in their religious ceremonies since they cannot drink alcohol. Most drinkers would avoid eating the ground up coffee beans and just drink the liquid. Ethiopians would mix coffee berries and fat to make energy bars. Coffee became globally popular in 1583. Many coffee houses sprung up around that time.
Growing and Harvesting
Most growers plant coffee saplings and within 4-8 weeks, leaves appear.
These saplings are taken to a nursery where they are planted in beds.
In harvest season, they ripe ones are picked by hand.
Processing and Distribution
The coffee seed is underneath 3 layers. The cherries are pulped so that the skin and pulp is gone.
After this, they are washed, soaked and fermented until they become parchments. (looks like peanuts)
Then the coffee bean is either sun-dried or dried in machines. These are called green beans.
These beans are shipped off, mainly to USA or Germany.
They are then roasted in big cylinders to taste. (at 200 degrees)
They are then put into jars or cans and distributed to buyers.
Wages and Price
Workers in tropical areas grow the coffee. The farmers/growers get paid very unfairly, they practically get nothing for a lot of hard work. Even "fair-trade" growers can only get $2.40 per kilo of coffee.
We can buy a cup of coffee for $3.50 at a cafe. At 7-Eleven we can buy a cup for only $1!
Most of the money goes to the shippers and retailers. They get about 50% of the profit while retail gets about 25% of it.
Some coffee fields should be considered as 'sweat shops in the field'. That means that they're farmers that own small coffee plantations that aren't treated very fair. These farmers grow coffee as a cash crop.
Coffee requires a lot of water for it too grow. For a single cup of coffee, 140 litres of water is used just to make it. This inclueds water for growing and processing.
Originally, coffee needed no land since it was grown in the shades of trees. But modern methods require open ground and sun, so trees need to be cut down. Land is degraded and some habitat is destroyed.
Pesticide is also used for coffee plants, this damages other plants and can affect animal health and our health too.
Electricity is needed to work the machinery. Coffee's transport affects the environment. They have to travel long distances on ships. These ships pollute the air, up to 40% of all air pollution is from all cargo ships. Ships also disturb the animals, dumps various types of waste and even the rare oil spill. Trucks transporting the coffee also pollute the air and all the transport uses a lot of fuel.
Some Interesting Facts!
1.In 2008. Coffee became the worlds most popular beverage
in the world! Over 500 billion cups of coffee is consumed every year!
2.Coffee was the first food to be freeze-dried.
3. Coffee beans grow on bushes!
4. Independent coffee shops equal $12 billion in annual sales.
5. On average the United States consume 3.1 cups of coffee per day.
6. The average price for an espresso based drink is $2.45
The average price for brewed coffee is $1.38.
Workers on a coffee plantation at Kuranda, Queensland,
GM (genetic modification) is being reasearched since coffee plants need consistent weather conditions. The plants are very sensitive towards weeds and pests too. Scientists are looking into improving coffee's quality and production with genetic modification. But there has been little progress so far.
Other financial factors
Coffee growing countries have to compete with each other. They want to produce the most amount of coffee so that they get a lot of proft. Since coffee is over-produced and not "rare", the price of coffee goes down. So there is more pressure on the 25 million small coffee growers.
The growers of coffee are usually poor, they heavily rely on the coffee profits. Buyers buy the coffee of the growers at the cheapest price possible (if they are not fair-trade buyers). The growers only get 10% of the profit.
The exporters of coffee only get about 10% of the profit.
If you want to make money, you would want to be a coffee shipper or manufacturer. They get a whopping 55% of all the profits made. This is unfar since they don't do as much work. Meanwhile retailers (people who sell the final product) get 20% of the profits.
Coffee plantation slaves
Between 1511 and 1886 there was over 1 million slaves that were imported from Africa into Cuba in order to cultivate their coffee crops. With new technology coffee has became easier and easier to make, order and buy online or on the phone. But new methods make it harder for the poorer farmers without the newer machines.
Child labour is a common problem in the coffee industry. In Kenya's central region, 60% of the workforce on coffee plantations are children. They may start working when they are tall enough to reach the lower branches and old enough to identify which berries to pick and which ones not to pick.
Coffee is a luxury product, it's really a treat. Mainly people in industrialized countries drink it. It is usally branded in bags or cups and the some branding makes it more expensive. If the brand is well-known for good quality, then that company will put its price up. If the brand is a supermarket-owned (e.g Homebrand) then it will be cheaper. Coffee is branded so that we can tell the difference. Companies also brand because if the brand becomes a trend, the coffee gets more value.
Ethical buying postively buying and ignoring negative products. A good way to make coffee an ethical product is to find coffee brands that benefit others just from you buying and consuming a cup of coffee! We could buy fair-trade brands instead of companies like Nestle. Some coffee brands donate the money they make from coffee to others who are in need.
Coffee used to be advertised as an essential for life. Some other old advertisements said that coffee makes you more desirable, more attracive and that coffee is good for relationships. Coffee is now advertised with fancy and eye-catching packading and designs instead.
Timeline of Coffee
An image of the timeline about Coffee with facts and some infomation about it can be found at this link!