Archive for the ‘Coffee’ Category
“To rebuild the spirit of a woman is to rebuild the spirit of a country.” That’s part of the mission statement of Rebuild Women’s Hope, an organization based in Bukavu, on the edge of Lake Kivu in the Eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. It was started by a local Congolese woman and the organization works to empower local women coffee farmers. It’s one of many initiatives around the world focused on empowering women coffee farmers.
I wrote an article all about the topic that was published this week on Sprudge. Here’s a short snippet:
As part of that agricultural web, coffee is an industry dependent on the work of women around the globe, making gender equity an essential part of the sustainable coffee supply chain. “Most of the obstacles faced by women coffee farmers are the same as those found across the agriculture sector,” says Nick Watson, a coffee-sector adviser with the International Trade Centre, who has an initiative focused on women in coffee. “Social norms often discriminate against women in rural areas leading to disproportionate land and asset ownership; household and income decision making; time and labour distribution; access to information and training; and participation and leadership in rural organisations or as registered suppliers to agribusinesses.”
Despite these obstacles, it’s often thanks to women that the coffee production happens in the first place. “Women are on the front lines when it comes to our beloved cup of coffee. They serve as the primary labor force on roles that most affect quality, from picking the ripe coffee cherries off the tree to sorting beans throughout processing. Despite their significant role, most earnings go to men who own the property and manage commercial deals,” says Phyllis Johnson, president of BD Imports.
You can read the full article here.
Image: Glenna Gordon courtesy ITC
What makes an “artisan” an “artisan”? What does it look like when you try to do business not as usual? What happens when you challenge the status quo? What does a “passion job” look like?
These are some of the questions that we tried to answer in the book Paris Coffee Revolution, which was just released in October. It’s a book telling the story of the growth of the Paris specialty coffee scene through profiles of some of the city’s main “coffee revolutionaries” who helped to kickstart that growth.
Just in time for Thanksgiving, my latest column on The Kitchn is devoted to learning about pairing coffee and pumpkin pie. Coffee pairing essentials include: complimenting, contrasting and layering. So think about what flavors you love in pumpkin pie (the spices!) and what flavors in coffee you can either contrast, compliment or layer with those.
Because chances are, you’re going to make a damn fine pie, and you want a damn fine cup of coffee to go with it, don’t you?
Read the full column here.
“What makes you so happy this morning, George!”
“Because at last you’ve learned how to make a perfect cup of coffee. This is delicious!”
“Oh, it isn’t me, it’s the brand. This is the Sultana!”
I have a thing for vintage coffee ads, and this one via the Boston Public Library is rather hilarious. Certainly indicative of gender roles at the time – we all know that women shouldn’t be the sole ones responsible for the kitchen, cooking and coffee brewing duties – as well as the increasing interest, and obsession, with coffee.
For the last two years I have been covering the specialty coffee scene in Paris. For a long time, Paris was a place that was known for bad quality coffee and not much else. But in the last few years, this has changed, and nowadays there are a handful of local specialty roasters and a long list of cafes where you’re sure to get served a good cup.
Last year photographer Jeff Hargrove reached out to me. He had been bitten by the coffee bug and as a portrait photographer, he wanted to self-publish a book with portraits of the “coffee entrepreneurs” in Paris – the people who helped to change the coffee scene. But he wanted more than portraits, he wanted a story. And so I came along to help write that story: Paris Coffee Revolution.
Surrounded by a lot of talented filmmaker friends, I have always been attracted to the power of visual storytelling. But enjoying visual storytelling is one thing. Making it yourself is another thing entirely.
A little over a year ago I told a couple of filmmaker friends that I wanted to invest in a camera so that I could try my hand at filming. “Do it!” was the resounding response.
Sure, I had played around with iMovie a few years ago, putting together a few clips into something coherent, but nothing more than that. Maybe it was time I challenged myself. So I got the camera, and took a lot of nice photos with it, entirely intimidated, in fact, nearly paralyzed, by the thought of trying to do video. Where would I even begin? What if I failed?
Having talented creative people around you is a really good thing. Imagine if you were surrounded by a bunch of boring, mediocre individuals? No thank you. But there’s a flip side to being surrounded by all this talent; while they’re happy to encourage you, you also have very high standards to live up to. And so, I found myself unable to jump into the world whose waters I wanted to test. I was nervous, stricken by the idea that I might make something that wasn’t up to par.
And then it struck me: this is your first film. If we all listened to the voices in our head that told us we were going to fail before we even started, we wouldn’t get anywhere. Failure is just another form of fear. Because what is failure? The definition is up to us entirely, and in the case of wanting to try something new, the only failure I could really come up with, was not doing it at all.
So I set out to make a short film. Super short. Turns out, it’s hard. But it’s also fun, and I can see why all my filmmaker friends are so addicted. There is power in storytelling, whether it’s a short love letter to something we love, or if it’s a feature-length documentary tackling important subjects that we believe the world should know more about.
This video came out of a love of coffee and the outdoors. At the end of July, I spent two weeks hiking in Northern Sweden, and I knew that with a place so visually stunning, I should at least get something on film. This is what it became. This short video isn’t going to change the world (that will be a film later down the line, thank you very much) but maybe it will change how you think about your coffee routine. And maybe this story will inspire you to try something new, something you have never done before and that you’re scared of. Because quite frankly, there’s nothing better.