anna brones

writer + artist + activist

Posts Tagged ‘coffee

Welcoming the Darkness

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It’s so easy to complain about the lack of light this time of year, particularly after we have set our clocks back and the afternoon succumbs to darkness even earlier. Yet with that darkness comes a beautiful quietness and stillness that’s hard to find at other times of year.

The Scandinavian way to enjoy this is to bring in lots of candlelight. I’ve been lighting candles both in the morning and the afternoon, a way to welcome the darkness instead of falling prey to it. In Finnish, “kaamos” is the world that refers to the time of year when the sun doesn’t even rise, yet there is still a magical lightness that covers the winter landscape. It doesn’t matter if you live in a place of pure winter darkness or not, candles and a pot of tea or a cup of coffee always help.

So in the coming weeks, invite a friend over and have fika by candlelight. (Here’s a recipe for sourdough cardamom buns, if you are in the mood for a little baking)

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A couple of Scandinavian classics featured in the papercut above: the Kivi candleholders from Iittala and a teapot and mug in the Unikko design from Marimekko. Kivi means “stone” in Finnish, and the candleholder is a gentle nod to the fact that so much of Scandinavian design is influenced by nature. The Marimekko Unniko design dates back all the way to 1964, when the company’s founder Armi Ratia declared that the company would never print a flower pattern again. Designer Maija Isola thought otherwise, and came up with this iconic poppy print that is still used today, over half a century later.

 

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Written by Anna Brones

November 9, 2017 at 10:44

Empowering Women Coffee Farmers

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“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

Written by Anna Brones

March 17, 2017 at 09:41

This Week’s Stories: Paris Coffee + Natural Dyeing

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Another week, another list of stories, including one I worked on last fall before I moved from Paris, and which finally made it out into the real world. In a print magazine!

Paris Coffee Revolution – My story on the specialty coffee scene in Paris is the feature in this month’s Fresh Cup magazine. But you can read it online too.

Are Self-Cleaning Fabrics in Our Future? New Research Says Yes – Did I say self-cleaning fabrics? Oh yes, I did. You might not have a self-cleaning t-shirt tomorrow, but research is leading us in the right direction.

Planting a Dye Garden to Make Your Own Natural Dyes – Kristine Vejar, author of Modern Natural Dyer and owner of A Verb for Keeping Warm, helped me put together a post on natural dyeing and five great plants to put in your garden that you can dye with.

Rice Pasta, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Hazelnut Parmesan – Another adventure-friendly recipe over on Adventure Journal. Super easy and perfect for warmer weather outdoor cooking.

Images: Kristine Vejar

Written by Anna Brones

April 22, 2016 at 14:19

Paris Coffee Revolution: Buy the Book

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Paris Coffee Revolution the Book photo by Jeff Hargrove

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.

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Written by Anna Brones

December 11, 2015 at 21:55

How to Pair Pumpkin Pie and Coffee

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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

Written by Anna Brones

November 25, 2015 at 23:23

Posted in Coffee, Food + Recipes, Portfolio

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At Last You’ve Learned How to Make a Perfect Cup of Coffee

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“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.

Written by Anna Brones

October 22, 2015 at 10:04

Posted in Coffee

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Preorder a Copy of the Book ‘Paris Coffee Revolution’

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Paris Coffee Revolution Promo Image v 2

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.

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Written by Anna Brones

September 10, 2015 at 10:12