About that $18 Cup of Coffee

About that $18 cup of coffee in Brooklyn that went viral. What’s up with it? Why does it cost $18 and why did everyone have something to say about it? Let's break this down. 0. This coffee is not actually available yet. When it is, it will cost $18/cup. Two weeks ago, Alpha Dominche, a … Continue reading About that $18 Cup of Coffee

Soundbytes from When Coffee Speaks

“When I was twelve my family had come here [to Cedral] to pick coffee on a man’s farm. I dreamed—we came up here to pick coffee, and I could hear the cows and the calves and everything, because there used to be more dairies. And I dreamed of one day coming back, to be able to hear the cows, to come back here to live. I wanted to live here. I prayed to God that I could live here!

Otro Año Despues

Al finales de octubre 2013 yo auto publiqué 400 copias de “When Coffee Speaks,” (“Cuando el Café Habla”) como la culminación de un año de viajes investigatores, cuatro meses de traducir/transcribir/recopilar, y una exitosa campaña en Kickstarter. Tan pronto como los libros fueron imprimidos (literalmente salieron calientitos de la prensa), me devolví (con 68 kilos … Continue reading Otro Año Despues

Another Year Later

At the end of October 2013 I self published 400 copies of "When Coffee Speaks: Stories from and of Latin American Coffeepeople" as the culmination of a year of research travel, four months of nonstop translating/transcribing/compilation, and a successful Kickstarter campaign. As soon as the books were printed (literally hot off the press; freshly bound … Continue reading Another Year Later

Ink Spotlight

This internet thing is cool, but there is something about ink on paper that—for me at least—will never go out of style. The internet is an endless feed, but books and magazines are finite and discrete objects, and somehow inked words set on paper put things in a spotlight that is fundamentally different from an … Continue reading Ink Spotlight

Seriously Seed to Cup

“Seed to cup” is the coffee industry’s equivalent of “farm to table,” a much used phrase intended to describe one person’s (or company’s) involvement in the process of transforming coffee from plant to drink. It’s been a buzzphrase for a few years, and while it may have been edgy and evocative in its first days, … Continue reading Seriously Seed to Cup

There Are No Slaves Here

The last night of my most recent trip to Panama I had a conversation that left me very perturbed. It was a friend’s birthday and we were having a homemade pizza party in the communal dining room of a hostel. As I went into the kitchen to wash the plates, two hostel guests leaning against … Continue reading There Are No Slaves Here

Madame Geisha

Coffee can seem pretty straightforward as we sip it from our mugs; it's a hot beverage that tastes good and wakes us up (and maybe has us hooked), but its legacy is actually shrouded in a fair share of mystery, intrigue, and good old tall tales. Historians and coffee aficionados (like Mark Pendergrast in his … Continue reading Madame Geisha

Intention of Integration

Vertical integration is like a go-go dancer: seductive to some, off-putting to others. In Panama, land of coffee celebrity and bizarre outlier Madam Geisha (also embodying the seductive/off-putting dichotomy), two coffee vertical integration scenarios are unfolding on opposites sides of the Barú Volcano. On the west side, in Santa Clara, Finca Santa Teresa is offering … Continue reading Intention of Integration

Updates from Coffeepeople

What started as an unconventional horizontal anthropological investigation into the lives of coffee producers from Nicaragua to Colombia has accidentally become a bit of a longitudinal study. I spent the past month retracing my original steps through Costa Rica and Panama in order to distribute a book to every interviewee. Most of the people I … Continue reading Updates from Coffeepeople