October 1 is International Coffee Day, and since many of us get through our day thanks to this beloved beverage, we thought we’d celebrate by sharing a few interesting facts about coffee and its origins.
According to its official website, “International Coffee Day is a global celebration of coffee’s journey from the farm to your local shop—an opportunity to honour the men and women who grow and harvest the coffee we love.” It’s also become a day to learn more about the global coffee supply chain and how it impacts lives around the world as well as the environment. Here are a few things we’ve learned about coffee:
1. It's liquid gold (no, really)
Ask anyone who relies on it to get moving in the morning and I’m sure they’ll tell you, ‘it’s worth its weight in gold!’ And we wouldn’t disagree. But what we actually mean is, according to the Investor Guide, coffee is the second most sought after commodity in the world after crude oil. As a $100 billion industry, it’s ahead of natural gas, sugar and yes, even gold.
2. 25 million people rely on coffee farms for their livelihood
Coffee plays an important role in the livelihoods of millions of people in developing countries. Small-scale farmers produce over 75% of the world’s coffee.
3. Fair trade coffee helps farmers (but there is debate)
Fair trade became a standard to ensure farmers enjoy better working conditions and stabilised commodity prices. 90% of the world’s coffee production takes place in developing countries with the main producers being Brazil, Vietnam, Cambodia, Peru, and Colombia. In these countries, coffee growing is essential to the local economy.
Under fair trade rules, the coffee importer has a direct relationship with the grower, and pays more to maintain that relationship. There are also strict rules about what minimum needs to be paid for Fair Trade certified coffee.
However, there is debate and even some criticism of the Fair Trade certification due to its inclusion of large scale coffee producers and quality issues based on its pricing structure. What’s an ethical coffee drinker to do? We say, go for the fair trade which has the backing of organisations Oxfam Australia, World Vision and others.
4. There are some great coffee-focused social enterprises
Most local coffee-based social enterprises are cafes which support youth and/or refugee vocational training and employment. Some also provide a space for live music, community events, or fund a charity. Check one out near you!
5. We drink A LOT of it
In news that will surprise no one, we drink MASSIVE amounts of coffee. 500 billion cups worldwide per year by latest estimates. Which makes us think….500 billion cups? Please, PLEASE when you’re getting yours takeaway get it in a reusable!
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