Black Gold: Fair Trade Coffee

After not blogging in a while, several things are happening this week that are making me want to write more. The first has to do with coffee. Last night Eileen and I watched the movie Black Gold with our friends Ben and Megan. It’s a very well done documentary regarding fair-trade coffee and it gives faces and names to the farmers who produce the commodity which we so mindlessly consume billions of cups of every day. Perhaps the most moving scene in the film for me was seeing the Ethiopian farmers who produce the coffee we drink praying to God that they would be paid a fair wage for their work. To find out more, or learn how to get a copy of the movie, click the link above.

While I have known about fairly traded coffee and other products for a while, I have to confess that I am by no means consistent in buying them. I always buy fairly traded coffee to drink at home in the mornings – that I have done for a while. But when my middle-of-the-day caffeine craving hits, I find myself buying whatever I can get from whatever coffee shop happens to be most convenient. The most common of these places is the seminary’s cafeteria, where the coffee doesn’t even taste good!

So, I repent. Starting today I will no longer buy coffee at the seminary’s cafeteria or at places which I know do not pay fair prices for their coffee beans. At some point I hope to talk to Mike, the chef at our cafeteria to find out if it’s possible to get fair-trade coffee at the seminary – perhaps Pura Vida, or some other company which sees fair-trade as a Christian vocation. In the mean time, though, I’m cut off. Hello caffeine headaches.

  1. Alan said:

    Do you have any sort of locker at school? (dont laugh πŸ™‚ Casey had one in dental school). Maybe you could take on the persona of “the wierd dude with the coffee machine in his locker” that you break out mid-day every-day πŸ™‚

    Where do you get coffee these days for brewing? I have been ordering from and have been pretty happy. Yay for addiction! er.. wait.

    I can quit whenever I like. I just enjoy a nice mug or 2 in the morning πŸ™‚ hehe

  2. Eileen said:

    you are both addicted…

    you are both so addicted you could be the co-presidents of Coffee Drinkers Anonymous (CDA). But then you wouldn’t really be anonymous would you.


  3. Chris said:

    Hmm, no there are no lockers at school, but you have a good idea. What I could do is grind the beans at home and bring my french press with me in my backpack to school – it doesn’t take up much more space than a Nalgene bottle. Then at lunch time I could go get some of the hot water which is available for free in the student lounge! This is a very good idea, Alan. Now the only problem is figuring out what I do with the dirty french press after I’m done drinking the coffee – I may have to pack a towel and dish soap in order to be able to put it back in my bag!

    As for where I’ve been getting coffee, I’m currently on a bag of Tanzanian that I got at Ten Thousand Villages. The next bag, however, may come from the East End Food Coop ( where we’ve been doing most of our grocery shopping. They have several varieties I haven’t tried which I wouldn’t mind sampling, and it’s all fairly traded. Ordering from St. Ives is tempting though – I can get Yirgacheffe at the Coop for a couple dollars cheaper per pound, but I haven’t seen any Harrar since I left Colorado, and it’s reasonably priced on St. Ives. Again, hmm.

    Lastly, starting a coffee drinker’s anonymous would assume that we actually want to quit drinking coffee altogether, and who wants to do that?


  4. Alan said:

    Yea.. word.. CDA is for people with a “problem”. Not a “hobby”.

    The french press idea.. I like it! But yea, with it being dirty… Hmm. Taking it home in a plastic bag, that just feels kinda odd… Plus that youd smell like old coffee by the day’s end πŸ™‚

  5. Sarah/Eve said:

    Bravo on free trade coffee! So, Lesli sent this to me today, and I have to shar it with you, but I dont know your email, so you’re getting it as a really long blog comment. I haven’t thought of these in so, so long!

    Ah, the long-awaited quote list is now in your hands….

    Where’s the Night Brassiere??? – Lesli
    Baaaaaat – Chris
    I want to pick up a baby elephant – Steph
    The ’80s were the best thing to happen to this world… well, except for Jesus. – Steph
    Other than my birth, nothing good came out of the ’80s – Lesli
    Did anyone bring earmuffs? – Lesli
    Thailand… the land of Thai! I get it now! – Lesli
    I was on crutches for 3 months because of an inhaler – Steph
    And by dollars I do mean baht. – Lesli
    Can you meet at 4:30 for team bondage? – Sarah
    I thought a manger was a field! – Chris
    Be Cahfoo! – Snake Lady
    I think you should make it your goal to set the record for most consecutive days spent in Thailand. – Chris, to Steph
    Struggle mas. – Michael
    …And it’s biting me RIGHT NOW!!! – Michael
    Do you want to pray together with everyone, or wait? – Jonathan
    What was my favorite kid as a movie? – Jonathan
    Pain is temporary (Jonathan)… Watermelons are forever. (Lesli)
    I can’t be social when I’m in the process of giving birth to a watermelon. – Sarah
    I think we have the totally cool van… we’re hungry, but we’re cool. – Lesli
    God created the world in 7 days (Michael)… and on the 8th day, he rested (Lesli)
    Dear Lord, thank you for this last night….er…not really the last night… uh… and for these 7 long… um… Forget it! Someone else pray! – Carla

  6. Eileen said:

    Chris you’re gonna have to give me the stories behind some of those quotes… although I do know some of them (baby elephant, biting me RIGHT NOW, Steph’s 80s quote…)

    and in regards to CDA – Crack is a “hobby” to crack addicts in the same way that coffee is a “hobby” to coffee addicts… And the direct conclusion from that statement is that COFFEE = CRACK. And we all know that’s bad… especially the type of crack that Val is addicted to. :o)

  7. Alicia said:

    For those of you who are interested in the issue of Fair trade, there is a powerful documentary out called β€œBlack Gold,” that documents the lives of Ethiopian coffee farmers and clearly demonstrates why all of us should be asking for Fair Trade coffee. The film was recently released in the theater but is now available to the public on DVD via California Newsreel. You can read more about the documentary or pick up a copy of it here at

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