Coffee to go


Coffee to go

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Every morning, annoyed and stressed, we race into the coffee shop around the corner to satisfy our craving for fresh coffee. “Coffee to go!” we call out hurriedly to the lady behind the counter, and, ideally, we leave the shop less than a minute later, holding our desired hot drink. But, is this really ideal?

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Shouldn’t we perhaps spend a bit more time considering the product which accompanies us day by day?

Worldwide about 25 million people work in planting, processing and selling of coffee.

That is quite a lot. Actually, for some countries on this earth, coffee is the only export product to speak of. And yet, many of those coffee farmers in third world countries live in very bad conditions.

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In my further research I discovered an unbelievable number: The record sum of coffee profits from 1986…14 billion American dollars! Suddenly, the almost 3 euro I have to fork out for my latte macchiato don’t seem quite as much. Normally I am annoyed at the high prices; like most consumers, I don’t want to spend more than I absolutely have to. But is there really any sense in saving 50 cents on a coffee if one has just spent ridiculous amounts for the newest designer shoes? Maybe I would find it easier to accept the prices if I felt that in doing so, I was doing something beneficial, something meaningful…

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I recall a label on different products in the supermarket. Fairtrade. One knows what it is, knows that it’s a good thing, but one doesn’t really know a lot about it… Fairtrade is supposed to increase fairness in international trade and improve trade conditions in order to strengthen the rights of disadvantaged and exploited producers and workers. As the name Fair Trade implies, the object is to pay a fair prize to secure the existence of the producers. Furthermore, women, who unfortunately are still treated like second class people in many parts of the world, shall also receive appropriate pay.

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Well, this does sound quite good, it is definitely food for thought. I like treating myself and spending money on the nice things in life, it feels good to be able to afford something. But it will certainly also feel good to do something beneficial for disadvantaged people, for a few more euros, which I can really spare quite easily..
I think that the next time I’m in a supermarket, I am not going to simply saunter past Fairtrade products sitting on the shelf for a customer to take pity on them. A good coffee, some sugar, and a pinch of brotherly love. Sounds like an interesting mix!

Daisy Ricks


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