Sunday, January 25, 2009

Coffee: The World in Your Cup

Coffee Exhibit at the Burke Museum
At the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture the exhibit Coffee: The World in Your Cup runs from January 24 to June 7, 2009. As part of the exhibit there are Saturday and Sunday coffee tastings. Today we tasted coffee from Pangaea an artisan microroaster located in the Wallingford neighborhood. We got a chance to talk to one of the founders of Pangaea and it was nice to hear the excitement and passion he expressed in providing the fair trade coffee they do.

What is fair trade coffee or fair trade anything? Fair trade had a formal definition (see previous link) that I’ll summarize as the condition of the consumer of an international product being more aware and more appreciative of a product acquired fairly than he/she is of one acquired conventionally. The definition of fair trade only came together in the late 1990s. The earliest example of fair trading of international goods was with the nonprofit group Ten Thousand Villages founded by Edna Ruth Byler who began selling handcrafted products out of the trunk of her car in 1946.

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