Saturday, April 22, 2006

regional coffee culture, part multi-many

i know i used to keep this topic nicely ordered with chic roman numerals, but i had to give up somewhere around part 55 or 60. it just got absurd.

nonetheless, i love this topic and can't keep myself away from perusing interesting coffee consumption trends and statistics while sipping my morning dancing goat cappuccino. they give me great hope as to the easiest way to end the coffee crisis.

which simply is to help expose people everywhere to the delights of coffee appreciation:

"....[the] head of operations at the i.c.o., said brazil's coffee consumption increased from 10.1 million 60-kg bags in 1995 to around 16 million in 2005. he predicted at least 17 million in 2007.

he saw a similar trend in india, where consumption had increased to 1.1 million bags in 2005 from 800,000 in 1995. the i.c.o. said china's coffee consumption was rising at a rate of about 15 percent per year and the country was expected to import more than 500,000 bags in 2007 versus 375,000 in 2003.

in russia, which traditionally has a culture of tea drinking, coffee was widening its appeal, with imports up from 1.2 million bags in 1999 to around three million in 2004, according to i.c.o. data."


the present pattern seems to be that consumers new to coffee often begin with cheap, low-quality instant (soluble), and then as their appreciation and incomes rise, they make the switch to higher-quality ground or whole bean arabica-based coffee.

these countries appear to be set to follow this trend:

"demand in emerging economies was particularly strong for soluble coffees made from robusta, analysts said. . . 'you get the taste for the coffee from the instant and gradually you see a turn towards more quality products such as ground coffee.' "

and this is why i love the relatively recent surge of better coffee blogs, websites, chat groups and podcasts. every single person who participates aids in expanding the pool of coffee knowledge -- and to know coffee is to love coffee.

as more people talk about coffee, the more people become interested in drinking coffee. and there we have it: increased global consumption, which is the greatest gift we can give coffee farmers.

this is why i have always considered the cafeo-sphere exempt from the "empires of boredom" charge. so-called cheeseburger blogging is harmless and amusing for those who do it.

coffee blogging -- however surprising it may seem -- serves a much larger social purpose, as coffee has historically always served larger social purposes. (if you doubt that, check out the well-known creation of modern capitalism, news media, and political parties from their origins in coffeehouses.)

the broad structures of the contemporary world are, without exaggeration, rooted in coffee culture. and the world's development in the future also seems set to play out there, which is, after all, here.

but every blog obsessing about how the author adjusts his espresso machine for more precise temperature, or describing the beauty of an estate varietal, excites interest in others to buy machines and drink black gold. thus creating a feedback loop that slowly but surely results in more consumption and increased understanding of coffee as a fine beverage.

it's an unseasonably chill and gray day today -- perfect for an after-lunch americano made with andrew b's ecco roman espresso from yesterday. . .don't fret, dear readers, i will continue following up with batdorf's exciting los lirios colombia c.o.e. tomorrow. . .

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posted by fortune | 8:54 AM | top | link to this | email this: | links to this post | | 0 comments

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