Coffee Chapter Summary

759 Words 4 Pages
Section one of the Coffee Book delivers a detailed account on the coffee history. It opens with Islamic legends, which link the coffee bush to Ethiopia from where coffee seeds were collected and cultivated in Yemen. At the beginning, coffee was eaten for energy and medicament before being made a drink by Islamic monks. The authors take the reader on a journey of Coffee drink from the Arab world to Europe and America where coffee houses opened and became meetings places for political and economic interaction. Their emergence transformed the social and political behaviours. The Arabs formed their rituals around coffee beverage, which was considered as a substitute for prohibited alcohol drinks. In Europe, the consecration of coffee beverage by …show more content…
The beverage was seen as radical, addictive and unhealthy and was forbidden in the Arab peninsula and in Europe for social, political or economic reasons. But the backlash to the enfeebling liquor had the unexpected effect of increasing the popularity of the beverage. Despite the spreading of coffee beverage, the Arabs monopoly of coffee production remained until Dutchmen spirited away smuggled coffee seedlings they cultivated in their Eastern colonies. The French, the British, and the Portuguese followed suit by planting coffee in their tropical colonies. By the eighteen centuries, French Haiti became the pinnacle of coffee production. But it was not until the nineteenth century that British Ceylon took over as the world 's leading coffee producer. Following the collapse of British coffee production, Brazil emerged by the mid-nineteenth century as the largest coffee supplier. Whereas European colonialism shaped the coffee trade, the end of colonialism in Brazil and in the USA is said to have opened a global market for coffee. The next sections will discuss the market structure along the coffee supply …show more content…
They note the dominance of local exporters and intermediaries who account for 6% of the roast retail coffee value (Fair Trade Foundation, 2012). A study done on the coffee value chain suggests 87% of the retail cost of roasted coffee is retained by roasters and retailers whereas smallholders who produce 80% of global coffee supply capture only 7% (International Trade Centre, 2011). Not only are smallholders "at a disadvantage in global markets" but they face "the boom and bust cycles in commodity prices." (Sick, 2008). Indeed, coffee prices are volatile and fluctuate with the weather conditions, the entry of new producers into the global markets as well as change in coffee supply policy. The authors show how major weather events in Brazil, Guatemala and Colombia cause supply shortage and price spike, which prompt overproduction and low prices. They note the attempts made by cartels to cartelize global prices by limiting supply and stimulating demand. The collapse of cartelized prices in the 1990s opens a free market and brings back the cyclical behaviour. The authors examine the challenge faced by coffee producers, following the coffee crisis, with the emergence of Vietnam as a coffee power. From producing less than 0.1% of global production in the 1980s, Vietnam exceeds 13% the world production by 2000, causing

Related Documents