For the Love of Coffee

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Kraft, Kraig. “A Reflection on Harves And Coffe Pickers”. Coffeelands. Web. November 9, 2015.

For the love of coffee, I thought I would never compromise my daily habits. I sheltered myself away from the knowledge of clear-cut forests for its sake. Then I tried not to consider the workers who processed the bean for my morning ritual. Ultimately, I found a sustainable and affordable alternative, which assuaged my guilt of privilege. I would not have to sacrifice my love of coffee. Robbins offered a biting comment about sugar that I was forced to impose on my relationship with the bean: it was a “luxury converted into a necessity”. I have had two cups of coffee since the age of fifteen; coffee has been my constant companion through nearly all major life moments ever since. It was never something that I was willing to forego, and moving to Seattle (the American coffee mecca) only normalized the habit more.

Two weeks ago, I stopped this daily consumption. So far, the saddest part of all is that I haven’t missed it that much. Somehow, I skipped the withdrawal headaches and adjusted easily to a decaffeinated tea. I did not make this change out of some altruistic purpose, I am sad to say. I am merely attempting to ease the stomach acid it creates in me now. It turns out, that I am not meant to drink coffee. At least, my body cannot handle the luxury to the extent that my brain would wish it to. Now I feel a new guilt at confronting the privilege which allowed me to think of this colonizing crop as a necessity.

What a drastic difference would be created in the world economy if we were all to simply cut back on our coffee consumption. Or, alternatively, to prioritize coffee as a treat, and be willing to pay the price that allows for sustainable growth and livable wages. I imagine in this scenario that the condition of coffee harvest would be more equitable to say the least, and could potentially end child labor at best. If harvesters were able to cover their children’s education and their cost of living, in compensation for their work, the economy of the coffee growing regions would look very different a generation from now. I cannot promise that I will never drink coffee again, but I can promise to treat it with the value it deserves.

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