Quality Coffee: A Journey into the World of Global Coffee Production & Distribution- PART # 1.

Green Beans: Beans recently imported from South America at the Level Grounds distribution wearhouse in Saanichton, BC. These beans have yet to be 'air-roasted' which alters the colouration from light green to either 'brownish' or black.

What’s in your coffee cup? Where did this magical ‘pick me up’, that makes Monday mornings bearable, actually come from? Furthermore, how in the world did it arrive at my local supermarket or coffee shop, when it was grown almost half a world away in Columbia or Ethiopia for instance? Also more importantly, was this coffee produced in both an ethical and fair manner; and for the record, what does fair trade even mean when it comes to coffee?  For the answer to these and many more coffee related questions, I dare you to continue reading this post and the following posts on coffee.

Canadians are so fixated on coffee, that it would arguably be akin, to removing one of the tires from a bicycle. Without our daily cup of coffee-we wouldn’t get very far.  A a series of statistics offered by the Coffee Association of Canada sheds light into our fixation with this, bitter but excellent tasting concoction. Apparently on average 63% of all Canadians, have at least one cup of coffee per day. Comparatively only 49% of Americans do the same. This all makes complete sense when you take into consideration the Ontario factor. What is this you ask? Well, when you visit the suburbs outside of Ottawa or Toronto there is almost always a Tim Horton’s and a gas station located at every street corner, sometimes even two if you are visiting downtown Hamilton! Vancouver has a comparable phenomenon with Starbucks.

Curiosity seems to be my middle name. Also by association my first name might as well mean troublesome, because whenever I have a question, I seek out the answer even if it gets me, into trouble, just ask my boss Mason if you don’t believe me.  So last Friday, [July 23rd 2010] wanting answers, to these pressing and important questions for a nation of java junkies, I did my best homage to CNN’s Anderson Cooper, by interviewing both Shane Deveraux [owner of Habit Coffee] and Derek Perkins [Marketing Director for Level Ground Trading]. The result? I got a ‘360’ degree perspective into the modern coffee industry.

Derek pointing to Columbia on a map. This is a coffee producing country, where Level Ground Trading has been operating in for the longest time in the companies history.

Stay tuned for my next post, which won’t take another two weeks to research and write, I promise.  I will get into the meat and bones of my hard hitting questions about the coffee industry, which I directed at both Derek and Shane last week.

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