This surprisingly gripping travelogue is filled with tales from the "coffeelands," barely-on-the-map locales in Africa, the Americas and Asia where coffee farmers struggle to survive. Written with knowledge and good cheer by the founder and owner of Dean's Beans Organic Coffee, the book reads more like a trippy adventure than a business trip, though the issues Cycon raises are vital, prescient and little known ("99 percent of the people involved in coffee... have never been to a coffee village"). While learning firsthand about the hardships involved in growing and selling coffee beans-the world's second most valuable commodity, after oil-the author finds himself in Guatemala, praying to an effigy wearing a Mickey Mouse tie and cowboy boots; eating armadillo leg in Colombia; working to heal landmine victims in Nicaragua and war widows in Sumatra; and meeting with all manner of farmers, bureaucrats and dignitaries. His dispatches are highly enlightening, demonstrating how few national governments provide coffee growers with water, education, health care or even protection from harmful pesticides; further, coffee growers' income is subject to the whims of financial speculators half a world away. After reading this eye-opening book, it's impossible not to reconsider-and feel grateful for-the myriad people behind your morning cup. (Oct.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Javatrekker: Dispatches from the World of Fair Trade Coffeeby Dean Cycon
In each cup of coffee we drink the major issues of the twenty-first century-globalization, immigration, women's rights, pollution, indigenous rights, and self-determination-are played out in villages and remote areas around the world. In Javatrekker: Dispatches from the World of Fair Trade Coffee, a unique hybrid of Fair Trade business, adventure travel,/em>
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In each cup of coffee we drink the major issues of the twenty-first century-globalization, immigration, women's rights, pollution, indigenous rights, and self-determination-are played out in villages and remote areas around the world. In Javatrekker: Dispatches from the World of Fair Trade Coffee, a unique hybrid of Fair Trade business, adventure travel, and cultural anthropology, author Dean Cycon brings readers face-to-face with the real people who make our morning coffee ritual possible.
Second only to oil in terms of its value, the coffee trade is complex with several levels of middlemen removing the 28 million growers in fifty distant countries far from you and your morning cup. And, according to Cycon, 99 percent of the people involved in the coffee economy have never been to a coffee village. They let advertising and images from the major coffee companies create their worldview.
Cycon changes that in this compelling book, taking the reader on a tour of ten countries in nine chapters through his passionate eye and unique perspective. Cycon, who is himself an amalgam-equal parts entrepreneur, activist, and mischievous explorer-has traveled extensively throughout the world's tropical coffeelands, and shows readers places and people that few if any outsiders have ever seen. Along the way, readers come to realize the promise and hope offered by sustainable business principles and the products derived from cooperation, fair pricing, and profit sharing.
Cycon introduces us to the Mamos of Colombia-holy men who believe they are literally holding the world together-despite the severe effects of climate change caused by us, their "younger brothers." He takes us on a trip through an ancient forest in Ethiopia where many believe that coffee was first discovered 1,500 years ago by the goatherd Kaldi and his animals. And readers learn of Mexico's infamous Death Train, which transported countless immigrants from Central America northward to the U.S. border, but took a horrifying toll in lost lives and limbs.
Rich with stories of people, landscapes, and customs, Javatrekker offers a deep appreciation and understanding of the global trade and culture of coffee.
In each cup of coffee we drink the major issues of the twenty-first century-globalization, immigration, women's rights, pollution, indigenous rights, and self-determination-are played out in villages and remote areas around the world.
What is Fair Trade Coffee?
Coffee prices paid to the farmer are based on the international commodity price for coffee (the "C" price) and the quality premium each farmer negotiates. Fair Trade provides an internationally determined minimum floor price when the C plus premium sinks below $1.26 per pound for conventional and $1.41 for organics (that's us!). As important as price, Fair Trade works with small farmers to create democratic cooperatives that insure fair dealing, accountability and transparency in trade transactions. In an industry where the farmer is traditionally ripped off by a host of middlemen, this is tremendously important.
Cooperatives are examined by the Fairtrade Labeling Organization (FLO), or the International Fair Trade Association (IFAT), European NGOs, for democratic process and transparency. Those that pass are listed on the FLO Registry or become IFAT members. Cooperatives provide important resources and organization to small farmers in the form of technical assistance for crop and harvest improvement, efficiencies in processing and shipping, strength in negotiation and an array of needed social services, such as health care and credit. Fair Trade also requires pre-financing of up to sixty percent of the value of the contract, if the farmers ask for it. Several groups, such as Ecologic and Green Development Fund have created funds for pre-finance lending.
- Chelsea Green Publishing
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Meet the Author
Dean Cycon owns Dean's Beans, an all-organic, all-fair-trade, all-kosher coffee roaster in Orange, MA. He and his company lead the industry in commitment to true fair-trade principles. Projects funded through Dean's Beans include a revolving loan fund to dig wells in Ethiopia, a coffee roaster/café in Nicaragua owned and operated by a prosthetics clinic giving limbs and therapy to landmine victims, reforestation in Peru, and coffee de-pulping machines in Papua New Guinea. to learn more about Dean's Beans visit www.deansbeans.com.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I purchased this book because I am interested in Fair Trade, but, to me, this is rather an adventure travel book. Written in a very direct and personal style, relating interesting experiences, be they risky or comic. Altough I live in Europe, I once ordered a bag on Dean's beans. I was amazed by their strong aroma, even after their overseas journey (sorry for the carbon footprint). After reading the book I can understand why that coffee was so outstanding: Dean Cycon does whatever it takes to buy the best coffee while really caring about the well-being and development of the producers. Worth reading ! Roberto Valbuena Madrid, Spain www.fair-trade-hub.com