Has Coffee Really Changed America?

Today National Geographic News online writer Brian Clark Howard posted a News Watch article titled, “How Coffee Changed America“.

The article starts off with sharing an infographic of the time line of coffee in America which some interesting coffee statistics are presented:

  • Coffee is the 2nd most traded commodity in the world
  • US coffee drinkers consume 3.1 9-oz cups of coffee per day
  • Coffee is the 2nd most recognizable odor in America (only to the smell of burning wood)

I encourage you to go to the article to see the entire infographic in full “coffee brown” color.

Following the infographic Howard questions how much we want to “look behind the bean” in light of the comfort and ritual a hot cup of coffee is for the average America. True, there is a lot of debate about how healthy coffee really is with studies that sometimes seem to contradict each other. Howard decides to briefly dive into the subject of coffee and addresses a couple topics that spark our interest here at That’s Coffee.

Coffee Done “Right” vs. Coffee Done “Wrong”

The difference between these two approaches, according Howard, means that coffee has a “complex relationship with culture and the environment.” Coffee production using fair-trade farming techniques such as shade-grown conditions help protects forested areas and the organisms sharing the habitat. Coffee production using frowned upon techniques such as clear cutting, pesticides and low waged employees can cause a lot of harm to the environment. At That’s Coffee, we prefer coffee done “right”.

Coffee’s Cultural History

Howard also touches briefly on how coffee  has affected globalization and corporate responsibility. The coffeehouse, over time, has become a gathering place for individuals to express their opinions on a wide range of subjects.Did you know that The New York Stock Exchange and The Bank of New York started in coffeehouses located on modern day Wall Street?

On a personal note, going to a coffee shop and enjoying a cup of coffee often means connecting with a friend or family member. When a pot of coffee is brewed in the office it brings coworkers together for a few brief moments before returning to work. When I purchase Fair Trade and Organic coffee beans I know I am playing a part in promoting healthy communities centered around environmentally friendly farming practices. Coffee definitely plays a role in shaping the culture that I live in.

What about you? How do you feel coffee has changed America?


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