A Pretty Picture to Paint?|
I enjoyed some 15 minutes of fame when a reporter from Reuters wrote up a little story on the 100th year anniversary of the Journal and myself this past month. I proudly e-mailed it to my parents and other family members. My 80-year-old father claimed it “got lost on the internet” after I accused him of not caring enough to read it, but I digress. The reporter fairly represented two of our readers’ views. I thank Rob Stephen of Dunkin’ Donuts who praised the magazine. However, another specialty coffee roaster claimed he didn’t read this magazine because we paint too rosy a picture of everything.
So I thought, Am I painting too rosy a picture?
Several months ago, I cried as I read Tim Castle’s article on East Africa, about an entire continent under siege, its coffee industry a shadow of its once glorious self. I heard complaints from the Kenyan and Costa Rican growers when several industry members reported in our magazine that these countries’ coffee quality were slipping. Several of our stories attacked the foodservice industry, accusing them of downgrading the sector of the industry - promptly setting off a war in print among some roasters and equipment manufacturers. The plight of the Mexican and Guatemalan coffee farmers meeting their death as they tried to enter the U.S. looking for better jobs makes one pause and reflect. Green coffee prices are still at an all-time low and there seems to be no recovery in sight. I had hoped that this crisis would have passed by now. But I see hope as the Guatemalans stage the “Guatemalan Cup of Excellence” internet auction in conjunction with the SCAA, George Howell and others. The auction commanded high prices from scrambling traders from all around the world, proving to the farmer that excellent quality coffee is worth so much more.
This month, correspondent Larry Luxner visits Cuba and reports of its diminishing and eroding coffee conditions. He writes about José Gaviña, whose family lost their entire coffee farm during Castro’s regime. While Gaviña was justifiably angered, he said he would be willing to come back and rebuild the coffee industry after Castro is no longer in power.
Yes, we are aware of the shortcomings of this industry, as well as its positives. And it is our intent that you also feel that, even during these hard times, there is still much hope out there.
Editor & Co-Publisher
Tea & Coffee - September/October 2001
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