Academic journal article Electronic Green Journal

Review: Javatrekker: Dispatches from the World of Fair Trade Coffee

Academic journal article Electronic Green Journal

Review: Javatrekker: Dispatches from the World of Fair Trade Coffee

Article excerpt

Review: Javatrekker: Dispatches from the World of Fair Trade Coffee By Dean Cycon Cycon, Dean. Javatrekker: Dispatches from the World of Fair Trade Coffee. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2007. xvi, 239 pp. ISBN 9781933392707. US$19.95, paper. Printed on 50% postconsumer recycled paper, processed chlorine-free.

This around-the-world venture is told by an explorer of coffee communities. The book is composed of the author's personalized "travel yarns" in countries of Africa, South America, Central America, and Asia. Cycon professes, "The truth is, 99 percent of the people involved in coffee commerce, from roasters to baristas, have never been to a coffee village" (p. xiii). Trekking since 1987, Cycon became immersed in the customs, culture, struggles and hopes of indigenous coffee growers, finding coffee commonly intertwined with the culture, expressed in the rituals and customs of daily life. He encountered not only indigenous rights issues, but also environmental issues, including pesticide use, clear-cutting old-growth trees, and disrupting complex habitats when making room for coffee farms.

The vast majority of coffee is grown on farms of a few acres, and farmers make rock-bottom wages and profits from their crops, generally earning pennies per pound of beans. The price paid to coffee farmers has little to do with the cost of growing and processing the crop. Coffee prices are dictated by profit seekers-financial institutions, the processing plants, and layers of middlemen. Business takes place in a hostile environment of corruption, bureaucracy, and self-interest.

Awareness of social justice issues turned Cycon to activism. He helped found Coffee Kids, the first development organization dedicated to coffee communities. In 1993, he founded Deans Beans, a company that bought coffee directly from the farmers under Fair Trade terms. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.