Coffee Wars

Last week, on one of my many coffee stops while I drove up and down the East Coast, I was waiting for my coffee at Dunkin' Donuts to notice something surprising above the donut case. Ok, yeah, I got a donut. Busted. But, that's not the point. Above the case, there was this little sign that proudly announced that all Dunkin' Donuts espresso products are fair trade. Quite frankly, I'm astonished.

But sure enough, there it is on their website. Apparently, Dunkies is the first national brand to exclusively serve fair trade espresso beans. Oh, and while we are at it, it's ESPRESSO, not expresso. There is nothing fast about it. There is no X. It's an Italian word, and it is eSpresso. Thank you. Spending the time that I spent in Italy, I have some issues with Americanization of the language. But, we're all clear now.

So back to Dunkies. This is kinda hard for me, as I sit here even now drinking my Starbucks Venti Non-fat Latte. I love Starbucks. I worked there for about 5 months and while I struggle with their branding and the fact that they are on every single corner thereby destroying the smaller stores that I adore so much, they treat their employees really well. They understand that living wage issues (and are closer than most at providing one) and the importance of health insurance. They are invested in giving back to their communities. Though they are a corporation, they are doing some prophetic things that other companies don't bother with. But, they do not have fair trade coffee. Ok, they have two brands of fair trade coffee that are always buried in the bottom of the display. They are the most expensive beans, and aren't so great actually. But, as far as justice-seeking goes for a company with a store on every Main Street USA (or maybe 2 stores), fair trade coffee should be a given. I really struggle with this. And it seems that I might just have to switch to Dunkies. Sigh.

But, just as I drink it at home, you can too. Have a cup of justice at home, no matter where you drink your java on the streets. Here are some of the possibilities:

Peace Coffee https://www.peacecoffee.com/
Dean's Beans http://www.deansbeans.com/ (this is where I get mine)
Equal Exchange http://www.equalexchange.com/


Rodney North said...

Pastor Peters,
Thank you for spreading the good word about Fair Trade and our worker co-op.

Did you know that the United Church of Christ has a program with our worker co-op to promote Fair Trade amongst UCC congregations? See: http://www.ucc.org/justice/coffee.

Lastly, just in case you, or your readers, don't know Fair Trade has, fortunately, spread to other categories like tea, cocoa, chocolate, sugar and fruit. See the middle of this page: http://www.transfairusa.org/content/about/factsheets.php


Pastor Peters said...

I'm not a highly trafficked blog, so I had to find out who Rodney North is. And get this, he's the "answer man" at Equal Exchange.

All that he says is true. And I would add that fair trade chocolate is also very, very yummy. I put it in the Easter Eggs for the kids hunt at the last church I worked at. Yes indeed.

But, I will add my contention with Equal Exchange. I have heard that most are overjoyed with their relationship with Equal Exchange. But, in my attempt to offer fair trade coffee to the seminary community, it took 3 months for my order to be completed. It was not an inordinate order. But, I was not impressed. My denomination does indeed support this distributor and most churches love them, but I raise my eyebrow in slight dissatisfaction.

It just has to be said.