Let us celebrate International Coffee Day. Can't everyone enjoy great coffee?
Coffee continues to amaze us. Roasted coffee is a seed from a plant. Yet these seeds (and now the fruit!) fuel economies, brighten mornings, and divide dinner party conversations across the world.
International Coffee Day was launched in 2015 by the International Coffee Organization (enjoying the Milano coffee scene at the time). They created an annual platform to "talk coffee" and appreciate those working in coffee, from farm to cup.
I am taking the opportunity to discuss an interesting, yet undiscussed dynamic in the global coffee marketplace. Part of our mission of being located in Nicaragua is to make roasted specialty coffees available right here where coffee grows. When I do education coffee trainings for "coffee lovers in training" here in Nicaragua, the first issue that I must clarify is that we are working with natural coffee, coming directly from the plant rather than instant coffee.
Sounds weird, right? History...and marketing campaigns say no.
In the majority of today's coffee producing countries, coffee plants were planted for the export market around the late 1800s. High-and mid-level quality coffees were exported raw and the lowest quality remained in the domestic market for reasons of economy (these countries also remain among the poorest in the world).
The jury is out on where/when instant coffee birthed. Some say England (late 1700s), and some say New Zealand (late 1800s). Either way, the two World Wars contributed to global demand....and then came marketing!
Fast forward to the 1970s, a multi-national company has had great success in a) finding a use for unsold, leftover raw coffee with a "forever" shelf-life, and b) convincing millions of people that it tastes good. Ever since, the instant coffee marketing story has unfolded here in Central America, South America, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Asia.
Enter the map that you see at the top. While I appreciate the data (thank you, Euromonitor International), I take issue with the title.
During all of my work in too many situations where I drank instant coffee because that was what I was offered (in Kenya, I chose tea), it has been rare that I EVER heard someone say that they preferred instant coffee over brewed coffee (regardless of quality).
And, you know me, I definitely asked.
There was just nothing else available.
Back to Nicaragua. The majority of Nicaragua's 6-ish million population drink instant coffee every day. Café de palo (fresh, roasted coffee "from the tree") continues to be a "luxury" item here, both in perception and taxation. Little by little, the smiles that come from "tasting the difference" are beautiful.
Again, I am humbled to know that are part of a slow shift and get to share a wonderful cup of coffee with you.
Happy International Coffee Day!
Sincerely, Andrea on behalf of the Twin Engine Coffee team