Posts Categorized: coffee

Q: Does Fairtrade matter in Australia?

A: It didn’t used to but increasing in Australia we are buying into the idea of Fairtrade, as these charts show. This week Harriet Lamb director of the Fairtrade Foundation in the UK is visiting Australia, a leader in certification of the ethical sourcing of products. The fact is that Europe has been leading the world in sourcing Fairtrade goods for some 18 years while in Australia in the past five or six years we have only come to buy into the certification scheme. Basically Fairtrade’s aim is to protect workers in developing countries who are often exploited to produce cheap commodity products from chocolate to coffee, tea, cotton and even sports balls. The question to ask is whether the chocolate, coffee or tea you buy each day is ethically sourced. That means that a decent price is paid for the commodities, there are decent working conditions and that child labour isn’t used. You also might be interested to hear that 75 per cent of the world’s sports balls come from Pakistan and that many workers co-opt their children into making them. They often work long hours and are paid PKR20 (about one-third the minimum wage) To participate all you need to do is change shopping behaviour and as you can see from the charts supplied by the Fairtrade Association of Australia and New Zealand we are starting to do this. I had the opportunity to ask Lamb a series of questions for a story I was writing for a business magazine and was only able to use a small portion of the answers due to space constraints. Here is the full Q&A. EC: Why has the UK seen such amazing growth in Fairtrade while the economy has been so poor? HL: I think that the public are basically very decent – so once they know about Fairtrade, they are very loyal. Indeed, once you know about poverty among farmers, you cannot “unknow” that – in fact, if anything, in tough times maybe you have more empathy with people really struggling to make ends meet. Fairtrade is about going back to your core values – about people – and coming out of a time of abundance, the UK public’s mood may be in tune with those core values.  It is indeed significant, that while people have cut back on any items, they have increased their spending on Fairtrade and are… Read more »

Everything you wanted to know about coffee (but were afraid to ask your hipster barista) part 2

Check out Everything wanted to know about coffee (but were afraid to ask your hipster Barista) part 1 I‘m drinking coffee made from beans that are one month old. The beans are from the Bambito estate in Nicaragua. They are arabica, from from a mutation known as Caturra. It’s here in Australia because Nolan Hirte, owner of Proud Mary in Collingwood, brought them back to be followed shortly by 450kg he sourced directly. It’s the big change in coffee locally also driven by local roasters Market Lane, Seven Seeds, Auction Rooms and St Ali and others. It’s called seasonal coffee. It means the beans are fresher, the coffee less oxidized and the beans being fresher with higher levels of acid. This is something different in Australia where we are accustomed to beans that have travelled from South America to Europe and then to here. It means the beans aren’t fresh and the coffee is oxydised to varying degrees. If you want to drink a coffee like wine and enjoy the unique flavours from unique plantations that reflect their soil, climate and other local conditions (what French winemakers call terroir) you now can. What you’ll find, although this is a generalisation, is that African coffees tend to be very acid, Asian coffees are fuller bodied and South American ones are somewhere in between. The big difference with these beans that are now coming direct in to Australia – and mainly Melbourne, which has become the coffee capital of the country – instead of being exported to Europe before coming here. The beans are young, exhibit characteristics unique to their estates of origin, and are ideal to prepare in a way that you can actually taste the pure flavours, rather than in a milk based drink. This is known as “seasonal coffee”. This is why we are seeing new-fangled techniques for making coffees – syphons, clover, pour over – and coffees served in Riedel-style glasses. There are plenty of stories out there saying the coffee is the next wine. And if you are tasting it, the great thing is that the best coffee is cheap to get into tasting while wine is very expensive. But beware of coffee dinners (I might add tea, cocktails and any single drink) as many of the coffee food matches just don’t add up. Here’s your guide to third wave coffee in Melbourne. Syphon filter This is… Read more »