Nov 30, 2014

Of Coffee Beans & BPO

70 beans = 1 cup of coffee. According to one of the coffee documentary films i watched this weekend inspired by "coffee appreciation" talk of paolo. (Movies were "the story of coffee" and "connected by coffee")

One of the baristas narrated in the film that the cup of coffee in our hands undergoes 3 stages: the farmers, the roasters (if i remember it right), and the barista/coffeemaker. And, most of the time including me, we only get to see the 3rd stage, which all looks so romantic.

So it was kind of weird to see the "first stage" in the film -- farmers toiling the farms, manually handpicking each of the beans / cleaning up / carrying sacks of beans on their back, while (in contrast) i whine about life over a cup of coffee in some well-lit airconditioned romantically set-up cafe. 

The documentaries made me feel guilty on one side - imagine the hardwork of farmers and roasters for that just 1 cup of coffee. but on the other side, the farmers are also very thankful of the coffee drinkers because they put food on their table. so i guess in the end, all is fair.

I guess the one point i learned from the films was that those "expensive beans" from specialty shops are somehow worth the price because they pay the farmers better. So if you can swallow paying a steeper price for those beans with "fair trade" on their packaging or those specialty shops known for being fair to the farmers, go for it.

But one of the scenes that tugged my heart was when this "Americans" (fair trade) buyers made and served coffee to the farmers, and told them how their beans make delicious coffee. It's heartwarming to see a glimmer of pride on the farmer's face.

How an appreciation directly received from the "consumer" can make a difference -- from being a mere source of income or a provider of beans to having that sense of pride that the beans you work hard for have made someone's day beautiful. 

And, looking at it, being a BPO country, we're not different from the coffee growers servicing the high-end coffee shops of different countries of which the farmers probably cannot go. 

My point is sometimes there's always that "lacking feeling" when you do a job for the sake of getting paid, which can just be filled up easily with seeing the sarisfaction from your "customers" face. 

And, i hope that my happinness in my "mug shots" will reach the coffee growers. :)

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