The world of coffee – discovering the coffee industry

Come on, don’t you ever stop and smell the coffee? – Justina Chen, North of Beautiful

So, who here likes coffee?

When I ask this question, most of my friends tell me they do.

What kind of coffee do you like?

At this question, some people start to look at me like I’m weird or something. Usually, the answer I get to this, is “with milk” (or something along those lines) …


I started drinking coffee at university (instant coffee at first, I now shudder at the memory). The more I got used to it, the more I started to enjoy stronger dark coffees, without milk or sugar. With time, I distinguished different tastes and this is when I got curious.

A year ago, I found a great book in my favourite coffee shop in Luxembourg: “The World Atlas of Coffee” by James Hoffmann. At the time, I thought I had some basic knowledge about my favourite brew. This book made me realize that I knew next to nothing. The different coffee species and how they came to be cultivated, the coffee trees, harvesting and processing methods are described in the first two parts of the book. In the third part, Hoffmann talks about coffee in 29 countries of origin across Africa, Asia and the Americas. 29 countries, including the US (I was very surprised at first, then I realized we were talking about Hawaii).

In recent years, the sustainability of the coffee industry has become an important topic and in 2007 an International Coffee Agreement was signed to promote and develop a sustainable coffee sector.

I started looking for small coffee shops, who roast themselves and engage in direct contact with farmers. I bought a Chemex for my personal use at home and went to a “tasting”.  The term made me smile at first because I usually associate it with wine. Funnily enough, the concept is pretty similar. It’s not just about the taste, but also about how you drink it and how to distinguish flavours. There is much to be discovered. It’s pretty easy to do coffee tastings at home, too (I use my Chemex for this).

I hope that the trend towards sustainability, fair trade and better relations between farmers and coffee roasters will continue.

So, I will be looking for great coffee everywhere. My next stop will be the Philippines. Does anybody have any recommendations about coffee places there? I’d be more than happy to hear about them. 🙂

Note: The pictures in this post are taken from and free for commercial use. If you use more than the pictures, please give credit as usual 🙂

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