Saturday, October 07, 2006

the ghetto

Last week my husband brought home a Chicago Tribune and I garbbed up the Tempo section at the sight of the article on Starbucks. The last several weeks I've been gnawing at Starbucks in my head for a couple of different reasons.

I'm kind of into fair trade. I've talked a little about it before and slowly came around to the thought that my cup of coffee comes at too high of a price for it to be anything but fair trade. I've known coffee growers and I've walked up and down coffee growing countries in Africa and the Dominican Republic. Coffee growers get the short end of the stick. Their profit is a pittance compared to the profit the buyers make in the west (read the US). They work harder, longer and their lands are often taken an environmental impact due to poor management. This article puts together a nice argument. All of that to say that I've switched all buying of coffee and tea in our house to fair trade products. Mostly I've been buying Equal Exchange coffee from Ten Thousand Villages stores. Perhaps some would say its a bit pricy but about 8 or 9 years ago the price of coffee in the US spiked due to a switch in world demand and I think El Nino. I don't remember the why, I remember they did. Anyway people kept buying coffee, they just paid more. Slowly prices have eased back and now we're back to buying a big can of folgers for something like $6 USD (midwest prices). So I still buy coffee that is expensive but I do get the knowledge that the coffee grower is getting a fair price.

Now to Starbucks (no link, you don't need it). Some weeks ago (first of Sept) Starbucks announced she was raising her coffee prices, .05 cents a cup and about .50cents/ lb (Business Week). It irked me that part of the excuse was the increase in transportation cost. Gas prices have dropped steadily the last several months. It would make sense (cents) that they would have raised in the spring but now seems a little greedy. Other articles cited increase dairy and cofffee costs. Either way its a price hike and it sounds like it isn't going to my nice farmer friend in Ethiopia. So earlier this last week when my husband brought home the Chicago Tribune and donuts and I read this article and I laughed at Starbucks. It seems certain creative coffee drinkers have decided to teach the old boy a thing or two. Coffee drinker orders double espresso in a lg. cup, coffee drinker proceeds to condiment counter and fills cup with milk and takes cup to the office where coffee drinker microwaves for 30 seconds (thus the dairy excuse). Coffee drinker has just produced a cafe latte while saving something like 2.00$ . Clever coffee drinker calls this the "Ghetto Latte" or the "Faux latte". But I would suggest clever coffee drinker skip the silly starbucks, shells out the 30$ and buys an espresso machine. Clever Coffee drinker could then feel the power of being a home barista and truly there is nothing like it. Clever coffee drinker then saves self overtime and probably gets a happy feeling all at the same time.

So that is my little persuasive essay on Starbucks.

Note: We here at curious aside believe in trying to be as source accurate as a busy mother can be, so excuse any generalizations. We also don't like abbreviations, and internet speak; mostly because we've never quite gotten the hang of it. Best to not use words you don't understand. When highlighting links I also take the idea that it should be the prominent color of the link's site.
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