National coffee what?

Somehow it didn’t make it onto my calendar, but apparently today was National Coffee Day. Unlike those other Hallmark holidays concocted to get consumers out buying people more stuff they don’t need, this is one of those holidays I can get behind.

I like coffee. I like the smell of it more than I like the taste of it, but most of all, I love the ritual. And shameful as it is to admit, I love the equipment. When I finished graduate school, I didn’t get a new car or have a big party. Instead, I was gifted with a FrancisFrancis X1. Talk about stuff we don’t need. I’d never purchase such a piece of equipment, but it was a gift. What could I do? To reject it would have been in poor taste. I covet this beautiful piece of machinery like some people covet their cars, polishing it delicately when I use it. Unfortunately the truth is it spends most of its time hidden in a cabinet while the French press gets most of the action.

Coffee has its dark side too of course. By now, most of us know to ensure that we’re purchasing coffee from companies that are paying workers a fair wage and not using child or slave labor by purchasing from Fair Trade Certified producers. But what else?

Songbirds’ habitats are often destroyed when forests are razed in order to grow coffee. There are certification programs Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center that provide assurance that coffee is grown under a canopy of forest. They also require organic production. The good news is that there are triple certified coffee brands so you can drink your cuppa Joe guilt-free. So happy Coffee Day! Latte, drip, press, macchiato. What’ll your poison be?

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