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Historians credit the Boston Tea Party in 1773 for creating a nation of coffee drinkers overnight, and coffee has been allied with democracy ever since. After the Sons of Liberty dumped King George’s tea into Boston’s harbor our founders looked instead to the West Indian colonies of Spain and France to supply them with coffee, the new patriotic elixir. Jamaica, Haiti, Cuba, Guadeloupe, and Puerto Rico happily filled the bill for 150 years, rewarding America’s switch to coffee with fine arabicas grown in near-ideal island conditions. Read more

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Last year we introduced a premium “flagship” coffee from Zimbabwe, trade-named “Pinnacle”, whose distinction was owed in part to being produced on only 8 select farms. One of those farms, La Lucie Estate, stands out for its near fanatical zeal in pursuit of the ideal coffee- production regimen. This year we are proud to offer the fruit of this single select estate. Read more

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We begin our 1998 Coffee of the Month series with the perenial favorite, Tanzania Peaberry. There are two good reasons for this: First, it will provide a fine comparison with our delicious December COM, Congo Kivu. Produced at the same altitude and latitude and under similar climatic and cultural conditions, the two provide us with a practical test of any “peaberry effect”. Read more

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Equatorial Kebab

On the map, the Equator skewers Kenya like a tasty bit of shish kebab. This maximal solar exposure is modulated by monsoons and Indian Ocean tradewinds. The Great Rift Valley, which runs from Syria to South Africa dominates Kenya’s inland relief, giving its coffee trees the cooling and slow growth benefits of high altitude, free of frost. Read more

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This month we revisit our old friend, Ethiopia Yirgacheff. Ethiopian of course is the Alpha coffee, the evolutionary womb of the botanic species, and thus, the place where the adventure begins.

Coffee occupies a central place in the economic and social life of Ethiopians. It accounts for 60% of their national export earnings. Yet only a third of Ethiopia’s harvest is exported. One reason for this is that Ethiopians are among the highest consumers per capita of coffee in the world. Read more

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A Rediscovered Name

In May of this year rebels ousted Zairian President Mobutu Sese Seko, after nearly 32 years of increasingly corupt and despotic rule. Mobutu, who died in September in exile, is said to have amassed a personal fortune of up to $8 billion. In 1971 he changed the name of his country to Zaire, as part of a program of cultural nationalism. One of the rebels’ first acts was to ditch the name Zaire, and restore the name Mobutu had discarded: Democratic Republic of the Congo. Read more