1st of October 2015 is the first official International Coffee Day (ICD), a holiday designated by the International Coffee Organisation to celebrate one of the world’s most popular drinks in the world.
The Coffee Break is a Global Trend
Whether your “cup of coffee” is a Macchiato, a strong double Espresso, a sweet Mocha or an iced-cold Frappuccino you can be sure to find your favorite coffee almost everywhere around the globe. The cult of coffee has diffused all over the world, from Europe, to the Americas all the way to Asia. In fact, after petroleum, coffee is the second most traded product with an annual production of 148 million 60kg bags. Furthermore, worldwide consumption of this beverage is expected to rise almost 25% in the next five years as “[…] societies in India, China and Latina America continue to be Westernized” claims Roberio Silva, executive director of the International Coffee Organization.
Every day we consume 2.6 billions of cups of coffee.
ICD: What is the point?
Some people think ICD is just like any other day and or a commercial excuse to sell extra frappuccinos to enthusiastic caffeine- lovers. Comments like these are abundant on the web under the hashtag #InternationalCoffeeDay:
Apparently today is #InternationalCoffeeDay. I honestly thought it was every day.
— Nash Nashy (@NASHterpiece) September 29, 2015
Nevertheless, the importance of a day like this is to help to raise awareness about sustainable coffee cultivation and fair trade practices within the coffee industry. Coffee derives from the seeds or berries of the coffee plant. Even though historians believe that it was first discovered in Ethiopia, today the world leading exporters of coffee are Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia and Indonesia. Initially it was used for religious ceremonies and rituals, but it eventually became a very diffused beverage in most households of Europe and America by the XVIIth century.
The launch of the first official ICD will take place in Milan, (Italy) host city of EXPO 2015 – the Universal Exhibition, which is dedicated to the theme “Feeding the Planet – Energy for Life”. In occasion of the first International Coffee Day, the world leading coffee producers, related associations, institutions and business representatives will meet up in Milan at the Global Coffee Forum (30 September – 1 October) in the Stella Polare Conference Center (@coffeeforum15) to discuss about the development of a sustainable coffee economy.
Coffee and Sustainability
The theme of the International Coffee Day is to communicate that coffee is more than a drink or a tasty experience;
Coffee is the work of 25+ millions families in more than 56 countries around the world as long as an issue for climate change.
The biggest source of environmental damage that derives directly from coffee comes during the production of the beans themselves. The global increase in demand has caused a massive change in the growing methods with profound implications on sustainability. Traditionally, coffee was cultivated under a shaded canopy if trees which provide an optimal ecosystem for the local fauna. However, this traditional growing system has been superseded by ‘sun cultivation’, a cultivation method with no forested canopy.
As a consequence, 2.5 million acres of forest in Central America have been destroyed to create space for coffee farming.
The WWF has pointed out that 37 of the 50 countries in the world with the highest deforestation rates are also coffee producers. Along with the environmental concerns related to its growing methods (see the work of Rainforest Alliance), more attention needs to be dedicated also to the ethical side of production (see world of Fairtrade).
Despite the huge changes that have revolutionized the coffee industry in the last few decades there is still a lot of work to do to make the world coffee-drinking habit a sustainable one. This is why it is important to support the International Coffee Day.