Coffee is important. For some, it is the fuel that gets you through the day. For others, it is a business and a livelihood. It is the second most traded commodity in the world after oil, its production employs over 25 million people worldwide, and it is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world as well. The coffee industry has suffered in recent decades with global prices falling dramatically, affecting the livelihood of millions. However, it is making a rapid recovery through alternative trade models, ethical trade initiatives and increasing consumer awareness. This book explores the rise of the 'speciality' coffee industry, which is driven by the constant pursuit of quality. What 'high quality coffee' actually means, how it is achieved and how its quality is assessed are extremely complex issues within this globalised industry. The book takes the form of a 'commodity ethnography', examining the cultures of coffee that are created throughout and around the production of the little brown beans.
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