Do you see the world that lies behind your package of coffee when you impassively place it into your shopping basket? Do you taste the chain of workmanship that stretches across several continents when you drink your espresso? This book is a photographic travel log of a journey between two totally different worlds that are linked by the same product.
Photographer Olaf Hammelburg spent two years in Peru working on this extraordinary story tracing the route taken by a small lot of coffee that has been picked, washed, dried and then blessed by a shaman high in the isolated green world of the Peruvian Andes. Transported by donkeys over suspended bridges, on rafts over a river, on a truck over high snow covered peaks all the way to the port of Lima, a transatlantic ship and then to cafes in Europe and the US. A breathtaking story told entirely by the eighty dramatic photos of magnificent places and of people with faces that have been unforgettably carved by their experiences. Your coffee gets a face after going through this book, and coffee drinking becomes a total different experience. The book is interspersed with short articles by three of the farmers, a director of a Peruvian coffee cooperative, by Olaf Hammelburg, Ken Davids (well known for his numerous books on coffee and for his website Coffee Review) and George Howell (well known as the co-founder of Cup of Excellence).
Quotes from the articles in the book:
Olaf Hammelburg: "With knowing the people behind the beverage you apreciate more what you drink. It is the farmer's efforts which you will discover in a good cup of coffee. His skills are the main source of the things you taste. I know it is a world far from your own, but with this book I hope to bring it a little closer."
Olaf Hammelburg: "As I was inspired by the many people I met along this coffee journey, I hope this book will encourage you to start a personal journey to buying better and fairer coffee of your own, and that you will inspire others."
Kenneth Davids: "For me, the finest outcome would see the Fair Trade seal Ð or something like it Ð become as common and inevitable on coffee as the 'Dolphin-Safe' seal is on canned tuna Ð a rule rather than exception, something that no coffee can afford to come to the market without"
Kenneth Davids: "Ultimately, if we are to achieve a world in which coffee is no longer taken for granted and takes its rightful place as a beverage as worthy of respect as wine, and if the producers of fine coffee are to become as well respected (and as well compensated) as vintners, I believe we need both the passion for the beverage itself as expressed in connoisseurship and the passion for human solidarity as expressed in Fair Trade."
George Howell: "Few consumers realize what effort must go into producing fine, or even just fair average, quality coffee. It is a complex, time-consuming, difficult craft, rivaling in every way the challenges to produce fine wines."
George Howell: "So let us consumers continue learning to savor our coffees more."
Raœl Supo (Farmer):"Cultivating using organic methods means no longer going to bed with a headache, also, everything growing on my plantation now leads a healthier life"
Benita Facundo Quevedo (Farmer): "Today I am able to export my coffee all over the world thanks to the Cepicafe cooperative. I also had the opportunity to become president of our local association. Women today are generally taken much more seriously."
Sergio Mu–oz Mayo (Farmer): "The improvements that we are now able to make are among other things the result of our increased awareness of our situation in the west. Fair-Trade was the first to ensure we were guaranteed a minimum wage. As small-scale farmers, we had always been a plaything of the large producers, in for example Brazil."