Driven to Espresso: Drive-through Coffee Stands in the Northwest

If you think coffee culture is cool, you have come to the right place. I have loads of information and opinions to share about espresso in the Pacific Northwest, especially the drive-through phenomenon.

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Location: Edmonds, WA, United States

Saturday, January 09, 2010

How much coffee globally traded?

When discussing my fascination with drive-through espresso, I occasionally have told people that coffee is the world's second most valuable (legal) traded commodity in the world, as has many other people, but now find an article that challenges that. Well, it pretty much debunks that statement altogether. It is one of those loose interpretations of statistics, or urban legends, that became a well-accepted "fact" since the 1970s.

The statement has been made by many people, but I read it in Mark Pendergrast's book, Uncommon Grounds: the History of Coffee and How it Transformed Our World. I don't repeat the statement in Driven to Espresso, which as it turns out, is a good thing.

In an April 2009 article in Tea & Coffee Trade Journal, Pendergrast explains how he came up with the misinformed statement and describes his research that puts coffee in its place. According to Pendergrast's article, perhaps the misunderstanding is best explained by John M. Talbot, a sociology professor at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica. "So many people who have written about coffee have gotten it wrong," Talbot wrote. "Coffee is not the second most valuable primary commodity in world trade, as is often stated.... It is not the second most traded commodity, a nebulous formulation that occurs repeatedly in the media. Coffee is the second most valuable commodity exported by developing countries."

Read the entire article here.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

500 copies sold

Okay, by New York Times bestseller standards, I'm not there yet, but I still enjoy knowing that 500 copies of Driven to Espresso have sold since it became available in June. Do you have a copy yet?