Knowing coffee, learning coffee, trying to understand coffee—this is a humbling, lifelong pursuit. It is one of the most molecularly complex substances known to man, with a deep history rooted in Africa and countless modern expressions to be found in nearly every culture across the planet. The scale of coffee’s place in the public imagination, its unknowable vastness and importance across millennia, is the stuff of scholars and poets, journalists and storytellers, artists and academics.

But coffee is also a business, a commodity to be traded back and forth on the open market, with financial forces impacting the lives of millions around the world. The modern history of coffee is written every bit as much in ledgers and business charts. It’s not the *only* story that matters when we talk about coffee history, but nor should it be overlooked. In a new feature on Sprudge Special Projects, the journalist, author, and career coffee professional Mike Ferguson explores coffee’s undertold history as a market commodity, exploring price action on a macro scale across centuries. This is a must read for anyone who loves coffee, and especially if you now make your own life in the coffee trade.

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Read “A Brief History of the Price of Coffee” now on Sprudge Special Projects

Special Projects Desk is a hub for long-form original journalism and select archival features on Sprudge. Since 2009, Sprudge has been the world’s premier home for thought-provoking coffee journalism, evocative photo essays, design deep-dives, and cultural narratives. Special Projects Desk continues this tradition in 2023 and beyond, platforming exceptional works from the field of coffee journalism.

Special Projects Desk is supported by La Marzocco, handcrafting espresso machines in Florence, Italy since 1927. Their mission is to support the growth of specialty coffee; they believe that increasing knowledge and understanding is the best way to develop a thriving future for the coffee industry.

Sprudge is actively seeking pitches for long-form coffee writing—from both established and emerging journalists—without language or experience prerequisites. For more information, contact us.

Explore the complete archives of Sprudge Special Projects here. 

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