Stop! If you’re reading this, stop what you’re doing and listen to the next sentence: take thirty minutes out of your day today to listen to this podcast. You can do it while you’re cooking or out for a walk or whatever! Just listen.

In the second episode of In Good Taste on the Sprudge Podcast Network, host Ever Meister is diving deep into what it means to sell coffee here in 2021—asking some of the biggest ethical questions and issues that are in the marketing sphere of specialty coffee right now. This episode explores the ethical implications of using photographs in coffee marketing and asks, among other things, “What story are the pictures that we share of coffee farmers telling?

In the episode, Meister speaks with several coffee producers across Latin America and Africa with varied opinions on the use of photography in coffee marketing. The featured interviewee is Vava Angwenyi, the founder of Vava Coffee Limited in Kenya, and also co-founder and director of Gente Del Futuro in Tanzania, Colombia, and Kenya. Angwenyi authored Coffee, Milk, Blood in 2020 and explains what’s special about it is that “the producer in Africa is depicted in a more dignified manner, in a manner that takes us beyond the washing station, beyond the coffee cherry, beyond the dirty hands and the dirty feet that are processing the coffee.”

Book 01 Cover Straight
Coffee Milk Blood by Vava Angwenyi (Photo via official website)

Every single one of us in this industry, from farmers to exporters, to roasters, to baristas, to you wherever you are, to me sitting in front of this microphone, we’re all complicated,” says Meister, “some producers love having their photos taken. Some insist on having their photos taken. Others will shy away from a camera, and some will simply say, ‘no.’

There’s no blanket response to the question of ethical photography and the ethical use of images in specialty coffee, just like there’s no blanket response to what does the washed process mean or what roast is best for espresso. The real work, I think, is in trying to gain more nuanced approaches to the way that we talk about, depict, and sell coffee.”

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This is powerful stuff and we’re thrilled to present it.

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Transcript available here.

In Good Taste is part of our new, regularly updating network of coffee podcast content. And we’re just getting started—Sprudge Podcast Network offers a range of shows with insightful, delightful hosts from around the world. Listen to Cascaraa coffee travel podcast hosted by Cydni Patterson, No Free Refills, a pop culture podcast hosted by Ezra Baker and Tymika Lawrence, A Better Table hosted by Sprudgie Award-winning journalist and community organizer Umeko Motoyoshi, Seed To Cup, and The Coffee Sprudgecast.

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