Conflict Coffee?

 

A few years ago, my company was forced to spend millions of dollars proving that our products do not contain “conflict minerals,” or raw materials produced in war zones. A fool’s errand, if you ask me, because it is nearly impossible to prove where all of the raw materials used in any product originated.

I was just in my local Starbucks, and I noticed they have a small blackboard where they list “Starbucks Reserve Coffees.” One of today’s Reserve selections is D. R. Congo Kawa Kabuya.

Now, the last time I checked the Democratic Republic (!!) of Congo is one of the world’s hottest war zones, besides being the site of a pretty bad Ebola virus outbreak.  I wonder how socially-responsible Starbucks can justify sourcing their coffee from a war zone.

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There are 34 comments.

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  1. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    I hope you called them on it.

    • #1
  2. Kay of MT Inactive
    Kay of MT
    @KayofMT

    What I want to know is “Why in heck were you in a Starbucks?” Their coffee is horrible, taste like it’s burned.

    • #2
  3. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Around 1998, a fellow officer, who had served and privately trekked throughout Central and South America, was coldly derisive of the “socially responsible” sourcing movement. He did not see the claims at all matching actual possible outcomes on the ground, so dismissed them as strictly propaganda for our middle-class and elite domestic consumption. But, perhaps he was a bit cynical.

    • #3
  4. Mike "Lash" LaRoche Inactive
    Mike "Lash" LaRoche
    @MikeLaRoche

     One of these days I should try Black Rifle Coffee.

    • #4
  5. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Mike "Lash" LaRoche (View Comment):

    One of these days I should try Black Rifle Coffee.

    Our millennial at work orders it.  He likes it, and he’s coffee snob.

    • #5
  6. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Mike "Lash" LaRoche (View Comment):

    One of these days I should try Black Rifle Coffee.

    Gets your day off to a bang. I have friends who only drink Black Rifle Coffee, of course they also think the NRA is squishy, important, but squishy.

    • #6
  7. Mike "Lash" LaRoche Inactive
    Mike "Lash" LaRoche
    @MikeLaRoche

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Mike "Lash" LaRoche (View Comment):

    One of these days I should try Black Rifle Coffee.

    Gets your day off to a bang. I have friends who only drink Black Rifle Coffee, of course they also think the NRA is squishy, important, but squishy.

    I have some similar friends who regard my NRA Life Membership as the equivalent of being a RINO squish.

    • #7
  8. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Mike "Lash" LaRoche (View Comment):
    I have some similar friends who regard my NRA Life Membership as the equivalent of being a RINO squish.

    Lol.  I’m too old to spend the money for a lifetime membership.

    • #8
  9. JudithannCampbell Inactive
    JudithannCampbell
    @JudithannCampbell

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Mike "Lash" LaRoche (View Comment):
    I have some similar friends who regard my NRA Life Membership as the equivalent of being a RINO squish.

    Lol. I’m too old to spend the money for a lifetime membership.

    That is what my Dad said; they called him when he was 90 and tried to sell him on a lifetime membership; he laughed, and said “I am 90, I will not buy a lifetime membership, but sign me up for 5 years.” :)

    • #9
  10. JudithannCampbell Inactive
    JudithannCampbell
    @JudithannCampbell

    JudithannCampbell (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Mike "Lash" LaRoche (View Comment):
    I have some similar friends who regard my NRA Life Membership as the equivalent of being a RINO squish.

    Lol. I’m too old to spend the money for a lifetime membership.

    That is what my Dad said; they called him when he was 90 and tried to sell him on a lifetime membership; he laughed, and said “I am 90, I will not buy a lifetime membership, but sign me up for 5 years.” :)

    And it is almost time for him to renew! He will be 95 in less than a year, and is doing great :)

    • #10
  11. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    I like my weekly Frappuccino, and I despise “socially-responsible”.  I did not call them on it, because those who source the coffee are a long way, in corporate terms, from the local stores.  However, I will mention it to my fellow ISM-Western Washington members who work at Starbucks corporate office.

    • #11
  12. Boss Mongo Member
    Boss Mongo
    @BossMongo

    @rushbabe49: ask them if you can sift their raw grind for blood diamonds.

    I’m a big fan of BRCs “Blacker than Black” roast.  Plus, they gave us the Jumpmaster Dad.  My kids can relate.

    • #12
  13. Boss Mongo Member
    Boss Mongo
    @BossMongo

    Okay.  This was the follow-on to the Jumpmaster dad.

    Watch this and tell me you don’t love Black Rifle Coffee Company.

    Plus, they don’t need a schtick; they make great coffee.

    • #13
  14. Nanda Panjandrum Member
    Nanda Panjandrum
    @

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):

    @rushbabe49: ask them if you can sift their raw grind for blood diamonds.

    I’m a big fan of BRCs “Blacker than Black” roast. Plus, they gave us the Jumpmaster Dad. My kids can relate.

    Loves me some BRCC, but I needs my té …Where to righteously source my morning cuppa?

     

     

    • #14
  15. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    Our favorite tea is “Dragon-Eye Oolong” which we first tried at PF Chang’s.  Ray had to go on the internet to buy it, as it does not seem to be available in stores.  We are also fond of Empress Tea, a special blend made for the Empress Hotel in Victoria, BC.  That is readily available at their web site.

    • #15
  16. Nanda Panjandrum Member
    Nanda Panjandrum
    @

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    Our favorite tea is “Dragon-Eye Oolong” which we first tried at PF Chang’s. Ray had to go on the internet to buy it, as it does not seem to be available in stores. We are also fond of Empress Tea, a special blend made for the Empress Hotel in Victoria, BC. That is readily available at their web site.

     Muchisimas gracias, RB!

    • #16
  17. Boss Mongo Member
    Boss Mongo
    @BossMongo

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):
    Our favorite tea is “Dragon-Eye Oolong”

    Oooh. That sounds like it would make my gung fu very strong.

    • #17
  18. Jon1979 Inactive
    Jon1979
    @Jon1979

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):
    Our favorite tea is “Dragon-Eye Oolong” which we first tried at PF Chang’s. Ray had to go on the internet to buy it, as it does not seem to be available in stores. We are also fond of Empress Tea, a special blend made for the Empress Hotel in Victoria, BC. That is readily available at their web site.

    Going online and checking, I note that Dragon-Eye Oolong is made by Revolution Tea, where just the name itself sounds conflict-based. Starbucks would go running away in horror….

    • #18
  19. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):

    Okay. This was the follow-on to the Jumpmaster dad.

    Watch this and tell me you don’t love Black Rifle Coffee Company.

    Plus, they don’t need a schtick; they make great coffee

    Truth.

    • #19
  20. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Nanda Panjandrum (View Comment):

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    Our favorite tea is “Dragon-Eye Oolong” which we first tried at PF Chang’s. Ray had to go on the internet to buy it, as it does not seem to be available in stores. We are also fond of Empress Tea, a special blend made for the Empress Hotel in Victoria, BC. That is readily available at their web site.

    Muchisimas gracias, RB!

     

    My father prepares the morning tea, with carefully lettered little signs to inform Mother what is being served that morning. Empress Tea is on the rotation. We grew up on Murchies, but my folks have trended over the years towards Harney & Sons.

    I’m partial to the occasional Russian Caravan, more generally known as lapsang souchong. The intense smoky flavor is great in the winter, and makes a very interesting vodka infusion — which then goes into an alcoholic version of “chai.” It holds up under cream or milk and sugar, which folks add to cut the intensity.

    • #20
  21. Nanda Panjandrum Member
    Nanda Panjandrum
    @

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Nanda Panjandrum (View Comment):

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    Our favorite tea is “Dragon-Eye Oolong” which we first tried at PF Chang’s. Ray had to go on the internet to buy it, as it does not seem to be available in stores. We are also fond of Empress Tea, a special blend made for the Empress Hotel in Victoria, BC. That is readily available at their web site.

    Muchisimas gracias, RB!

    My father prepares the morning tea, with carefully lettered little signs to inform Mother what is being served that morning. Empress Tea is on the rotation. We grew up on Murchies, but my folks have trended over the years towards Harney & Sons.

    I’m partial to the occasional Russian Caravan, more generally known as lapsang souchong. The intense smoky flavor is great in the winter, and makes a very interesting vodka infusion — which then goes into an alcoholic version of “chai.” It holds up under cream or milk and sugar, which folks add to cut the intensity.

    Many thanks, @cliffordbrown!  I can’t do cinnamon (allergic) but will gladly explore.

    • #21
  22. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    “Conflict Coffee”? Good grief. As usual, they’ll end up painting themselves into an ethical corner. My neighbor is a gourmet cook, and I went along with her to Whole Foods once. I needed some olives, so I looked around, but all I saw were things like a tiny jar with five giant olives in it for $6.00 or a bunch of weird-looking ones from a special grove on a hillside in Galilee etc, no regular green olives with pimientos. I asked a guy who worked there if there were any, and he actually literally looked down his nose at me.

    I can’t wait until the Starbucks people have already spent a bundle on their ethical sourcing, only to find out something Un-PC about it too late. Here’s a picture I took at Whole Foods that day. What a bunch of insufferable, sanctimonious little prigs.

    • #22
  23. OmegaPaladin Moderator
    OmegaPaladin
    @OmegaPaladin

    Nanda Panjandrum (View Comment):

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):

    @rushbabe49: ask them if you can sift their raw grind for blood diamonds.

    I’m a big fan of BRCs “Blacker than Black” roast. Plus, they gave us the Jumpmaster Dad. My kids can relate.

    Loves me some BRCC, but I needs my té …Where to righteously source my morning cuppa?

    Not sure how righteous this is, but the only tea I ever went head over heels for is the Black Currant Darjeeling from the Russian Tea Time restaurant in Chicago.  I could go there and have nothing but tea and rye bread. 

    I’ve never been a tea person, but this stuff is awesome.

    • #23
  24. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Kay of MT (View Comment):

    What I want to know is “Why in heck were you in a Starbucks?” Their coffee is horrible, taste like it’s burned.

    My first time in a Starbucks ever was in Denver, where neutral observer and I spent an hour with Kelly Maher of the LadyBrains podcast fame.

    The coffee was very good, and they didn’t freak out when I ordered a normal coffee with no bells and whistles like spices or other added flavors.

    • #24
  25. Kay of MT Inactive
    Kay of MT
    @KayofMT

    Stad (View Comment):
    The coffee was very good, and they didn’t freak out when I ordered a normal coffee with no bells and whistles like spices or other added flavors.

    To each his/her own!

    • #25
  26. Concretevol Thatcher
    Concretevol
    @Concretevol

    Mike "Lash" LaRoche (View Comment):

    One of these days I should try Black Rifle Coffee.

    Good stuff

    • #26
  27. Qoumidan Coolidge
    Qoumidan
    @Qoumidan

    Stad (View Comment):

    Kay of MT (View Comment):

    What I want to know is “Why in heck were you in a Starbucks?” Their coffee is horrible, taste like it’s burned.

    My first time in a Starbucks ever was in Denver, where neutral observer and I spent an hour with Kelly Maher of the LadyBrains podcast fame.

    The coffee was very good, and they didn’t freak out when I ordered a normal coffee with no bells and whistles like spices or other added flavors.

    I rarely go to Starbucks anymore but when I do, I usually get plain drip coffee which is actually surprisingly good.  Their lattes, however, are not good, and they can’t do a decent breve to save anyone’s life.

    • #27
  28. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas Pratt
    @DouglasPratt

    Mike "Lash" LaRoche (View Comment):

    One of these days I should try Black Rifle Coffee.

    I liked it so much I subscribed.

    • #28
  29. Ray Kujawa Coolidge
    Ray Kujawa
    @RayKujawa

    RushBabe49: I was just in my local Starbucks, and I noticed they have a small blackboard where they list “Starbucks Reserve Coffees.” One of today’s Reserve selections is D. R. Congo Kawa Kabuya.

    From the link comes the description of the coffee flavor:

    Lovely scents of wild berry with lemon and black cherry flavors.

    I’ve tried and very much enjoy the Hawaii K’au of the Starbucks Reserve Coffees in my French press thermos at home. But the above description is not something that makes me want to try that coffee flavor. All the current crop are various fruit you would never associate with coffee.

    I’ve become more a coffee drinker since going on the Hawaii cruise. All the coffee I had was good, regardless where it came from (ship, cafe/bistro, on shore coffee tasting). However, when I go to Starbucks, it’s usually for a Frappuccino. On the cruise I was going for coffee because it was less hassle than my usual tea.

    • #29
  30. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas Pratt
    @DouglasPratt

    My son has worked for Starbucks for almost 15 years, getting his EE degree while barista-ing and now working at their factory in Seattle. I admit that while we were in the same town the fact that he got a free pound every week made Starbucks coffee very popular in the house. Since he moved to the other coast I have been relying on Black Rifle, switching blends every month to see which is best (so far CAF is in the lead).

    Brian sent me a siphon coffee maker for Christmas and it makes outstanding coffee, better than the French press (although the press is close). My daughter got me a gizmo to make cold brew. She’s no dummy. Cold brew coffee is amazing, and we’ve settled on a recipe for mocha smoothies that is really good. We’re serious about our mood-altering beverages.

    • #30
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