Given the state of my fatigue this week, coffee is a good topic

It's been an interesting week readjusting to the time zone change for the family. In two cases, near-full readjustment has been done. In one case, intermittent sleep disturbances and their associated verbal outbursts continue to plague the night air. In the last case, our teenage toddler has gone into full-on "college flunkie" mode, threatening to sleep through multiple meals only to roll hazily out of bed exclaiming, mid-yawn: "hey, why is it night again?"

And so the injection / ingestion of caffeine has become incredibly important.  Luckily, now that Movember is over and my lip is clean shaven, I no longer risk being ridiculed for leftover latte foam on the moustache. Or for the moustache under said foam. Also, having had my share of Irish coffee from Pre-Christmas Christmas last week previous, I'm reacquainting myself with coffee without that certain kick which precludes me from safely and legally operating motor vehicles.

Thus when I ran into this little tidbit yesterday through an inter-office email on keeping the holidays "green" and sustainable, I was indeed intrigued. The list included such tips as "green" entertaining by limiting the amount of paper flying around for invitations and Christmas cards, turning down the heat when you have parties, since everyone in the room is helping to heat the room, and serving local organic goodies at your events. But enough of that -- let's get to the coffee part:

8. "Press" the issue (via Treehugger, via City Hippy)
If the local coffee shop you love doesn’t carry coffee and tea that meet your standards, start asking for it politely. Starbucks has a universal policy under which they will brew a French press of fair trade coffee for anyone who asks. Take the
Starbucks Challenge 
 and see if your barista knows what Starbucks has committed to.

I know that in the past, Starbucks has only had organic fair trade brewed on an unposted, rotating schedule, which in my opinion is really the least they could do (in every possible connotation of that phrase), so it's nice to know they have this supposed policy in place.

I have only two reservations keeping me from implementing this:

1) I don't really live or work near a Starbucks, and

2) I usually try to support the local coffee merchants whenever possible.

That said, I am interested in following up on the results of this little global challenge, and will post any results I find here (in case you either don't care enough to check yourself, or just like to find new content here from time to time. I aim to please, people.)

This might be a good time to also mention Delocator, a little thingamajig that works in the US and the UK but not yet in Canada, to help you find independently owned cafes in your neighbourhood. I'm also all about choice.

And now for a little audience participation: Where do you get your coffee? Do you frequent Big Coffee, or do you prefer the small, independently owned joints?

Speaking of that, you should also go read this awesome post on coffee shops over at the Stache (no relation to Movember). I can't say I'm totally on board with the author of that post, but I will concede that sometimes faceless big business is the way to go. And despite what the author of that post says, I say don't rent Bergman films unless you have a good therapist, or a spectacular anti-depressant medication regime.

Posted bythemikestand at 10:44 AM  

3 stepped up to the mike:

FrozenExtremities said... 11:16 AM, December 14, 2007  

I'm like you, if the option to go to a local coffee shop exists, that's where I go. Although more often than not I end up at Starbucks.

themikestand said... 6:36 PM, December 14, 2007  

I'm a big fan of Uncommon Grounds and Second Cup (yes, I know, SC isn't really small coffee, but it's not Big Coffee either). Perks just disappoints me every single time, so I've stopped going there.

cronznet said... 12:10 AM, December 15, 2007  

I was a big fan of Starbucks. Even went to Greece just for the purpose of having my picture taken outside a Grecian Starbucks so it could go on the Starbucks Travel Bulletin Board.
Came home, Bulletin Board was gone, so was my love affair with Starbucks.
Our local fair trade place has no parking, but I do enjoy their coffee when I have time to walk there.

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