From my food column.
My mate, singer/songwriter Joe Ransom, has been good enough to stop schlepping around Central America for a while and pay a visit with us here in his home town of Melbourne. He was also good enough to bring me a bag of coffee grown near Peña Blanca, the town in Honduras where he has been living for a while. With the coffee he delivered a cool coffee filter device, a fine mesh net on a handle of twisted coat hanger wire. Tip some coffee into the filter, pour boiling water through it over a mug, great coffee in less than a minute.
It's interesting to note that this coffee cost him less than $6 per kilogram. When you buy coffee in a supermarket here in Melbourne you pay over $40 per kilogram. When you buy a latte in a cafe you pay over $350 per kilogram. The obvious questions are why do we pay so much, and why don't the Honduran coffee growers receive a fair share of that money?
To me coffee growers are saints, without them my days would be a caffeine deprived misery. Coffee growers give us nothing but peace and joy, every day of our lives, the least we can do is pay them a decent price for their product. If their product, roasted and ground, can retail for less than $6 per kilogram in Honduras, surely our highly profitable coffee companies can afford to give them at least $5 wholesale. The most generous fair trade systems pay between $3 and $4 per kilogram, most growers receive less than half that. It's not as if these coffee companies don't have room for a fair share within their massive retail price.
Oh, and the filter cost 40c. Compare that to the price of your home espresso machine. Beautiful simplicity with no lights or buttons, no wonder no one sells them here.
Joe Ransom heads back to Mexico and beyond in a few weeks. I'm playing a couple of gigs with him before then, I hope you'll come along and talk coffee with us after the show.
Here's a Joe Ransom song, White Whale, recorded this year in Mexico City, a single from a new album due out later this year.