Short Answer Questions

Chapter 1.

1. What is "small world theory"? How do coffee shops provide a "small world" for their clientele?
2. How did Starbucks contribute to the popularity and spread of coffee shops?
3. Explain "niche marketing." Why is it a significant business strategy for coffee shops?

Chapter 2.

1. According to Lévi-Strauss, what common categories for food appear to exist across cultures?
2. For Bourdieu, why do different social classes develop contrasting tastes and preferences for food and other goods?
3. Describe the concept of complex connectivity. Why is it important for understanding coffee?

Chapter 3.

1. During the early 20th century, how did the coffee lobby encourage Americans to drink more coffee?
2. How has coffee become "decommoditized" with the spread of Starbucks and specialty coffees? What does this mean for consumers and social perceptions of coffee?
3. How has Coca-cola promoted itself to gain popularity and protect its brand name? How are Coca-cola's promotional efforts similar or different from coffee brands?

Chapter 4.

1. What is a "ritual"? Provide an example from daily life.
2. What kinds of resources from around the world are used in coffee production?
3. What is meant by "fetishism of the commodities"? Why does this concept help to describe coffee as a modern commodity

Chapter 5.

1. What is the central idea of world system theory?
2. What are the shortcomings of world system theory?
3. How do largeholder plantations and smallholder plantations contrast in labor relations

Chapter 6.

1. Why did coffee consumption increase during the Industrial Revolution? Explain at least two factors.
2. What is meant by "body discipline"? Describe one example.
3. Why were beer and wine the most commonly consumed beverages in Europe prior to the Industrial Revolution?
4. How did the Industrial Revolution change the relationship between people and machinery?

Chapter 7.

1. What reasons did Islamic religious leaders find for opposing coffee consumption?
2. Why were coffeehouses seen as socially and political problematic in Islamic societies as coffee became popular?
3. Why did patriots of the American Revolution perceive taxes on tea differently than taxes on coffee? How did these contrasting perceptions lead to coffee becoming more popular than tea in the USA?
4. According to history and legend, what role did coffee play in the French Revolution?

Chapter 8.

1. What factors appear to explain why coffee did not become part of Brazilian national identity?
2. What historical contexts probably promoted the British fondness for tea over coffee?
3. Why did Germany become one of the last nations in Europe to accept coffee as a popular beverage?
4. What circumstances contributed to the importance of coffee for Colombia and its national identity?

Chapter 9.

1. What kinds of jokes about coffee are common in the USA?
2. Why is coffee perceived as both stimulating and debilitating?
3. In the "Women's Petition Against Coffee," what contexts of 17th century English coffeehouses contributed to the satirical expression of women's dislike of coffee?
4. What medical evidence supports the idea that coffee can relieve stress?
5. What is the role of humor in society?

Chapter 10.

1. Why do scientific studies sometimes present contradictory or unclear results?
2. What factors complicate medical research to discover whether coffee consumption is associated with certain diseases?
3. According to current medical knowledge, which groups in society are advised to avoid coffee? Why?

Chapter 11.

1. Why do most coffee farmers prefer to plant hybrid varieties?
2. How long does it take, on average, for a coffee bush to start producing coffee? How does this time factor affect coffee farmers and global coffee markets?
3. What kinds of care and environmental conditions does coffee need to produce well?

Chapter 12.

Why did coffee production in Guatemala contribute to creating an inequitable society?
Why does dependence on coffee production present a conundurm for nations that want to reduce poverty?
Explain why production of high quality coffee requires a large labor force.

Chapter 13.

1. What are the advantages and disadvantages of sun-grown coffee plantations?
2. Why are shade-grown coffee plantations generally more sustainable than sun-grown coffee?
3. Why is it that organic, shade-grown coffee may be too costly for certain farmers?

Chapter 14.

1. What risks does coffee processing pose for environmental sustainability?
2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of dry processing of coffee?
3. Why is social sustainability of coffee production an important issue in the current global economy?

Chapter 15.

1. Describe the "infamous coffee cycle." Why is the coffee cycle associated with social instability and crisis?
2. Compare sun-grown and shade-grown coffee. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each method?
3. Why is Haiti's history of independence unique in the modern world?
4. How did coffee rust affect global coffee production? What has been the enduring impact of the disease on Latin America's position as a coffee producing region?

Chapter 16.

1. What international circumstances compelled the USA to sign the Inter-American Coffee Agreement of 1940? How did this agreement affect US-Latin American relations and coffee prices?
2. Why were the International Coffee Agreements (ICAs) successful?
3. What factors combined to bring an end to the ICA in 1989?

Chapter 17.

1. How did WWII encourage a political climate that ultimately contributed to alternative trade organizations?
2. What kinds of organizations were among the first to establish fair trade efforts?
3. Explain the similarities and differences between the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) and the Fairtrade Labelling Organization (FLO).
4. What are the conundrums and contradictions that TNC involvement poses for fair trade?

Chapter 18.

1. What are the advantages and risks of fair trade for smallholder farmers? What are the costs of fair trade that are not found in conventional coffee markets?
2. Why do fair trade certified coffee producers usually have to sell part of their coffee at conventional prices?
3. In what ways does fair trade criteria tend to reproduce inequitable relationships between producers and consumers of coffee?

Essay Questions

1. How does coffee tie the world together? What aspects of coffee-drinking appear to be similar for coffee consumers around the world?
2. How has the spread of coffee shaped the histories and social relationships of people in coffee producing countries? Discuss the historical experiences of three countries with coffee, and how these experiences continue to shape their society. Explain how coffee contributed to, or created obstacles to, economic development and democracy.
3. In what ways has coffee been a controversial beverage? Provide examples from different periods of history, past to present.
4. How does coffee production present conundrums for social and environmental sustainability? What are the prospects for addressing or resolving these conundrums? How does the current global economic system impede the development of a more just and sustainable world?
5. Compare and contrast the conventional coffee commodity chain with fair trade. What are the advantages and disadvantages for farmers of each form of trade?