22 June 2006

luxury caffeine

here's a very cool thing about being a graduate student at yale: our grad student cafe, the somewhat troublingly named blue dog, sells intelligentsia coffee at absurdly subsidized prices. this came about because of a friend of mine who is (a) obsessed, and i mean obsessed, with coffee and (b) involved in student government. intelligentsia is featured in the nyt today, trumpeting its "buy high, sell high" philosophy and its support of direct relationships with local growers in latin america and africa. however: i'm going to want to know more about fair trade standards and the role of grower cooperatives. it seems that intelligentsia buyers are buying high -- incredibly, insanely high; more than twice the going fair trade rate -- but are buying high from particular farmers who produce particularly brilliant crops. which, ok, much more carrot than stick in that little incidence of capitalism, so yay. but what's the effect on a grower co-op when one member is paid twice as much?