For our Coffee Heritage Project team, coffee is more than just a commodity but, a part of our cultural identity which we commit to sustain.
Cultural identity Coffee Heritage Project sites and in many parts of the world is threatened by corporate domination of coffee. The situation is largely a result of globalization and where the local market’s exposure to foreign corporate coffee goods are influencing changes in local cultures, values, and traditions. We already see some countries, like Italy, raising cultural debates against the entry of corporate coffee chains into their market. The latter having gained a reputation for harming local coffee shops and driving smaller chains out of business, and along with it – losing in part a region’s unique cultural identity. There are concerns as well that the domination of corporate coffee chains are displacing local smallholder coffee farmers who have traditionally earned a living by selling their goods locally.
At Coffee Heritage Project, we acknowledge the important role that (our) coffee plays in preserving cultural identity. In some ways, coffee defines our culture because after all, we are what we drink!
Taking on this sense of responsibility upon us, Coffee Heritage Project continuously focus on the manner in which customers enjoy our coffee, including everything from how our beans are grown, harvested, processed, roasted, and to who prepares, and serves it.
Coffee Heritage Project aims for coffee consumers to affiliate their experience with warm, good feelings, and memories. Coffee Heritage Project tells stories of its coffee origin, the communities, and the people who farm the coffees. In the process, we hope to make connections between coffee consumers and our local coffee heritage, and how coffee might come to have new social meaning to people.
Coffee enthusiasts can help us sustain our unique cultural identity with every support they make on Coffee Heritage Project activities!
It is also through our focus on delivering exceptional quality coffee that we are able to convey/reveal our unique beliefs, views, passions, knowledge, and personalities.
People also connect to their cultural or ethnic group through similar food patterns. Immigrants often use food as a means of retaining their cultural identity. People from different cultural backgrounds eat different foods. The ingredients, methods of preparation, preservation techniques, and types of food eaten at different meals vary among cultures. The areas in which families live— and where their ancestors originated—influence food likes and dislikes. These food preferences result in patterns of food choices within a cultural or regional group.
Food items themselves have meaning attached to them. In many Western countries a box of chocolates would be viewed as an appropriate gift. The recipient of the gift would react differently to a gift of cabbage or carrots than to chocolate. In other countries chocolates might be a less appropriate gift.
Nations or countries are frequently associated with certain foods. For example, many people associate Italy with pizza and pasta. Yet Italians eat many other foods, and types of pasta dishes vary throughout Italy. Methods of preparation and types of food vary by regions of a nation. Some families in the United States prefer to eat “meat and potatoes,” but “meat and potatoes” are not eaten on a regular basis, nor even preferred, by many in the United States and would not be labeled a national cuisine. Grits, a coarsely ground corn that is boiled, is eaten by families in the southern United States. A package of grits is only available in the largest supermarkets in the upper Midwest and would have been difficult to find even in large Midwestern supermarkets twenty years ago.
Regional food habits do exist, but they also change over time. As people immigrate, food practices and preferences are imported and exported. Families move to other locations, bringing their food preferences with them. They may use their old recipes with new ingredients, or experiment with new recipes, incorporating ingredients to match their own tastes. In addition, food itself is imported from other countries. Approximately 80 percent of Samoa’s food requirements are imported from the United States, New Zealand, or Australia (Shovic 1994). Because people and food are mobile, attempts to characterize a country or people by what they eat are often inaccurate or tend to lump people into stereotypical groups.
Nevertheless, what is considered edible or even a delicacy in some parts of the world might be considered inedible in other parts. Although food is often selected with some attention to physical need, the values or beliefs a society attaches to potential food items define what families within a cultural group will eat. For example, both plant and animal sources may contribute to meeting nutritional requirements for protein; soybeans, beef, horsemeat, and dog meat are all adequate protein sources. Yet, due to the symbolism attached to these protein sources, they are not equally available in all societies. Moreover, even when the foods perceived to be undesirable are available, they are not likely to be eaten by people who have a strong emotional reaction against the potential food item.