Posts Tagged ‘Questions’

 People of the Internet: We like you.  And we like talking with you.  Somtimes on this blog we get to dialogue back and forth with our readers.  Sometimes, as with the Class on Fire, we decide the conversation is so good we want to move it to the public arena and make it a post of its very own.

Below is a comment from Person of the Internet: Jason.  His comment hit on one of the major topics of debate in the coffee world.  Does “aware” coffee taste as good as other coffees? Below is Jason’s question as well as a response from both Sara and Melanie – so three voices in all.  While the questions are posed in response to Jason – we really are asking you, the consumers and blog readers for your thoughts.

Jason – Thanks for your poignent question and for sparking this discussion. 

Jason Says:

 “Just wondering….. I’ve read about your adventures and the seemingly endless search for “eco-friendly” coffees and proprietors of such beverages, but…I was just wondering if anywhere in your journey you were actually going to do your tastebuds a favor and seek out some gooooood coffee and actually share that information with the world. This information would be just as valuable as know the recycling practices of said places. I myself am not interested in spending my hard earned dollars on an inferior product simply because the seller pushes hype and marketing over quality. I’m certain that there are plenty of places that place value on providing a great product along with being socially responsible. Maybe in the future you could also provide an evaluation of beverages consumed… I think you could.”

Sara Says:

“Hi Jay

Thanks for reading our blog!  We have been searching for eco-friendly coffees and businesses that think about the environment and the people impacted along the way, and we have had an amazing trip. 

Some of the coffee we have had has been amazingly delicious, while some of the coffee has been sub-par.  I  feel the exact same way you do about quality coffee…that is partially why we have dedicated all this time to seeking out coffee.   As well as tasting better, higher quality coffee can help people become more aware of what they are drinking. 

I would love to know more about your thoughts on marketing and hype in the eco-friendly coffee world.  We have seen a lot of instances where a business said one thing but did another, etc…
As for our blog, we decided to keep a positive spin in our writing.  We are not out there to criticize people or tell them how to run their own business.  The knowledge we want to share is about responsible consumerism.  We have also found that what tastes good to one might not taste good to another.  What do you think?”

Melanie Says:

“Hey Jason. You can see by the fact that we both are compelled to respond that you are asking an essential question. 

My thought is to challenge a different assumption (not saying that you have this belief, just that we encountered it a lot):
If coffee is eco/people friendly, does it necessarily mean that its not high quality?  In my opinion the two are not mutually exclusive.  On our trip we had some amazing coffees and some pretty not-so-amazing coffees in both the “aware” and “conventional” categories.

Three people we met on the trip offered what I find to be great perspectives on this matter: (who all supply delicious coffee)

1) From Global Village coffee (Chapel Hill, NC) –   You have two tomatoes: one grown on a large farm using pesticides, chemical fertilizers and mechanical planting process.  The other from a local farm, organically produced, sun ripened, hand picked – which do you choose? 

Many people would choose the one from the organic farm – the assumption being that its redder in color, smaller in size and will probably be juicer and taste better.  Why do we not use the same thought process when it comes to coffee? 

From what I understand of the coffee farming process (which is still small), it takes more effort and attention to grow the coffee plants organically or in an environmentally friendly way.  Wouldn’t that extra love enhance the taste of the coffee? Or to put it another way – how would producin organic or “aware” coffee hurt  the coffee? 

2) From Higher Grounds (Leeds, AL) and echoed by Cuvee Coffee (Spring, TX) – These folks said their ideal would be to have all coffee produced with social and environmental awareness and then let the quality of coffee be the factor that determines which companies succeed. 

I also want to second Sara’s question – is fairly traded, enviro/people friendly coffee hype, marketing, a personal purchasing philosophy, a trend, a way of life, or all of the above and more?  Why do you choose, or choose not, to buy products that have a certification or that you know were sourced responsibly?

Lastly,  in any community you have a choice about how to contribute;  we choose to contribute to the coffee community by highlighting the positive and good people and coffees that we come across.  Bad press is just not our style.  If we have a cup that’s bad, we simply don’t mention it.  If the cup is amazing, we usually say so.  (But, just because we don’t say something about the coffee at a particular place, it does not mean the coffee is bad.)  In our lives and on this blog we try to keep our attention on the good, the beautiful, and the hopeful.

 Thanks for reading – comment at will.

-Melanie and Sara Rose

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Dear People of the Internet,

We have some other people we would like you to meet: The Class on Fire.  You may have noticed their comments already, but we felt it was time for a formal introduction.  These are some students from Ms. Brubaker’s class in Hong Kong.  We are able to connect with these dynamic and eloquent students because Ms. Brubaker (Heather) is also Melanie’s big sister. Their questions have encouraged us to focus our ideas and to sit-down and write about what we are learning.  We love getting their comments and being able to participate in cross-continental curiosity!

We  are proud to present some questions from the Class on Fire.  There are more wonderful questions in the comments sections on other pages.

CoF Qs:

Hi! I’m Joseph from Oh My Gosh! The totally cool supercalifragilistic expealicdocious dociousaliexpilistic fragicalisuper class! As you can see I’m quite a person that bursts into a million smiles. But even I get into fights with my family members (yup…especially my sister(although Now she’s really nice to me)) Just like I often get into fights with my friends and families I would just like to ask you if you get into fights with each other. And since I know you’re obviously going to say you do, I’ll also ask you what kind of fights you get into and how do you make up to each other ^^

Ok, now that I’ve given you my question…Please reply…or else I’m going to cry all alone in my lonely, lonley class while everyone else gets a reply from you guys…): and I bet Ms. Brubaker won’t be so happy about that.

BYE! I’ve got to go to my crazy special, weird, funny, cool and the best class I have so far! (no actually that’s music) hahahaha just joking I LOVE …ENGLISH!!!!!

From the…
totally weird energetic guy.

Joseph, I hope we have not left you crying alone in your room! 
The simple answer is Sara and I don’t really fight anymore.  After 10 years of friendship, during the tumultuous years of “teen-hood” and into our mid-twenties, we have had a long time to work out the kinks of our relationship. 

We are talkers. When something comes up that bothers or upsets us we talk about it.  We really enjoy analyzing our behaviors and trying to understand what causes our emotions.  Sometimes, when we are hungry or tired, we get a little bit grumpy.  Since we spend all day, every day with one another, we can get cranky with each other, but are able to acknowledge that we need food or sleep.  We have learned to recognize that we are not actually upset with the other person.  

Hi Melanie and Sara,
I am another student from Ms Brubaker’s class. I think that the blog is very impressive although I don’t share the interests with you( I do not like coffee at all!). I know that you guys are now going on the trip but what are you guys think going to do after the trip? Have you guys thought of it yet?
Keep up the good work!


Both of us have jobs that were kind enough to give us the time off to take this trip.  Upon returning to NY and Vermont we will get right back to work and our lives at home.  We both have friends and family we are eager to see. As far as our newly acquired coffee knowledge we are not sure what will happen.  Our relationship with coffee and with each other will be different for the rest of our lives.  We both are really interested in doing more research on the coffee industry and continuing to be part of the coffee community.  Part of the fun of this adventure is not knowing what will happen next. We love learning for the sake of learning.


Hi! I’m Matthew the Shadowkid from Ms.Brubakers english class. During your journey, i’ve noticed that you guys taste and study the coffee. So i have a question: Is coffee addictive? Or do adults just drink it to keep them awake because their jobs are too boring?
From the Shadowkid,


Matthew?  I can’t see you!  Where did you go?  All I see is a shadow!

Yes.  Coffee is addictive and we are hooked. 

Some adults drink coffee for the caffeine, while others drink it for the enjoyment of the beverage.   A well made cup of coffee can be as delicious as chocolate or any other supper-yummy-incredibly-tasty food or drink.  Coffee can have hints of fruits and flowers, nuts and berries, citrus and spices and many, many other flavors.  For example, the espresso we just sipped at OZO Coffee left our mouths with the taste of sun-dried raisins.

We both need a cup of coffee within a few hours of waking up or we get cranky (see answer above).  Sara and I both LOVE our jobs and they are not boring at all, but we still need a cup of coffee.  Because yes, coffee is addictive and we are hooked.


My name is Ashley Wong. I am a student from Ms Brubaker’s English class who sits at the back of the classroom with Alexandra (the hyper girl), Matthew (the shadow kid), Beatrice (the random girl), Christopher (the genius) and Kristie (the sweet girl). As for me, I’m am…Ms Giggles. I love smiling and laughing! Even if something really bad happens, you would still see a smile on my face, it’s just…ME!
Anyway, this blog is so cool, I’ve learned A LOT from reading it. I would like to ask you a question: Is coffee bad for our health?



Ashley, you sound a lot like us when we are together.  Sometimes in the car we won’t say anything, just laugh for hours on end.  Melanie cries EVERYTIME she laughs, tears streaming down her checks.  Sara likes to egg her on making her laugh and cry even more.

There are many studies on the affects of coffee. Some say coffee increases heart attacks and risk of certain cancers. Others say coffee can reduce the risk of diabetes and certain cancers.  It makes a really interesting research activity to spend half an hour (or in our case up to 8 hours) finding articles that agree with and contradict each other on the matter. (Ms. Brubaker, this is us handing you a homework assignment. We’ll let you make the grading rubric on that one.)


Hello Sara and Melanie,
I am a student from Ms. Brubaker’s class.
I am not really interested in coffee but I would want to know if there are another way to make coffee? And what are the process of that method?

There are many wonderful, exciting, delicious ways to make coffee! On this trip we have had: french press, chemex, espresso, clover, auto-drip and percolator coffee.  These are all ways of extracting the coffee from the coffee grinds.  After extraction there are, again, many ways to prepare the coffee for drinking; some people drink it black, some with milk and sugar or flavored syrups. 


‘Ello gals,
I am the most privileged student in Ms. Blueberry’s class because  the only person who gets to call her Ms. Blueberry, ’tis I, but only as long as she gets to call me Bug.  I think your idea of broadening the use of environmentally friendly coffee is great, but i was wondering: why people would go for environmentally friendly coffee, when the good old non-environmental friendly coffee is cheaper?
Zai Jian

Hi Bug! (That makes Melanie want to call you “Bug-a-boo”).

This is a question we have been thinking and talking about a lot on this trip.   

As we became aware of the impact of purchasing coffee was came to understand the benefit and importance of paying the extra cents for fairly traded, great tasting coffee.  We hope that knowing that the coffee a person buys: preserves wildlife, helps families that work on coffee farms afford food, and can help provide educational opportunities for coffee farming communities will encourage that individual to go for environmentally friendly coffee.

* * * * * * * * * * * 

Now, we have some questions for you:  

How did you come up with all these names?  Did you name yourselves or did Ms Blueberry, oops, I mean, Heather, I mean Ms. Brubaker dub you with the pseudonyms?

How do most people prepare coffee in Hong Kong?  Is coffee drinking increasing in a country where tea is king?

We offer a challenge to the class on fire: to create the longest list you can of ways to prepare coffee, we have given you a good start.  Let us know what you come up with!


Thanks for your participation in our trip!

Melanie and Sara Rose

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