Tourism – Travel – Coffee (Podcast Ep. 38-39)

This two-part podcast uses an article ‘Tourism and the Commodification of Culture’ to look at the work of the coffee buyer, coffee travel and coffee marketing.

I am so happy to publish this blog post and release this 2 part podcast … because I can lay to rest (hopefully) my obsession with this topic! Check that.

Tourism-Travel-Coffee (Part 1)

I’ve been reading about tourism studies and travel narratives, and seeing how these line up with my work as a coffee buyer. What I find is that ideas that interest me in coffee are not really discussed in the coffee trade, and I am not sure who is interested in these things. Trigger warning: if the term “culture studies” or “the other” set you off, don’t listen to this podcast. (joke, but not really I guess). This first episode doesn’t really get into things much. Hopefully you can listen to part 2 as well.  

Tourism-Travel-Coffee (Part 2)

This is the second part of of a podcast recording, focusing on tourism coffee and coffee marketing. I read from the article Tourism: Globalization and the Commodification of Culture about Disneyfication, and McDonaldization, read a text from a Starbucks bag about coffee travel adventures through an Indiana Jones / colonial adventurer lens, listen to Dangerous Grounds tv show promo reel that infuses coffee travel with xenophobia, and connect it to the current way roasters talk about coffee buying more as a social mission than something they do so they have a product to sell. The latest approach includes incredible claims like “Kevin [coffee buyer] discovered that small scale poor farmers produced some of the most complex and incredible coffees in the world, yet they had no experience of what was happening to their work thousands of miles away or its tremendous value and appreciation by specialty coffee drinkers.” Poor coffee farmers! Here comes Kevin to save you! So what’s the answer? I don’t have one but it would hurt to kick it down a notch, and just try to learn when you travel. Would it?


Power and Everyday Practices (Book, on Google Books) with the essay Tourism: Globalization and the Commodification of Culture

Dangerous Grounds on IMDB

Todd Carmichael Wikipedia page that is flagged as being self promotional since, yeah, it’s basically written by a PR person.

Joey Chase Instagram and reel for “Chasing Coffee” Tv Show promo

Travels in Hyperreality PDF, Umberto Eco, Disneyland

Jean Baudrillard , Simulacra, on Disneyland text

Starbucks Coffee Bag Quote (Image)
One of the most fanciful coffee travel stories I have ever read … courtesy of Starbucks. Sulawesi Trip 2008, Thompson

4 Responses

  1. Hey Tom,

    Rami from Oakland — Just wanted reach out as “one of the five” people also interested in the topics you addressed in your most recent podcast! Really appreciate the equity, privilege, and awareness issues you address. As someone who is a bit obsessed with coffee and a regular home roaster of Sweet Maria’s amazing green coffee selection, I started thinking about how amazing a “coffee tasting” experience could be after a recent wine tasting outing just last month. The opportunity to learn about and appreciate not only regional and climate impacts on coffee flavor, but the cultural, economic, and environmental significance of coffee for local cultures could be a great opportunity to raise global awareness and a different perspective on “good coffee”. I’d book that event any day!

    Thanks for the great rant!

    1. Thanks for the comment Rami. Tom and I were just talking about how we want to open up our demo space to host events again very soon. He’s traveling right now, but we’re looking to do something in the Summer. There’s a lot of opportunity for tasting fresh arrivals, as that’s generally our busiest time of year for incoming coffee.

      We will definitely post about it in our library and on social media, so please keep an eye out!


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