Khat in colonial Kenya (article)
David Anderson and Neil Carrier, "Khat in Colonial Kenya: A History of Prohibition and Control," Journal of African History 50/3 (2009): 377-397.
Coffee or tea in northeast Africa?The Vancouver Sun here has an informative but confusing article about northeast African caffeinated drinking habits. The headline refers to former tea-drinkers switching to coffee, something that appears to be happening in big cities with fashionable coffee shops. The opening paragraph of the article refers to the abandonment by young people of the practice of men (and only men) drinking an Arab-style bitter coffee called kahawa chungu. The article as a whole discusses the problem of coffee-producing countries where most people drink black tea, a legacy of British colonialism. Kenyans consume only 3,000 tons of the 50,000 tons of coffee grown in their country. Ugandans drink only 8,400 tons of the 198,000 tons of coffee grown in their country. In contrast, Ethiopians (whose only time under colonial rule was briefly under coffee-loving Italians) drink half of the coffee grown in their country.
Coffee in late colonial Kenya (article)
Douglas Hyde, “’Paying for the Emergency by Displacing the Settlers’: Global Coffee and Rural Restructuring in Late Colonial Kenya,” Journal of Global History 4 (March 2009): 81-103.
Noncommercial alcohol as a problem
The International Center for Alcohol Policies recently released a report, Noncommercial Alcohol in Three Regions, that looks at central and eastern Europe (such as Belarus and Ukraine), subsaharan Africa (such as Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, and Zimbabwe), and South Asia (such as Sri Lanka). For more, see here. The report defines noncommercial alcohol as "traditional beverages produced for home consumption or limited local trade and counterfeit or unregistered products."
Kenyan tea company: losing "fair trade" status
The suspension of the "fair trade" status for a Kenyan tea company (Kiegoi, that sells to British firms) is a reminder how important that label is for producers in the Global South. Fair trade has moved "beyond its former niche in church bazaars and small 'one world' shops" to the big retail chains that have discovered conscience-stricken consumers in the Global North will pay premium prices for such "moral" goods. For more, see here.
Global coffee and decolonization in Kenya (paper)
The Commodities of Empire project is pleased to announce the publication of
the latest addition to its Working Papers series:
No.8, David Hyde, 'Global coffee and decolonisation in Kenya:
overproduction, quotas, and rural restructuring'
This paper, along with the others in the series, can be downloaded from the
Commodities of Empire website.
Dr Jonathan Curry-Machado
Coordinator, Commodities of Empire Project firstname.lastname@example.org
China's growing taste for black tea
China's growing taste for black tea may force prices in Britain to rise 10%. For the first time in recent history China now consumes more tea than India. (China is also the world's largest producer, with India second.) Another factor forcing prices higher is the unrest in Kenya. The Chinese favor a black tea called Pu-erh which is fermented for three weeks, has a musty taste, and is supposed to help drinkers lose weight. All this is from a (London) Times, 16 February 2008, article that also says that 70% of the British drink tea daily, typically three cups. By the way, supposedly there are 1500 varieties of tea. For more, see here.
African-themed coffee shops
Sasini Tea and Coffee hopes to promote Kenyan-grown coffee around the world through a chain of African-themed Savannah Coffee Lounges. The first coffee shop is in Nairobi, Kenya's capital, with additional ones in Dubai and London planned for the near future. For more, see here. In the crowded world of coffee shops, Sasini sees a niche for African-themed lounges that sell African coffee.
Kenya: world's largest tea exporter
Based on the first seven months of 2007, Kenya has become the world's largest tea exporter, surpassing China and Sri Lanka. For details, see here.
Finally, quality coffee for Kenyans to drink
As in many other coffee-growing countries, Kenya has lacked a tradition of coffee drinking. Coffee was for export. In fact, for a time the government made it illegal to roast and sell coffee for consumption by local people. Kenya was a tea-drinking country. To drink good Kenyan coffee, one had to go the USA or Europe. This has begun to change. The capital Nairobi now has twenty coffee shops, the best known being Java House. Coffee has acquired an elite reputation in Kenya, something for professionals, successful business entrepreneurs, and high-ranking government officials to drink. For more, see here.