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US Coffee Companies Respond to ‘Shithole Country’ Comments

Sustainable Harvest graphic.

Numerous companies within the United States coffee industry, which has for decades taken market advantage of the hard labor and skill of millions of people in developing countries to milk profits, have swiftly responded to U.S. President Donald Trump’s immediately infamous “shithole countries” comments made last week.

Portland-based green coffee import company Sustainable Harvest responded publicly with a letter signed by its president Liam Brody.

“His remarks dehumanize our fellow human beings — of which countries like mine have done in unconscionable ways across history,” Brody wrote “They are racist. They foolishly undermine U.S. business interests and national security. They are simply untrue. They are dangerous. They encourage violence. They are cruel and hurtful. They miss the innovation, economic growth and entrepreneurship that rivals our own. They are un-American. They are not ok — and, I vigorously disagree.”

 

Gjergj Dollani, a 40-year-old Albanian immigrant who founded Cafe Chocolat in Washington D.C., replied to Trump’s comments made during a closed-door meeting on immigration policy by offering free drip coffee to Haitians, Salvadorans, Africans and Norwegians — the latter group added in reference to Trump’s comments that the U.S. should try to get more immigrants from countries like Norway, rather than from “shithole countries.”

Philadelphia-based roaster/retailer Herman’s Coffee this week unveiled the S&#@hole Blend, with $5 from each bag sold going to the immigrant support services agency Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians.

“Our enigmatic president, Donald Trump, may not want immigrants from the ‘shithole’ countries of the world, but we at Herman’s like to embrace all people,” the company wrote in a release of the blend. “We also happen to think some of these ‘shithole’ countries produce some excellent coffee, so much so that we decided to honor Donald and roast a welcoming blend of coffees from these countries (Ethiopia and El Salvador to be precise) and use it to raise money for immigrant relief.”

Finally, a whole new roasting brand called Shithole Country Coffee has popped up in Brooklyn, founded by three friends with a combined 30 years experience in the specialty coffee industry, according to the SCC website. A Daily Coffee News request for more information about the company was not immediately replied to.

Shithole Country Coffee Facebook photo.

According to the company’s web page and other marketing materials, it was established “to celebrate the people and coffee-growing regions of Africa, Central America and South America.”

“We share a love for gourmet coffee and are deeply distressed by the President’s recent comments about Haiti and Africa,” the company says. “We are cognizant of the fact that for over 1,200 years, the African continent has been growing and farming some of the most cherished coffees in the world.”

SCC is currently offering bags of five different single-country coffees for $14.99 plus shipping, with 50 percent of the proceeds going to the National Immigration Law Center through March 31, 2018.

Comment

4 Comments

Tionico

First off, I have read testimony from a person who claims to have been present when the alledged remark was made, and denies that the term claimed was actually used. Consider the character and bent of the one claiming Mr. Trump uttered that comment. Could this whole schemozzle be just one more fake news matter?

Second, I’ve been in a couple of those named countries, I know folks from some of them, and I’ve read a fair bit aobut daily life in some of them. Let’s get real, folks, NONE OF US would enjoy living in those places if we were to live alongside and under the same conditions as most of their citizens do.

Examples: unsafe to drive many places at night and in some, not even in the daytime. electricity unreliable both as to whether it is turned on or not, and the actual voltage delivered. Fuel, basic food items, not reliably available, sometimes for extended periods. Runaway inflation. High risk of being apprehended by law enforcement, military, or hooligans, your stuff taken, your own person taken….. filth and garbage infesting the streets, along with unowned/cared for animals. Driving ocnditions somewhere between “exciting” and downright dangerous. Heavy traffic snarls are the order of the day, most of the days. GOvernment officials living large, the normal folks scraping to keep ends together, sort of. I have been in countries, and regions, where all of the above apply daily and nearly universally. While I met many wonderful individuals in those countries, the fact I was a yank/gringo/mericano made me a celebrity, and many approached me asking how THEY could come here.

IF Mr. Trunp’s remark was actually made (evidence I have seen says it was not) he was not disparaging the PEOPLE there, but the CONDITiONS under which the masses are forced to live. Face it, there are nations, and individuals, that ARE Shole countries….. and most of the folks who live there would eagerly move here if they could. There are people from nearly every “race” on the planet who live in such places, so the remark, if actually made, is not racist.

Anyone serious about exploring this matter further should go find a fascinating video on youtube… no I don’t have a link, but it should not take much to find it. I saw it maybe three, four days back, A man, apparently in his late twenties or early thirties, who was BORN in Nigeria (one of the alledged Shole countries) and lived there till a young man. He now lives in the United States. He talked openly about his own country and how things are in that place. The surprising turn in the video came when he declared that he was going to sell what he owns here, quit his high paying job, and travel BACK to his Fatherland… to HELP change it from a Shold country into a prosperous one. He loves his people, and the place of his birth. I’ll let you who are serious about learning more watch it, and judge for yourself whether the label is accurate and what it really means.
Yes, donating a part of the price of your goods to some organisation that is trying to help is noble…. but be careful. Sometimes the organisatioins “helping” are, in reality, doing anything but. Consider the lavish donatioins made to Haiti after the earthquake a decade or so back. I mean, the ones by the Clintons, He and She. The ride they had shipped there put quite a number of rice farmers into starvation…. because the free rice they sent was preferable to any price they could get for their own harvest. Much od that “free rice” ended up lining the pockets of government workers who were already well fed, Almost none o fit got into the mouths of the hungery displaced from the quake. Then there were the other funds and goods that somehow disappeared…. and lined more already bulging pockets. I spent some time in that nation after the quake…. her people are amazing, but I sw firsthand the utter lack of any significant progress toward real help for those who lost nearly all. And yes, I had my hands in the dirt right along with some who are in that category. Instead of bringing “stuff” we brought money, and used it locally to buy, from local suppliers, brick, steel, concrete, rock, for homes being rebuilt.. tn years after they were destroyed. These were families working together, helping each other out for no charge, doing what they could… which was nowhere near enough. What we call “infrastructure” here is almost nonexistent, or in very poor state, there. I would not hesitate to label that country a Shole country… and ‘m convinced most of the people I worked with who live there would consider that term “accurate’. Are they content to leave it that way? Absolutely not. But when a man has to travel a full day from home to get low paying work, separeted from his Wife and children for weeks, then come back home and spend what little he managed to earn whilst away on a few more blocks and bags of cement to build another section of wall on his house…….. and this guy is one of the more wealthyin the region…. sorry, he is living in a Shole country, and no amount of “making nice” or becoming incensed over the specific descriptor used will change a thing.

Don Dominguez

Well said Tonico. While I don’t share the same view of the article nor the examples provided it appears to be reckless with the truth. I prefer Roast to keep their Magazine about coffee and business and leave politics out of it. Thank you.

Wendell

Both of your comments are right on. It seems the media and coffee roasters spend more time pushing their view of politics, than their coffee.

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