Sipping Coffee, Considering Its Origin, Warms Up An Afternoon

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These are the perfect days for coffee. Frigid, the snow's blowing, the holiday rush is past so we can slow down for a warm drink with friends. I did just that this afternoon at Pittsburgh's 21st Street Coffee and Tea. Java is an art there. The barista warmed up a glass pot, and then hand dripped hot water over our Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee into the pot. Another fellow behind the counter explained his belief that the "direct trade" coffee they offer there is "better than" varieties sold under the "fair trade" label, which many of us turn to as a way of buying environmentally-sound products. I encourage you to read more for yourself by googling the shop's website, as well as the site for their supplier, Chicago importer intelligentsia coffee, and the blog, which has a three-part series on fair trade vs. direct trade. But most of all, I encourage you to slow down, and invite a friend to join you for coffee.