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Letters from alumni about Coffee consumption on campus

March 10, 2004

The coffee glut, as I was informed by a local coffe exporter, is a consecuence of production in Vietnam, encouraged by the US after the end of the war, which in recent years has almost equaled that of Colombia, but of inferior quality.

Thus, low prices for all producing countries, but not to the consumer, especially in the U.S., where exhorbitant prices are the order of the day. Therefore, demand has not grown in proportion to the offer, leaving great surpluses in producing countries.

Eventually prices will rise again, as many producers will look to other alternatives, but in the meantime bankrupcies and poverty will strike, in coffee dependent countries. Social responsibilty — where is it.

Alberto Gonzalez ’52
San Jose, Costa Rica

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December 24, 2003

Too bad that in your chatty two-page article on coffee hot spots in Princeton (December 17) there was no room even for a passing mention of some of the issues roiling the coffee industry, such as the major humanitarian crisis facing coffee-producing countries (due to a world-wide glut) or the real inroads that socially responsible ("fair trade" and "shade-grown") coffees are making. I guess those issues don't merit the attention of coffee-drinkers in Princeton.

Instead, we get a charming picture of coffee drinking that floats free of any real-world considerations. ("It's all good!" the article proclaims.) That's Princeton in the nation's service all right.

Marina Skumanich '80
Seattle, Wash.

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