Stories from Inside the Coffee Cup

A rainforest.

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The places, people and politics behind the extraordinary drink.

This is an online event hosted on the British Library platform. Bookers will be sent a link in advance giving access and will be able to watch at any time for 48 hours after the start time.

Coffee sales have soared during the recent lockdowns, and one of the first things many of us are looking forward to when things reopen is getting back to our local coffee shop. But what do we really know about how our daily caffeine fix is produced, and the farming communities that may be behind it?

This collaboration with Anna Sulan Masing’s Sourced project explores coffee farming and indigenous communities, primarily through the lens of Sarawak, Malaysia. The rediscovery of a forgotten coffee plantation has inspired re-thinking of what coffee means in and to Sarawak, as well as the creation of a coffee blend using coffee grown from small independent farms throughout Sarawak.

With Raine Melissa Riman, whose research in Sarawak has been part of reviving a growing tradition that centres local communities; Thomas Haigh founder of Heaped coffee company developing products with small indigenous communities; and coffee-roaster Kenny Lee, the co-founder of Earthlings Coffee Workshop in Sarawak which is instrumental in promoting local coffee and localised coffee culture.

They will be discussing with Anna how we can tell new stories of coffee which include indigenous communities in their place of origin, re-think colonial structures, and decolonise our ideas of taste.

Thomas Haigh is a coffee Q grader and consultant. He has 10 years experience in specialty coffee and was Head of Coffee at Tate from 2016-2020 where he set up the gallery’s Gender Equality Project. His work sourcing coffee and developing equitable supply chains has taken him across South and Central America and Africa. He is the co-founder of Heaped, paying fair prices for the coffees they source to support the growers they work with. 50% of profits are donated to organisations working to support people and protect the environment. Their coffee bags are 100% compostable and the packaging is 100% recyclable.

Dr Kenny Lee is a Sarawakian coffee lover who has been travelling the world to learn about coffee since 2012. A Q grader and Specialty Coffee trainer, he co-founded Earthlings Coffee Workshop in 2014 with a simple purpose: bringing people together with seriously good coffee. Their aim is to encourage curiosity and respect to the origin of coffee, providing an authentic, unique, and down-to-earth coffee experience.

Dr Anna Sulan Masing is a writer, editor and academic focusing on food and drink, and has a PhD exploring identity and storytelling. Anna Sulan founded the public research project Sourced which investigates global food and drinks pathways, and is one half of acclaimed podcast Voices At The Table. In 2020 she co-founded the platform Black Book which looks to lead discussions and support Black and non-white people with the food and drinks industry. This year she will launch her first magazine, Cheese: the magazine of culture.

Raine Melissa Riman is a PhD candidate in Anthropology at Swinburne University of Technology with experience in indigenous community livelihood and mobility research. In 2019 Earthlings Coffee Workshop invited her and her PhD Supervisor, Dr. Bertha Chin to co-organise the first Borneo Coffee Symposium - allowing Melissa the opportunity to start coffee culture research back in her own backyard of Sarawak and build on her deep interest in indigenous coffee production and the role of women in the coffee industry.

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Name: Stories from Inside the Coffee Cup
Where: British Library St Pancras
When: -
Price: Full Price: £5.00
Member: £5.00
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546