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In Good Taste is an eight-episode series on coffee marketing—what it means to sell coffee here in 2021—and some of the biggest ethical questions and issues that are in the marketing sphere of specialty coffee right now. “My goal here is to use my training as a journalist to create a platform where we can share our thoughts and concerns,” explains Meister, “and also our motivations for making the world of specialty coffee marketing a better place. Each episode will focus on a different area of the work, and I'll interview folks to get as broad a perspective as possible.” In the first episode, Meister scratches the surface and asks a number of coffee professionals involved in marketing questions about their backgrounds, the ethical codes they follow, and the resources they use in their work.
The Ethics Of Photography In Coffee Marketing
In the second episode of In Good Taste on the Sprudge Podcast Network, host Ever Meister is diving deep into what it means to sell coffee here in 2021—asking some of the biggest ethical questions and issues that are in the marketing sphere of specialty coffee right now. This episode explores the ethical implications of using photographs in coffee marketing and asks, among other things, “What story are the pictures that we share of coffee farmers telling?” In the episode, Ever Meister speaks with several coffee producers across Latin America and Africa with varied opinions on the use of photography in coffee marketing. The featured interviewee is Vava Angwenyi, the founder of Vava Coffee Limited in Kenya, and also co-founder and director of Gente Del Futuro in Tanzania, Colombia, and Kenya. Angwenyi authored Coffee, Milk, Blood in 2020 and explains what's special about it is that “the producer in Africa is depicted in a more dignified manner, in a manner that takes us beyond the washing station, beyond the coffee cherry, beyond the dirty hands and the dirty feet that are processing the coffee.”
Appropriation In The Coffee Industry
We explore the far-reaching effects of appropriation in the coffee industry—and beyond. What does it mean to "borrow" images, language, icons, and other cultural elements in order to create and promote our coffee brands? And, perhaps more importantly, how do we make things right when we realize we've done wrong? We explore the transition Wonderstate Coffee from its former name and brand of Kickapoo Coffee, which was changed after company leadership came to terms with the history of appropriation that its former moniker represented. We'll hear from Lester Randall, tribal chairman of the Kickapoo Tribe In Kansas, as well as Wonderstate co-owner TJ Semanchin, as they discuss the intent and the impact of the company's original name and share their healing journey. Disclaimer: After this episode was originally broadcast, it was brought to Ever Meister's attention that the story she had crafted around this topic side-stepped the necessary conflicts, complications, and confrontations that went on behinds the scenes during Wonderstate's name-change process. Meister wants to apologize to listeners for not forcing a more critical look at those aspects of the transition and wants to make clear that while the conversation included in the episode remains powerful, there is always more to be told than can be contained in just one conversation.
In this episode, Meister ponders out loud whether price transparency is a two-headed monster: As a business practice, it is a pivotal weapon in the fight for increased equity along the supply chain, but as a marketing asset… could it be more of a liability? And most importantly, to whom? Drawing a fine line between these two, Meister asks some challenging questions (which certainly have no easy answers) about three key areas that will help us determine whether our marketing of price transparency is ethical: consent, context, and consequence. She's joined by third-generation coffee producer Ashley Prentice; the founder of Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union, Tadesse Meskela; and business professor Peter Roberts, founder and project lead of the Specialty Coffee Transaction Guide. Meister says, "There's no doubt in my mind that price transparency is the way forward toward equity and sustainability in the coffee industry, but—and it's a big but—the question about how we talk about that price transparency is another thing altogether. I know in my heart that coffee people are acting with the best intentions when they publish their FOB or farm-gate prices, but have we really critically considered the impact of sharing this data? I'm on a mission to find out, and I hope this episode will spark some good, challenging conversations about it all. I love feedback because I'm not afraid to be wrong—in fact, this is one case in which I'm really afraid to be right!
Episode five of In Good Taste with Ever Meister—a coffee podcast about marketing, or a marketing podcast about coffee—is all about apologies. Corporate apologies, to be precise, and how they've become a marketing issue and ethics issue and, as we've seen in recent years, a coffee issue. Meister talks about the recent uptick in corporate apologies in the specialty coffee sphere, evaluates their effectiveness, and discusses how they fit into a conversation about marketing ethics. Meister goes further and breaks down the essential elements of truly effective and meaningful apologiesand offers some thoughts about following up and following through. Special guests on this episode include Tymika Lawrence, co-host of the No Free Refills podcast; Sprudge Editor-At-Large Jenn Chen; and John Kador—author of Effective Apology: Mending Fences, Building Bridges, and Restoring Trust. “To my mind, apologies should be a first consideration, not the last. Companies, organizations, individuals who have a practice of apology actually have better outcomes,” says Kador, “it struck me as I was undertaking this book that it would be a service, I think, to demonstrate with evidence that apology, far from showing weakness and vulnerability, is actually a sign of strength and character. American corporations always do the right thing after they've tried everything else.” What makes an effective apology? What are the steps one should take to follow through with said apology? Find out all of this and more on the latest episode of In Good Taste.
Now here for the Series One finale of In Good Taste, host Ever Meister speaks with three coffee professionals who offer reflections on the episodes that carried the most meaning for them. This episode features Scott Lucey (Likewise Coffee, Milwaukee WI), Brandon Bir (Crimson Cup, Columbus OH), and Nani Ferreira-Matthews (Thread Coffee, Baltimore, MD).
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