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Negotiating Place and Taste: How Coffee Becomes “Glocal”

Throughout its long history, coffee has been cast in very different roles: exotic beverage, colonial good, global commodity – but also in a staple of the local cuisines of the countries where it was produced. Leaning on an ongoing Sociological study conducted in Paris, we will see how specialty coffee, initially strongly associated with Anglo-Saxon culture in both looks and taste, changes and adapts to the culture of the countries in which it is introduced, and explore what it means for coffee, a global commodity, to become “local”.

We will show that the local specialty coffee market increasingly mobilizes the past and local traditions through aesthetic choices, in what not only allows it to reach a larger audience, but also serves as means to extract and create value, in line with contemporary tendencies in global capitalism. But while the specialty coffee movement may mobilize local traditions and history in its quest to reach a larger following, it also puts at its center the geographical provenance of coffee. We will see that in that sense, this is a “glocal” movement, constantly trying to strike a balance between “origin” and local culture, innovation and tradition.

Category: Humanities and Social Sciences

Lecture Room 2

Target Audience: Roasters, Retail Operators and Coffee Enthusiasts