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Much more than a drink

Coffee is without a doubt one of the most impassioning products that exist. On the one hand it has an immense social impact, given that millions of people in dozens of countries subsist off of this crop. This impact, however, is not limited to the world of the coffee producers. Consumers in nearly every country of the world carry out their daily social activities around cups of coffee.

Around the world and in different historical and social contexts, diverse forms of preparing coffee as well as different rites and customsof consuming coffee have been developed. The fact that coffee is a beverage that is consumed during social events, with family and friends or at work, also connect coffee with politics, and links the product with diverse events of singular importance.

On the other hand, the fact that millions of farmers in tropical and subtropical regions around the world are tied to coffee, implies that the different ways that it is cultivated, as well as its profitability, constitute key elements for the conservation of the environment. Additionally, it implies that coffee, because of its economical and social contexts, is amongst those products that most interest environmentalists.

It is important to highlight that coffee is one of the first products by vocation to be globalized. It can thus be implied that since it is only grown in tropical regions and primarily consumed in developed countries, it soon became along with petroleum one of the most important commodities in terms of international commerce. From the point of view of international trade it is a "North" - "South" product. As the "North countries" do not produce coffee, the import taxes on coffee have been traditionally lower than those of other agricultural products as there were no local coffee producers to protect, thus favoring the globalization of its commerce in the XIX and XX centuries.

The importance of the crop and the diversity of its methods of production, as well as the dependence it created on the countries where it was produced, favored the creation of a series of national and international institutions focused on coffee. Coffee without a doubt is one of the products that have provided the greatest amount of lessons on the disciplines that study institutional economy.

Coffee is thus a multifaceted beverage. But perhaps what makes it even more interesting is that behind every cup of coffee there is effort, work, commitment, culture, and an exceptional environmental condition which makes it unique. An ever greater percentage of consumers are conscious of the importance of its origin and what it means for the quality and values of the beverage present behind every cup.

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