I now buy Doi Chaang coffee at FreshCo and brew it at home

I continue to be much interested in Fair Trade coffee as brand and back story. As you will note from the link in the previous sentence, a most interesting back story is associated with the Fair Trade concept.

I was pleased to recently receive a link, by email from a Malcolm Campbell High School contact, to a great article, entitled “Fair trade coffee’s next step,” which appeared in the Aug. 5, 2015 StarPhoenix in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Had I not been working on the MCHS 60s Reunion, which will be held at Old Mill Toronto on Oct. 17, 2015, I would not have learned about Doi Chaang coffee.

You can access the article about this brand of coffee here.

It’s a great story with regard to branding and the back story.

The opening paragraphs read:

  • Canadians like coffee – a lot. In fact, next to water, it’s the favourite beverage for the vast majority of people over the age of 16 and is the top-selling item in the food services sector. Last year, coffee as a category grew 21% generating $1.9-billion. Retail coffee sales are expected to jump to $3-billion by 2018.
  • So how do café owners set themselves apart and build brand awareness in a market dominated by Tim Hortons and Starbucks? In addition to the chains, there are 5,000 or so independent coffee shops and cafés – hundreds of which boast “Fair Trade” licences, social responsibility programs and closeness to their developing world coffee suppliers. Sustainable sourcing is also becoming part of branding by multinational players such as Kraft Canada, which is promoting its ties to growers with the “Respect the Bean” ad campaign for Nabob, one of its most popular brands.
  • “There is no coffee shop that is not a social enterprise,” said Oana Branzei, associate professor of strategy at Ivey Business School. “Look at Starbucks and the way it competes by promoting the care it takes in sourcing and its social missions. When you choose a specific brew you are choosing a specific cause to support. Now even McDonald’s and Tim Hortons are trying to play up their connection to farmers. Coffee is a small statement people can afford to make about who they are as responsible consumers.”

[End of excerpt]

Social Enterprise Toronto

On Feb. 26, 2015, I attended a screening at the Riverdale Hub of a documentary – Not Business As Usual – about Social Enterprise, organized by Social Enterprise Toronto. The evening was a great opportunity for networking.

Like the concept of Social Innovation, which I learned about through my involvement with Jane’s Walk, the concept of Social Enterprise interests me. For a start, I’m learning how the two terms are used, and in what contexts.

Sources for  coffee beans

From what I can gather from the above-noted article, as you continue through the text, Doi Chaang features an approach to coffee where the brand and the back story appear to be closely in alignment.

I now buy Doi Chaang coffee at the FreshCo store at Dixie Road north of Dundas St. West in Mississauga and brew it at home. It’s in the Organic section not the Coffee section at FreshCo. As the StarPhoenix article notes, the product is largely distributed to retail outlets in Western Canada, and is now also available in FreshCo and Longo’s grocery stores in Ontario. The Doi Chaang website notes that you can find the coffee in the Organic section at the latter stores. The site also has a Store Locator for outlets in cities such as Montreal.

I like to shop at a new Longo’s store at Applewood Mall in Mississauga. It does carry Doi Chaang coffee – but only the pods, which I never use for making coffee. It doesn’t carry the Doi Chaang coffee beans, the kind you can grind at home.

Coffee consumption

I enjoy my morning cup of Doi Chaang coffee.

I have cut back on coffee consumption after reading a Sept. 25, 2014 Slate article entitled: “Coffee is killing your productivity.” The article originally appeared at Inc.

The opening paragraphs read:

“You already know that caffeine is a drug, but really thinking about what that means in terms of physiological effects on your body can be a little alarming.

“Travis Bradberry, co-founder of emotional intelligence testing and training company TalentSmart, is out with a new post on LinkedIn that makes the case as to why your daily coffee habits are terrible for your personal productivity. Bradberry points to research from Johns Hopkins Medical School, which suggests that those good vibes and the boost in energy you get from drinking a cup of coffee are the results of temporarily reversing the symptoms of caffeine withdrawal.”

[End of excerpt]

Caffeine metabolism

An Oct. 7, 2014 CBC article is entitled: “Coffee tastes influenced by DNA: 4 of 6 new variants implicated with our caffeine metabolism or its stimulating effects.”

An Oct. 7, 2004 Bloomberg article is entitled: “Coffee Habits Shaped by DNA Variations, Researchers Find.” The opening paragraph reads:

“Whether coffee makes a person anxious or helps boost their memory may come down to their DNA, according to research that suggests further studies on caffeine should be customized to a person’s genetic profile.”

[End of excerpt]

Birds and Beans and Fair Grounds

For local meetings over coffee in south Etobicoke, I like Birds and Beans and Fair Grounds.

For meetings where privacy of information is a concern, I prefer meting elsewhere than at coffee shops.

I sometimes buy shade-grown coffee at Birds and Beans. I like that fact that their shade-grown roasted beans are labelled with the date that they were roasted. I like the sales pitch that Birds and Beans makes for the roasted coffee beans that it sells. When I buy the coffee beans at the store, as when I buy Doi Chaang coffee beans, I feel that I’m truly making a difference, and not getting carried away by a clever branding story.

Coffee pods

A March 2, 2015 Atlantic article, which I learned of via Twitter, is entitled: “A Brewing Problem: What is the healthiest way to keep everyone caffeinated?”


A Huffington Post article, downloaded July 19, 2015, is entitled: The Myth of the Ethical Shopper. We’re still trying to eliminate sweatshops and child labor by buying right. But that’s not how the world works in 2015.

Also of interest: The Rebel Sell: How the Counterculture Became Consumer Culture (2004).


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