Last September, I was pleased to teach Coffee World, a four-part online course for BSU Senior College. It was a nice opportunity to develop a program that was shorter than a college course but allowed me to delve a bit deeper than I had in previous public lectures.
I was delighted that at the end of this course, several participants wanted to keep exploring, and some of them mentioned being interested in tea and chocolate. I do not have maven-level experience in these, but I do know a bit and I welcomed the opportunity to learn a bit more!
Hence this six-part course exploring the geographies a few other beverage-related crops:
The beverage cups of the world are warmed by three beverages that grow on trees. That is not strictly true, of course, but the fruits and leaves from which coffee, tea, and chocolate are derived do grow on trees and shrubs that are cultivated and harvested by hundreds of thousands of skilled workers in dozens of countries. They make their way to customers in every country of the world through complex patterns of processing and trade that have developed over centuries. This six-week online course begins with an introduction of all three beverages through the lens of museums dedicated to each. The next four weeks are devoted to the spatial patterns, environmental problems, and human-rights issues in chocolate and tea. We spend the final session applying the same geographic approach to other specialty crops.
I thoroughly enjoyed both of these courses -- meeting weekly with some old friends and new ones via the magic of Zoom. I was delighted that my mother-in-law was able to participate all the way from Maryland.