Sunday, January 7, 2024

Café no Fogo

NEW: All of my photos from this travel course in one annotated slide show!

After years of preparation and planning, I am leading a travel course on the island of Fogo, Cape Verde -- about 300 miles west of the westernmost point of mainland Africa. Among the island's many fascinating distinctions, it is the only place in the world -- as far as this Coffee Maven knows -- that produces coffee inside an active volcano. This does not mean that the beans are lava-roasted, but it does mean that the farms are in locations that might be displaced at any time by volcanic activity.

On this journey -- jointly sponsored by the Pedro Pires Institute for Cape Verdean Studies, the Department of Geography, and the Office of Study Abroad -- undergraduate and graduate students are doing what I most love to do: using geography to understand coffee and using coffee to understand geography. Our travel is also hosted and supported by the national government, the Universidad do Cabo Verde, and the three municipalities of the island: Mosteiros, São Felipe, and Santa Catarina. 

After a very warm welcome from the municipal authorities in São Felipe, we toured the entire island before revisiting each community. Our first in-depth visit is in Mosteiros, the producer of the island's famous coffee. There we are both learning about the local coffeelands and coffee producers and bringing some perspectives from the wider world of coffee. In fact, this post serves in part to provide a convenient link to some of the images we will be sharing during our visit to the Museu do Café.

(Note that the title of the course is represented on the town seal of Mosteiros!)

From the Coffee Maven's too-big trove of imagery, I have selected a few images to begin the discussion around two questions -- Café De Onde - Café Para Onde.

Finally, I include here a link to the amazing work of Carolyn King, a Cape Verde-American graduate student on this course who described her work on a fascinating museum installation on the connections between Cape Cod and Cape Verde. We can also view the exhibit itself at WHOI Seagrant.