As many of you know, National Coffee Day took place yesterday, September 29. However, for those who might have missed it or simply want another holiday to observe, tomorrow October 1 is International Coffee Day. That means more celebrations and caffeine to come! So how did this holiday come to be? And why is it important to all us coffee-lovers?
The origin of it all is a little uncertain, but supposedly the coffee-centered holiday began with an annual coffee bean-themed event organized by the All Japan Coffee Association in 1983. From there caffeinated celebrations popped up around the world, with the United States choosing to celebrate National Coffee Day as early as 2005. While the U.S. shares our date of September 29 with over a dozen others, different countries celebrate their own National Coffee Days on different days of the year. For instance, Indonesia celebrates theirs on August 17, which is also their Independence Day. However, despite different countries having their own national celebrations, you cannot deny that coffee, the second highest traded commodity in the world, is essentially international.
While the name “International Coffee Day” was first introduced in 2009 by the Southern Food and Beverage Museum in Louisiana (represent!), the first official International Coffee Day was observed just last year on October 1, 2015. This date was agreed upon by the International Coffee Organization (ICO), the main intergovernmental organization for coffee. Set up under the United Nations in 1963, the member governments of the ICO who work to tackle the challenges facing the global coffee sector represent 98% of world coffee production and 83% of world coffee consumption. Encouraged by the idea of having a single day where people around the world – farmers, traders, roasters, and consumers alike – could all celebrate together, the ICO with the support of numerous other coffee associations designated an official International Coffee Day to take place on October 1 of every year.
While International Coffee Day gives you another excuse to enjoy your favorite cup of java (not that you need one), it is also intended as a reminder of where your coffee comes from. It’s a global celebration of coffee’s journey from the farm to your favorite local coffee shop. The holiday provides the opportunity to honor those who grow, harvest, and process the coffee that we drink, to raise awareness of the hardships many coffee growers face, and to promote fair trade practices.
Tomorrow, people from around the globe will join together in celebrating the second annual International Coffee Day, acknowledging the international effort it took to get our delicious coffee from crop to cup. So maybe tomorrow ask your barista where the espresso beans used to make your latte come from. Or try coffee from a different region than you’re used to. Or research the practices your local coffee roasters use to source their beans. However you choose to observe the holiday, I hope you enjoy!