Your morning flat-white helped shape the modern world‘Elegantly written, witty and so wide in scope, so rich in detail and so thought provoking’ Joanna BlythmanIt may seem like just a drink, but coffee's dark journey from the highlands of Ethiopia to the highstreets of every town in the country links alchemy and anthropology, poetry and politics, science and slavery. Plots have been hatched, blood spilled and governments toppled to keep your mug filled with fresh espresso. In this thought-provoking exposé, Antony Wild, coffee trader and historian, explores coffee's dismal colonial past, its perilous corporate present, and the environmental destruction which could limit its future, revealing the shocking exploitation at the heart of the industry.
The extraordinary tale of the wildfire spread of a drink which is embedded in our history and our daily cultural life – and which provides a compelling allegory for corporate greed, mercantile ruthlessness and global expansion.Arguably the most valuable legally traded commodity in the world after oil, coffee's dark five-hundred year history links alchemy and anthropology, poetry and politics, and science and slavery. Revolutions have been hatched in coffee houses, secret socities and commercial alliances formed, and politics and art endlessly debated.With over a hundred million people looking to it for their livelihood, the coffee industry is now the world's largest employer and the financial lifeblood of many third-world countries (or the blood with which they feed the global capitalist vampire, depending on your point of view). But with world prices at a historic low, the future looks uncertain. In this thought-provoking exposé, Antony Wild, coffee trader and historian, explores coffee's dismal colonial past and its perilous corporate present, revealing the shocking exploitation at the heart of the industry.To many people, coffee has become largely just another commodity. Black Gold restores our faith in the mystery of this unique beverage.