Starbucks vs. Ethiopia

A storm has been brewing for a while between Starbucks and Ethiopian coffee-bean trademarks.  Green LA Girl has a good primer.

In a nutshell, Starbucks is accused of opposing Ethiopia’s efforts (by leaning on the National Coffee Association to block Ethiopia’s bid) to trademark the
names of its most famous coffee regions Sidamo, Yirgacheffe and Harar.  Starbucks denies this and favors a geographic certification model — similar to Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee, Florida Orange Juice and Napa Valley Wines — which guarantees
a point of origin and standard of quality.

Spiegel and The Guardian have comprehensive overviews of the situation.  The Economist is more skeptical of Oxfam’s intention to pressure Starbucks on this issue.

Here is Oxfam’s statement and call to action.