6 Minute English
Episode 180111 / 11 Jan 2018
It's one of the most popular drinks on the planet and something many people have for breakfast. Coffee is a widely exported product. However, how much of that money does the coffee farmer actually see? And is there a way to make things a little fairer for everyone? A new report from the UN suggests so. Dan and Catherine discuss the issue and teach you six items of vocabulary.
This week's question:
The specialty coffee, Kopi luwak, is made from coffee beans which have already passed through an animal’s digestive system. But which animal?
a) an elephant
b) a cat
c) a weasel
Listen to the programme to find out the answer.
a small amount of something, usually a liquid
someone who is very interested in or enthusiastic about a subject
as cheap as chips
cooked in an oven
larger than usual payment, usually for better quality service
Note: This is not a word for word transcript
Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm Dan and joining me today is Catherine. Hey Catherine.
So Catherine, do you prefer a brew or a cup of joe in the morning?
Well, if you are referring to whether I prefer a cup of tea, which we sometimes call ‘a brew’, or a cup of coffee, sometimes called ‘a cup of joe’, I prefer my coffee in the morning.
I only drink coffee when I really need to wake up quickly.
And, why are you asking, Dan?
Because it’s part of this 6 Minute English.
Coffee. I see. So how do you take it then, Dan?
Well, I’m an instant coffee kind of guy. And I like mine with a dash of milk. How about you?
A dash of something is a small amount of something, especially liquid. Personally, I prefer freshly-ground coffee beans, and I like my coffee dark and strong - preferably Colombian or maybe Brazilian.
Wow. A coffee aficionado, eh?
An aficionado is a person who’s very enthusiastic about, or interested in, a particular subject.
Well, let me test your knowledge with this week’s quiz question. The specialty coffee, Kopi luwak, is made from coffee beans which have already passed through an animal’s digestive system. But which animal?
a) an elephant
b) a cat
c) a weasel
I’m always going to answer b) a cat. Did you say this coffee actually goes through the animal? As in, it eats it and then it comes out the other end, and that’s what we use for the coffee?
Well, yes. It is actually one of the most expensive coffees in the world. Anyway, we’ll find out if you’re right or not later on. So, talking of expensive, do you tend to pay more for your coffee or are you happy with the cheap as chips stuff?
Cheap as chips means very cheap. And personally, I do actually like a quality product, and I am willing to pay a bit more for it.
Would you be willing to pay even more than you already do if it meant that the farmer who grew the beans was getting a fairer price?
I would because I think that that sort of thing is important.
And you aren’t alone. There is a growing trend among many Western customers of artisan cafes to be willing to pay more for ethically produced coffee.
Ethical means morally right. So, Dan, why is this trend happening at the moment?
Well, it’s probably been going on for a while, but a new report from the UN’s World Intellectual Property Organisation has observed the effect that smarter processing, branding and marketing has had on the farmers and their communities.
And because of this, coffee drinkers are better able to choose ethically produced coffee that puts more money in the hands of the farmers. But, Dan, do the farmers actually see any of this money?
Well, it’s complicated. The price of the coffee is relatively cheap until it’s been roasted – or cooked in an oven. As a result, roasters take most of the profits. But there is still a difference. I’ll let Johnathan Josephs, a business reporter for the BBC News explain.
Jonathan Josephs , Business reporter, BBC News
For a pound of coffee beans that end up in the instants (section) sold in supermarkets, the roaster can get over $4. But the export price is just $1.45. The farmer gets most of that. But when the new wave of socially-aware customer pays a premium for higher standards, the roaster can get $17.45, but the export price also rises to $5.14.
A premium is an amount that’s more than usual. So the farmer makes three-and-a-half times as much money.
Which means a better quality of life for the farmer, their family and their community.
That’s good news! I will definitely look for the ethically produced coffee from now on. As long as, Dan, it doesn’t come out of some animal!
Yes, actually that reminds me. Our quiz question. I asked you which animal the speciality coffee Kopi luwak comes from.
a) an elephant
b) a cat
c) a weasel
And I said a cat.
And you are wrong I’m afraid. Kopi luwak comes from a type of weasel.
I’m kind of relieved about that.
Let’s try not to think about it, and have a look at the vocabulary instead.
OK. So, first we had dash. A dash of something is a small amount of something, usually a liquid. Where might we talk about a dash of something, Dan?
Well, I like my tea with a dash of milk. My gin with a dash of tonic, and my soup with a dash of salt. Then we had aficionado. An aficionado is someone who is very interested or enthusiastic about a subject. What are you an aficionado of?
I’m working on becoming a bit of an accordion aficionado actually, Dan.
Yeah! After that, we had as cheap as chips. Is something as cheap as chips? Then it is very cheap indeed.
Like my shoes! I bought them at a market for next to nothing. They were as cheap as chips. Then we had ethical. Something which is ethical is morally right. Do you consider yourself to be an ethical person, Catherine?
Well, I try, Dan. I don’t always get it right, but I do attempt to be. After that we heard roasted. Roasted means cooked in an oven. Like our coffee beans!
And of course our very famous English roast. Finally, we had a premium. If you pay a premium, you pay more than usual - usually for a better quality or service. Can you think of an example?
If you’re going to the cinema, you might pay a premium to get more comfortable seats.
And that’s the end of this 6 Minute English. Don’t forget to check out our YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages, and we’ll see you next time. Goodbye.
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Coffee is now the most popular drink in the world. But what about the economics and politics of coffee production? It's as complicated as getting the right flavour in your cup
Episode 150409 / 09 Apr 2015
Rob and Neil put on their sunglasses to find out more about this special star and teach some related vocabulary. We promise you won’t be blinded with science!
Episode 150402 / 02 Apr 2015
The UK has become the first country to approve legislation allowing the creation of babies with genetic material from three people. Listen to Neil and Harry’s conversation and learn some related vocabulary.
Episode 150326 / 26 Mar 2015
What are some art galleries banning to protect their paintings? Find out with Neil and Harry
Episode 150319 / 19 Mar 2015
An electronic device under your skin?! Workers in Sweden take part in experiment which allows them to get in and out of their office without a key, ID or password. Listen to Neil and Harry’s chat and learn some related vocabulary.
Episode 150312 / 12 Mar 2015
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Winston Churchill’s death. He is known throughout the world for his role in defeating Nazi Germany but he also made mistakes. Listen to Neil and Mike’s discussion, and learn new vocabulary.
Episode 150305 / 05 Mar 2015
We live in a richer world. But the gap between rich and poor is still very wide in individual countries. How to change this? Listen to Rob and Harry’s discussion, and learn some related vocabulary.
Episode 150226 / 26 Feb 2015
The price of vaccines has escalated and some poor countries are struggling to prevent children from catching certain life-threatening diseases, says Medecins Sans Frontieres. Listen to Rob and Neil’s discussion, and learn some related vocabulary.
Episode 150219 / 19 Feb 2015
Will thinking computers be the end of humans? Listen to Rob and Neil’s chat and learn some related vocabulary.
Episode 150212 / 12 Feb 2015
About 37,000 tourists are expected to visit Antarctica this season. But should they be going to a region with such a sensitive environment? Listen to Rob and Neil’s conversation and learn some new vocabulary.
Episode 150205 / 05 Feb 2015
At a time when more people compete for fewer jobs, are you sure you present your skills and abilities well to a potential employer? Listen to Rob and Neil's conversation and learn some related vocabulary.
Episode 150129 / 29 Jan 2015
Going to a party where you don't know anyone? Listen to Rob and Neil's advice and learn some related vocabulary
Episode 150122 / 22 Jan 2015
We use computers for everything nowadays. Are we forgetting our own abilities - and losing our talent? Listen to Rob and Neil's discussion, and learn some related vocabulary
Episode 150115 / 15 Jan 2015
Smoking in cars with children might be banned in England. Listen to Neil and Rob's chat and learn some related vocabulary
Episode 150108 / 08 Jan 2015
Is bullying just an attempt to give a bad name to what is part of human nature? Listen to Rob and Neil’s chat and learn some related vocabulary.
Episode 150101 / 01 Jan 2015
What would you put in your time capsule? Listen to Rob and Neil’s chat and learn new vocabulary
Episode 141225 / 25 Dec 2014
When enemy soldiers sang together in WW1. Listen to Rob and Finn’s chat and learn some related vocabulary.
Episode 141218 / 18 Dec 2014
The London school where students speak 42 different languages
Episode 141211 / 11 Dec 2014
Laughter isn't always the best medicine, says research
Episode 141204 / 04 Dec 2014
Are your pictures, documents and videos safe online? Listen to Rob and Finn's chat and learn new vocabulary
Episode 141127 / 27 Nov 2014
Nowhere to park? How the sharing economy is changing the way we use our space
Episode 141120 / 20 Nov 2014
How can science fiction help the world? Rob and Finn discuss a project which aims to inspire through stories of a bright future
Episode 141113 / 13 Nov 2014
Why is eating meat bad news?
Episode 141106 / 06 Nov 2014
Do real-life superheroes exist or are they just cartoon characters?
Episode 141030 / 30 Oct 2014
Rob and Finn discuss the World Health Organisation's recommendations on e-cigarettes
Episode 141023 / 23 Oct 2014
Should we eat less sugar? Listen to Rob and Neil and learn new vocabulary
Episode 141016 / 16 Oct 2014
Is learning English getting easier? Find out what's new
Episode 141009 / 09 Oct 2014
Why do we buy so much food and not eat it all? Learn more about food waste
Episode 141002 / 02 Oct 2014
Is it right to sleep at work? Rob and Finn discuss the benefits of sleeping on the job.
Episode 140929 / 29 Sep 2014
Is the way we see famous people a new thing? Learn about the first 'modern celebrity'.
Episode 140821 / 21 Aug 2014
Bored? You're not alone. Rob and Finn discuss how to deal with boredom and teach some related vocabulary. We promise you won't be bored!