From Publishers Weekly
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Publishers Weekly, Starred Review-
This surprisingly gripping travelogue is filled with tales from the "coffeelands," barely-on-the-map locales in Africa, the Americas, and Asia where coffee farmers struggle to survive. Written with knowledge and good cheer by the founder of Dean's Beans Organic Coffee, the book reads more like a trippy adventure than a business trip, though the issues Cycon raises are vital, prescient and little known ("99 percent of the people involved in coffee... have never been to a coffee village"). While learning first-hand about the hardships involved in growing and selling coffee beans-the world's second most valuable commodity, after oil-the author finds himself in Guatemala praying to an effigy in a Mickey Mouse tie and cowboy boots; eating armadillo leg in Colombia; working to heal landmine victims in Nicaragua and war widows in Sumatra; and meeting with all manner of farmers, bureaucrats and dignitaries. His dispatches are highly enlightening, demonstrating how few national governments provide coffee growers with water, education, health care or even protection from harmful pesticides; further, coffee growers' income is subject to the whims of financial speculators half a world away. Reading this eye-opening book, it's impossible not to reconsider-and feel grateful for-the myriad people behind your morning cup.
"Who would have thought that a cup of coffee contained World Bank schemes, indigenous rights, third world women's empowerment and a wide range of globalization issues? Dean Cycon reveals the worlds within worlds of coffee that have to make us think about the choices we make at the supermarket or café."--Susan Sarandon, actress and activist
"Coffee is more than just a drink. It is about politics, survival, the earth and the lives of indigenous peoples. Dean Cycon has been involved with indigenous rights, in coffee and in the larger sphere, for the twenty-seven years I have known him. He has a rich knowledge of the people and places of coffee, and knows how to tell our stories in a sensitive, insightful and often humorous way. Javatrekker is a great book for anyone who wants to know what is really going on in their morning cup."--Rigoberta Menchu, Nobel Peace Laureate and author of I, Rigoberta Menchu and Crossing Borders
"Dean Cycon is a born storyteller. . . and he has some extraordinary stories to tell in Javatrekker. Dean is the rare individual who possesses a keen intellect, quick wit, without the taint of cynicism or world-weariness. He's a rebel and a trailblazer with a deep passion for the fundamental causes of fairness, freedom, and environmentalism. Javatrekker is a great read because it is, first and foremost, entertaining in the swashbuckling style of Anthony Bourdain or Jack Kerouac. But Dean's stories possess a depth of spirit and a love for his subjects that many adventure writers lack. And his core subject-coffee-is so universally familiar (and yet little-understood) that I believe his potential audience is enormous."--Stephen Braun, author of the award-winning Buzz: The Science and Lore of Alcohol and Caffeine
"Dean is truly a singular character in the world of coffee roasters. He takes an intense interest in knowing the origins of his coffee. While most roasters and importers brag about their 'Third World' experiences, Dean travels to the 'Fourth World,' getting down and dirty with the indigenous groups growing the coffees, way out beyond where most folks will go. He is embraced universally by these groups and hailed as a true brother. His visits to these locations and his ability to bring these coffees to the U.S. market and pay Fair Trade pricing to the growers has brought large scale economic recovery to thousands of small coffee farmers around the world."--John Cossette, Royal Coffee, Inc.
"It's not often that a book with great politics is also a great read. Dean Cycon puts a face and a story in each cup of coffee I will ever drink. This is a book for anyone who loves coffee as well as anyone who wants to know the real life stories behind those who provide us with this second-most-traded commodity after oil. Dean Cycon is an informed, lively, straight-shooting guide. I've always been grateful to him for the work he has done to bring a conscience to coffee. Now I can add my gratitude for the stories he tells so vividly and powerfully in Javatrekker: Dispatches From the World of Fair Trade Coffee."--Julia Alvarez, author of In the Time of the Butterflies and A Cafecito Story
"Dean Cycon's experience has ranged from Native communities in North America to the depths of the oceans and remote coffee producing villages and communities internationally. Cycon's analysis and experience, as well as his humorous and engaging style, promise to bring stories to the light of day that would not and could not be told, simply because no one else has his range of experience. Coffee is god to many of us in the morning, and yet, we know so little about its history and present issues. Linking coffee drinkers to the communities is the work of Dean Cycon in an animated, vital and forever engaging manner. Javatrekker promises to be a set of stories, adventures and compelling relationships told for all of us to eagerly read."--Winona LaDuke, indigenous rights activist, author of All Our Relations: Native Struggles for Land and Life and Recovering the Sacred