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Detailed information on the exhibits, research projects, and programs tailored for journalists. For more information or questions please contact Burke Museum Public Relations.

August 25, 2008

Landmark Seattle Exhibit Exposes True Story of World’s Most Popular Drink Coffee!

Coffee: The World in Your Cup ~ Jan. 24 - June 7, 2009

Seattle – The coffee plant was discovered at least 1,000 years ago in Ethiopia and today the perfect cup is enjoyed globally. But what is the true story behind one of the world's most widely traded commodities?

The Burke Museum has organized a new touring exhibit exploring the powerful influence of coffee on the environment, human culture, and economies worldwide — from coffee cultivation in Africa and South America to coffee culture in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Coffee: The World in Your Cup premieres at Seattle's Burke Museum on January 24, 2009.


Looking to become a responsible sipper? Coffee explores the environmental and social impacts of the coffee industry and recommends ways for consumers to pursue fair-trade, environmentally-friendly coffee at the grocery store or in a coffee shop. Weekend public coffee tastings in the gallery will feature specialty coffee drinks from around the Northwest.

Coffee: The World in Your Cup was organized by the Burke Museum in collaboration with a panel of advisors from the University of Washington, the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, Seattle University, the Seattle Audubon, and the Specialty Coffee Industry.Major support for the exhibition has been provided by The Boeing Company, Microsoft Corporation, Starbucks Coffee Company, and the University of Washington.

"Coffee connects us all," says Burke exhibit coordinator Ruth Pelz. "Most consumers will never encounter the people and places that bring coffee from the field to the roast to the cup, but this exhibit offers visitors a chance to be more socially and environmentally aware of what they drink. Coffee really has the power to remind us of our place in the world."

Coffee: The World in Your Cup brings together artifacts, photos, maps, text, audiovisual presentations, and interactive displays to tell the fascinating story of this $60 billion-a-year global industry. Visitors will learn about coffee's early origins in Africa, its controversial reputation as a "revolutionary drink," and the culture that surrounds it in the twenty-first century. From traditional Ethiopian and Turkish coffee sets to a modern-day coffee house interactive, Coffee presents a visual history of this popular drink of choice.

Visitors to Coffee: The World in Your Cup will also get an in-depth look at the world of coffee cultivation, trade, and production.Live coffee plants in the gallery are part of a display about coffee botany and agriculture. Surprising statistics about coffee production and consumption reveal how coffee connects the richest countries with the poorest as it travels around the world. Interactive exhibit elements allow visitors to compare the aroma of different blends and roasts of coffee, as it is made into specialty drinks.

(206) 543-9762; FAX (206) 616-1274

Coffee cherries being loaded onto a truck (Herbazu, Costa Rica)
Coffee cherries being loaded onto a truck (Herbazu, Costa Rica)
Photograph by D. Major Cohen