Ariane is a singer and songwriter living in Aguascalientes, Mexico. She has the connection to Latin America through her father who was born in Argentina – she herself is European and Latin American. I got to know her when she came to Berlin on a lecture tour through Germany. Over a coffee she told me about her projects and plans, which inspired me so much that I asked her for an interview. You can find her answers here.
1. What is it that links you to coffee? Why do you work with coffee?
When I first set foot on Mexican soil, I realized that coffee is practically a national beverage here. However, it was not uncommon for me to see more instant coffee from multinational companies than Mexican coffee on Mexican tables. A contradiction that I could understand, but did not want to accept as given. In May 2019, I was given the opportunity to visit coffee-growing areas in Chiapas, in the south of Mexico. A month later, I travelled to Uganda and visited coffee plantations there as well. Talking to coffee producers* opened my eyes in many ways. Shortly afterwards, together with baristas and cafés in Augascalientes, I founded a local initiative called “Proyecto Café”, which is dedicated to promoting the fair and conscious coffee consumption.
2. What did you do before you worked with coffee?
I am a singer-songwriter, I’ve won several competitions and shared my music at TEDx events and in the EU parliament in Strasbourg. I now use the attention I get as a singer-songwriter to draw attention to topics such as the conscious consumption of coffee.
I studied International Relations at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland and Trinity College in Dublin, and I also worked for social start-ups during my studies. I have also written articles for digital magazines and platforms, and co-authored a book on women empowerment and leadership.
3. What is the most important thing about coffee for you? What is „good coffee“ for you?
For me, the most important thing about coffee is to be able to see all the invisible hands contribute to every single cup of coffee. To make visible everybody that, after all, make it possible for me to enjoy this very cup of coffee. A good coffee is one that treats every part of the production chain equally
4. How do you drink your coffee (preferably)?
Americano – although, let me tell you that we’ve been joking with a barista from our Proyecto Café team, we would rename Americano and start calling it according to whatever country you’re in. The story behind the word Americano is that US-American soldiers didn’t like the strong taste of Italian Espresso, and added hot water. They called it Americano. You could say: okay, it’s just a word. But think about it – America is not just the US, America is an entire continent. Words matter, language matters, so instead of saying “America”, we should at least add “US-America”. Argentina is also America, Mexico is also America, so I don’t agree with the attitude of naming everything as if it only belonged to oneself and making the world repeat it. That’s why we have that running joke of calling an “Americano” whatever country you’re in: Germany-cano, Mexi-cano, … and so on. 😉
I also really enjoy a cappuccino with oat milk.
5. What do you think about fair trade?
It simply shouldn’t have to exist, it should be a matter of fact that you get paid for what you do and can live on it. You should not have to struggle with exploitation or with the consequences of climate change, but that is the way it is. That is why I see fair and direct trade as a great opportunity to work against discriminatory structures and to redress a global imbalance.
6. Is there anything else you would like to add?
I would like to draw attention to our initiative / association Proyecto Café Aguascalientes.
Mexico belongs to the ten biggest coffee producing countries in the world. THere is a high chance you have tried Mexican coffee in Germany. The state I’ve visited – Chiapas – is world leader in exporting organically grown coffee. Nevertheless, per capita consumption is at 1.5 kg per year. In Germany, it is at 8-10 kg per person per year.
Whilst Mexico grows one of the best coffees in the world and sends it out to other regions on the planet, it has not yet come to be the center of attention in Mexico. We aim at sharing the world of coffee inside and outside of Mexico, starting by promoting national coffee in Mexico and pushing for local consumption, and at the same time, promoting fair and conscious coffee consumption in and beyond Mexico. We are a group of baristas with a lot of expertise, coffee roasters, and cafés that work with speciality coffee.
I’ve enjoyed so much sharing our work in Germany – amongst others, I would never have met you if it wasn’t for coffee, dear Stefanie. 🙂
Contact Ariane to learn more about the ” Proyecto Cafe” and to listen to her wonderful songs:
Facebook Ariane https://www.facebook.com/arianeveramusic/
Instagram Ariane https://www.instagram.com/arianeveramusic/
Facebook Proyecto Cafe https://www.facebook.com/ProyectoCafeAgs/
Instagram Proyecto Cafe https://www.instagram.com/proyecto.cafe.ags/