EDITOR: | May 20th, 2014 | 3 Comments

British tea drinking spurs vertical marijuana businesses

| May 20, 2014 | 3 Comments

VI-ModelThere are growing number of public companies poised to support the marijuana industry to address the emerging needs of marijuana growers, adding to the long list of marijuana stocks. This gives me hope that they won’t resort to smoking Ceylon tea in Colorado and Washington State.

Odds are that the public companies that will do best in the marijuana business are not those that produce marijuana but those that support the growers. This is because the British were made to drink tea instead of coffee…

The British have only been tea drinkers since the late 19th century. Before that they were coffee drinkers. This was based on a coffee monoculture system which is quite similar to the one being introduced in marijuana grow operations in enclosed environments.

Coffee originated as an understory plant in the forests in the mountains of Ethiopia where it was served as a food. Its first use as a drink was probably for medicinal purposes and in religious rituals, but its stimulating and refreshing qualities made it popular.  Sounds familiar to marijuana?

Coffeehouses were common throughout North Africa in the sixteenth century, and European travelers developed a taste for this addictive concoction. The Dutch saw the business potential in coffee and began to plant coffee in their colonies in Ceylon, Sumatra, and Java. This is why Java is a common moniker for coffee (and a software).

Coffeehouses spread throughout Europe in the seventeenth century like Tim Horton’s franchises in Hockeyville, with Ceylon being a major coffee supplier. By the time the Dutch ceded Ceylon to the British in the nineteenth century, Ceylon had developed into the greatest coffee-growing region in the world. The British expanded the plantations even further, clear-cutting native forests to grow even more coffee. By the 1870s, Ceylon’s plantations were exporting nearly 100 million pounds of coffee a year, most of it to England. Yes the British were drinking coffee!

But the Ceylon growers noted the appearance of a “coffee leaf disease” in 1867, which scholars classified as a rust fungus, “vastatrix” because of its devastating power. By 1879, the Ceylon was desperate. The vigor and productivity of the coffee plantations declined to the point where they were no longer economically viable. Following a period of severe economic and social upheaval, British planters shifted to planting tea as extensively as they had coffee, and the British coffee drinkers began drinking tea. Within a few years, coffee rust had spread to India, Sumatra, and Java, and the center of coffee production shifted to the Americas, where the rust had not yet appeared. Brazil soon became the world’s major coffee supplier.

Dr. Luc Duchesne


Dr. Luc C. Duchesne is a Speaker and Author with a PhD in Biochemistry. With three decades of scientific and business experience, he has published ... <Read more about Dr. Luc Duchesne>

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  • Tracy Weslosky

    I was literally staring at this article trying to understand what Dr. Duchesne was trying to say, when John Clarke walked into my office and brought up the rust fungus and how it may affect our coffee this upcoming year — and prices of good cup of java.

    Perhaps the goal here was for us to appreciate that Marijuana is not like mining gold, and that issues related to agriculture require more than posturing in the race for Canadian licenses to breed weed?

    May 20, 2014 - 8:32 AM

    • Reverend Ryan

      It is also an observation on cultural phenomena ~ coffee shops! In Holland many shops also serve the cannabis community and the Liberals specifically mention coffee shops, clubs & dispensaries as cannabis outlets in Canada under the repeal of prohibition. The cannabis community is a sub-culture which crosses all socioeconomic boundaries.

      May 21, 2014 - 10:59 AM

  • hackenzac

    I’ve heard that in Washington State, probably the strongest coffee culture in North America, coffee business margins are better than medical marijuana margins. The recreational supply business isn’t up and running yet so we can’t tell with that end what the margins are yet but recreational stuff is going to be price fixed at 15 dollars a gram for bud, a price easily undercut by the street which isn’t going anywhere. 200 an ounce, 28 grams, is a common street price now, 300 at most for the wickedest dank ( I can hear you 12 year scotch alkies sniffling about the stoner right here) so the official licensed businesses have their competition. one that doesn’t pay taxes and that has been in business all along. It’s a weed after all so there’s not going to be much in the way of market cornering and this marijuana stock gold rush,it is pretty much a pump and dump imo. There’s like 3000 coffee houses in greater Seattle and there’s going to be a few hundred permits for recreational smoking establishments, not associated with liquor businesses, the law prohibits that but coffee and smoke, that’s gonna be a hit for certain. If you’re looking for the ultimate laboratory at this time, it’s certainly not London tea rooms, It’s Seattle espresso bars.

    May 21, 2014 - 4:52 PM

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