Imperial Blend: Kenyan Coffee and Capitalism in the Era of Anglo-American Empire

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Imperial Blend is a history of coffee in Kenya and its sale out on the global market over the course of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The project considers the strategies farmers used to make their fortunes as well as the production and consumption cultures they fashioned in response to the boom and bust cycles of the global coffee market. Equally important are the tense yet dependent relationships farmers developed with both colonial and postcolonial governments that regulated production and trade. Imperial Blend also uses coffee to consider the effects of capitalism and competing, yet complementary British and American imperialisms on Kenya. Tracing the sale, branding, and consumption of Kenyan coffee, the book examines how changes in the regulation of international trade, political influence of Britain and the United States, interventions of international financial institutions, and tastes of Western consumers shaped the coffee industry and Kenyans’ livelihoods.