Ready for their closeup: celebrities and coffee


"I didn't even know Rwanda had coffee," Grace Hightower said in a recent New York Times article, Celebrities Board Coffee Bandwagon. Hightower, a performer, philanthropist, and wife of actor Robert DeNiro has jumped on the trend of celebrities aligning themselves with coffee brands or even starting their own coffee companies. For Hightower, she was impressed how the country used coffee trade as a way to bounce back from horrific civil conflict. She's not alone either - actor Hugh Jackman has become an advocate and partner of Laughing Man coffee. Television lifestyle personality Martha Stewart has backed ice coffee drink Ulivjava. However, the celebrity aspect of coffee seems to be more of an afterthought for consumers.

“It’s close to our office, and it’s a good cup of coffee,” said Cole Reynolds to the New York Times, an architectural designer who works close to Laughing Man."

I guess customers aren't clamoring for the Wolverine's favorite java blend and instead visiting his coffee shop out of taste and convenience.

While it may leave a celebrity philanthropist like Hightower with satisfaction for putting resources toward a high impact venture, a part of me wonders if it cheapens the experience for the rest of us? This isn't a charity, its a business. We as consumers should support and buy good coffee because of taste and because of valuing the farmers who produce it, not because of someone whose movie you watched and happened to like.

Photo by Grant Brummet under a Creative Commons license. Some rights reserved.