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A Cafecito Story

3.67  ·  Rating Details ·  352 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
A Cafecito Story is a story of love, coffee, birds and hope. It is a beautifully written eco-fable by best-selling author Julia Alvarez. Based on her and her husband's experiences trying to reclaim a small coffee farm in her native Dominican Republic, A Cafecito Story shows how the return to the traditional methods of shade-grown coffee can rehabilitate and rejuvenate the ...more
Hardcover, 58 pages
Published October 1st 2001 by Chelsea Green Publishing Company (first published 2001)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Sep 07, 2007 Kristine rated it did not like it
Besides the beautiful woodcuts, there is really nothing to this very, very short story about shade-grown coffee in the Dominican Republic. It's much too short to be a book; it would be better suited as an informative pamphlet on sustainable and responsible coffee farming and buying.
Feb 22, 2013 Joy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful. Very short, only about 45 pages. I don't even drink coffee but this really made me think. I had no idea how much time, love & attention go into creating a perfect cup of coffee made from organic beans raised on a cooperative farm in the Dominican Republic. The book's artwork is lovely, too.
Sep 27, 2012 Matt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, small-press
I love some things more than others. Among those things: steep green slopes; knock you down strong coffee; community that exists solely to support its members. This had all three, with some solid writing to boot... so of course I loved it.

[4.5 stars for making me want to consider a move, to grow coffee in the sun.]
Quaint little parable, which one could easily read in one sitting in less than an hour. It has the tone of a bedtime story to me, if the kids had any appreciation for strong coffee, traditional farming, and fair trade. It felt a little heavy handed with the moral.
Mar 13, 2012 Teddi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Roxana Toloza Chacón
Really a two-star story, but the woodcuts were gorgeous and so made this a three-star book. Interesting concept as a pamphlet, not so successful a story telling.
Ginny Martinez
Oct 28, 2016 Ginny Martinez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
August 2014.
Feb 27, 2017 Daisy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book tries to be meaningful and symbolic and it doesn't do well. It feels forced, and tries too hard to be a cute story.
This short work, is the story of coffee, "a social beverage that bridges nations and unites people in trade, in words, in birds, and in love . . . through the eyes of Joe, a man with farming in his blood but an increasing sense of dislacement from the natural world."

Joe is the son of Nebraska farmers. He loves to farm, the small farms go under, and he winds up teaching, though he still yearns for a connection with nature. Then, he takes a vacation in the Dominican Republic. Escaping the gated r
Mar 14, 2009 Carter rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 12, 2009 Jenn rated it liked it
Shelves: 50books_poc, 2009
This is an odd little book—simple, and written deliberately simplistically to feel like a fable, the moral of which is . . . buy organic, shade-grown, fair-trade coffee. If the message is a little heavy-handed (or just blatant), the story is also lovely—the theme of the birds resonated with me, especially, and I can't imagine a more compelling advertisement for visiting the Dominican Republic. The physical book is a keepsake, designed with great care and illustrated with gorgeous woodcuts. This ...more
Anyone who enjoys coffee must read this book prior to the very next sip they plan on taking. It's a true story of how coffee is made and how it should be made; of following one's true path in life; and of the myriad and deep ways in which our individual actions affect the well-being of Everything. It's also written by Julia Alvarez, so is thus lovely to read, essentially prose poetry, with the original Spanish alongside its English translation and pretty woodcuts. Well before you finish these ap ...more
Pam Kennedy
Jan 24, 2016 Pam Kennedy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a short story that resonates with folks who think about what it means to consume sustainably - in a way that does the least harm to the people and the planet. I read it for a discussion group tonight and found it had layers of issues that should feed our conversation. It may be read mostly by those who are already actively making choices with their food purchases but it never hurts to "feed the fires of the heart". Looking forward to the discussion tonight at the Barton Public Libra ...more
William Trently
Jun 26, 2016 William Trently rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"One thing I've learned from the life I've lived: The world can only be saved by one man or woman putting a seed in the ground or a story in someone's head or a book in someone's hands." I love this from the Afterword: "In contrast to the family of my childhood, our poor and frugal Dominican family would never skimp on the 'strength' of their coffee. They simply drink a smaller cup, yet rich enough to leave stains on the bottom and sides. I'm with them. I'll take two ounces of quality over a who ...more
I'm back to Julia Alvarez. She wrote this short story to illustrate what she and her husband are doing in her native country -- Dominican Republic -- to help the organic coffee industry battle the unhealthy agri-business way of growing coffee (in the full sun without benefit of natural shade and native birds). At the end, there are resources to put one in touch with fair trade organizations. At the same time Ms. Alvarez was planting her coffee farm, she was teaching her workers and their childre ...more
Mar 24, 2015 CAG_1337 rated it did not like it
As short fiction, this falls completely flat. Basically, it feels like left-wing eco-propaganda molded into a barely passable short story. Granted, the philosophical base beneath all that deeply appeals to me as a socialist, but the writing was so amateurish and utilitarian it fails.

I also felt like the point of the whole book was just to advertise the author's coffee cooperative farm in the Dominican Republic. Again, I love co-ops and am about as anti-corporate as they come, but I feel cheated
Chris Linehan
As a parable about fair trade coffee it reads a bit like environmental propaganda, which isn't necessarily a bad thing per se. It's a very nice little story, but it connects with me because I lived in the mountains of the Dominican Republic for years not far from where Julia Alvarez has her farm. That personal connection makes the story for me as I have met my own Miguel and Carmen and sipped many a fantastic cafecito.
Kerri Stebbins
This story is: a) simply told, but beautifully so;
b) small in size while simultaneously being large in scope;
c) stunning in the way sitting beneath a shaded tree on a sultry day is;
d) exactly what I needed to read the morning I poured it over my eyes and
soon thereafter garnished my cafecito with happy tear water;
e) all of the above.
This is a sweet little 50 page story about the importance of shade grown coffee. My first reaction was that I wanted to buy a copy to give to our local coffee shop - they serve and promote shade grown coffee. I also liked the resources listed at the end. Two of the organizations are based in Seattle and work with song bird habitat, an important aspect of shade grown coffee - interesting possibility for a program for our local Audubon group.

Story is in both English and Spanish.
Oct 26, 2007 Maeve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After meeting Julia in person and corresponding with her via email about her work in the Dominican Republic, I used this book for a final paper in graduate school. Julia & her husband's efforts to create a library and educate the children of the coffee farmers is an inspiration. Buy fair-trade coffee!
Leah Feliz
Jun 18, 2008 Leah Feliz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Inspiring story of how Alvarez and her husband were able to help the Dominican people save their coffee plantations, faced with huge companies taking over their land and resources. This is happening all over the world and it is important to see how the efforts of just a handful of people can have such a significant impact.
Mar 21, 2008 Nicole rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: outward
This is a fabulous short story/picture book/social conscious fiction book that tells the story of Fair Trade Coffee. It tells it in a way that draws the reader into how they, the birds, the land and the coffee farmers are all intimately connected. Alvarez and her husband own a Fair Trade Farm in the Dominican Republic, where she is from.
Aug 04, 2009 Julianne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: semi-fictional
I was supposed to get this book in Spanish, but that's not what I got delivered through inter-library loan. However, after having read it in English, I'm not sure if all the book's nuances would come through in an all-Spanish text--part of its soul is the interplay between English and Spanish, north and south, the world of mechanization and the world of nature.
Apr 10, 2011 Susan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a quick read, almost a short story. Julia Alvarez's prose is beautiful, as is the story. It really left me wanting more details - a novel, so I could learn about the characters, the hardships they endured and the successes they celebrated.
I definitely wanted to drink a cup of coffee after reading it and I will always think about this story when I buy some.
Dec 01, 2016 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As someone who teaches courses on the geography of coffee as well as the geography of Latin America, I thoroughly enjoyed this story. It conveys the importance of respecting the people who care for our food and drink and for the lands from which they come. I hope some day to visit the author's farm in the Dominican Republic.
Apr 05, 2016 Myrna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A tiny little book written in English and Spanish. The story is about fair-trade growing of coffee in
South America. Quite interesting, food for thought, and educational. Recommended by Sally at the library. It does peak my interest and there are more books on the subject.
Jan 25, 2011 pjr8888 marked it as to-read
Shelves: mexico-latin-am
my copy is without the dustjacket.
Betty F
Dec 21, 2014 Betty F rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gosh, this made me want to go back to D.R. and just get lost in the fields. It has been over 8 years since I've been, might be time to plan a trip. :)
Jun 05, 2012 Angela rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
a beautiful, artistic book with a message
Sep 14, 2013 Lana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A beautifully written, lyrical story. I liked both the message and the way of telling it.
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Julia Álvarez was born in New York City. Her parents moved back to the Dominican Republic when Álvarez was 3 months old and she was raised there until she was 10, when the family moved back to NYC.

She is currently writer-in-residence at Middlebury College and the owner of a coffee farm named Alta Gracia, near Jarabacoa in the mountains of the Dominican Republic. The farm hosts a school to teach l
More about Julia Alvarez...

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