Colin Greenwood

Would you kill for a cup of coffee?

El Salvador’s violent revolution at the end of the 20th century was directly linked to the infamous practices of the country’s coffee plantation owners

Workers on a coffee plantation in Chalchuapa, El Salvador. Credit: Getty Images

In the winter of 1939, at the San Francisco Golden Gate trade fair, an advertorial film called Behind the Cup told the story of El Salvadorean coffee, from seed to cup. America was the world’s biggest consumer, drinking nearly 60 billion cups a year. It opened with a picturesque image of local Indians in traditional costume dancing under the Santa Ana volcano.

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