This essay reflects on the study of coffee production in Angola, following research in business and missionary archives in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. After observing that African coffee farmers were consumers of foreign goods as much as they were producers for the global market, the essay makes a case for tying histories of consumption into histories of labor and production. It suggests there were long-term continuities as well as changes in African consumption patterns. Finally, it underlines the importance of studying the history of labor and consumption in Africa outside the traditional framework of colonial history, focusing instead on the global dimensions of commodity production.

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