This investigation contributes to studies of post-1945 Europe and the Cold War by examining the culture, economics, and politics surrounding the consumption of a single commodity in East Germany, coffee. Coffee was associated with many cultural values and traditions that became tied to the GDR's official image of socialism. When the regime's ability to supply this good was jeopardized in 1975–77, the government sought out new sources of coffee in the developing, so-called Third World. East Germany entered into long-term trade and development projects with countries such as Angola, Ethiopia, Laos, and Vietnam to secure sufficient beans to supply its own population – this article singles out the GDR's relationship with Laos for discussion. These trade deals connected East Germany to a much broader, globalizing economy, and led to certain lasting effects on the world coffee trade.

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