The Romance of Coffee

December 12th, 2006

Not a post about the slightly obscure books by William Ukers. Instead inspired by another book: Stewart Lee Allen’s “The Devil’s Cup”.

Everyone I know in the industry who has read this book has enjoyed it, but without fail people hate the last chapter. I think it is because it is in such sharp contrast to the rest of the book, and the rest of the book wraps itself wonderfully in the history and mythology of coffee. The last chapter is more about the horrid outside world that we in the industry would like to pretend isn’t there. It’s about coffee as caffeine, coffee as the unpleasant bitter drink that billions of people consume every day. There is no charming moment where we are taught the correct way to drink a melange, or the stories of the whirling dervishes told. Instead it reminds us that people don’t buy coffee because it tastes nice, and if you are in love with how good coffee can taste this can be a frustrating (if not slightly distressing!) thing.

I know this is something I’ve talked about before, but it is something that has been on my mind again today. And whilst I could wax lyrical about how most people who drink coffee don’t really like coffee, it is a functional not a pleasurable beverage, I will lay off that for today.

Instead I wonder what our modern mythology will be. When we look back in 200 years where will we find the romance and the great stories? Will it be microlots and auctions, or will they have carried on into the future? Will we invent a new machine, a new way to brew coffee – or have we already and we haven’t realised its impact yet. Who knows……

[tags]coffee, espresso, coffee history[/tags]

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