Even though the About page assures this blog isn’t a coffee-devoted one, it still seems fitting for the first post to reflect on what is to many of us the focal point of the morning, and in some cases, the day. Coffee.
Five Hour Energy advertises its product as a quick way to get awake, a substitute that leaves the poor transporter of caffeine, coffee, in the dust. This is true: that is, if you drink grape and cherry flavored coffee from plastic bottles. No, what five hour energy fails to grasp is that coffee’s caffeine properties are not the reason for the beverage–it’s a happy side-effect. We drink coffee because it tastes good, not because it’ll give us a short burst of alertness. I myself am a Coffee Appreciator. I don’t obsess, don’t buy thousand dollar machines or ultra-high quality imported beans. Still, I care about the quality of my coffee, and will pay a little extra to get it. National trends follow suit: gourmet coffee is on the rise. The most significant mark of a Coffee Appreciator, though, is he drinks coffee for what it is: a delicious beverage that brings to mind home, warmth and a plethora of happy memory associations. Those that are only interested in it for its ability to keep them awake, well, maybe Five Hour Energy is for you.
Coffee is nearly universal in America, and where it’s not the numbers are escalating. I won’t pretend Starbucks wasn’t instrumental; and certainly the added attention to quality and taste is a welcome change. But why this success? While taste is vital, and logically the primary concern, I believe its success is directly intertwined with just how American it is. Coffee has been a staple of restaurants, the home and even the preferred beverage (besides alcohol) of cowboys. Steinbeck, when driving across country for his Travels with Charley, used coffee as his icebreaker for conversation, a testament to the beverages sociability with the country. Coffee has a long history, and to Americans at least, it has survived gender gaps, social upheavals, the 1960s, changing tastes and cultures, to become eternally enshrined as a delightful, warming beverage, acceptable to all races, creeds, and political parties. Coffee is the quintessential beverage of morning, of a little pleasurable drink before the day’s toil, of long after-dinner conversations, of all-nighter projects, and of an ability to go out another day, and succeed. Let generations change, let cultural tastes shift. With the passing of each decade, with it will come coffee.