OUR OBSESSION WITH COFFEE
I have inherited my mother’s preference genes for tea in the morning. They are aggressive and intense genes resulting in my consumption of at least three cups before I’m ready to tackle the day. But, this blog is about coffee and the large consumption in most parts of the world.
In Canada, where I live, we have our ‘Coffee Temples.’ Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, McDonalds, and the tremendously popular Tim Hortons. “Timmys” was founded by a hockey player, Tim Horton, who tragically died in a car accident many years ago. Timmys, like McDonalds, has its drive-thru line ups where Canadians get ‘double-doubles (two sugars, two creams) and sandwiches, donuts, etc. If you are a Starbucks coffee drinker, your tab will be three times the price of Timmys. Starbucks provides lattes, cappuccinos and a varieties of coffees, but if you drink more than one a day, you’re into luxurious spending! In the line up or queue, coffee is served to straights and gays, religious and athesists, males and females.
What do we know about coffee? Our nose senses its wonderful aroma and flavour from the roasting of beans from the coffee plant. The seeds grow on trees in about 70 countries, primarily in Latin American, Southeast Asia, India and Africa. The green or unroasted beans is one of the most traded commodities in the world (rice is probably the first).
Coffee, according to most experts, seems to have been first consumed in Arabia, with reference to it in Suffi shrines of Yemen in the 15th century. It reached Europe around the 1600 and the Pope sanctioned it as a “Christian beverage” because it had originated in the Arabic world. (Holy Wars with Turks/Arabs had been going on for years)
Today, coffee is a cash crop for developing countries and organizations have sprung up to protect exploitation of farmers. These fair trading organizations have been well received by most large brewing companies and stores.
My partner and I bought two empty cups recently. Her cup has a TS Eliot quote on it: “I have measured my life in coffee spoons.” My cup reads, “Coffee is not my cup of tea.” That’s not completely true, I will have at least one cup of java each day.