Are you part of the Coffee Culture
It's Monday morning.
You've already hit snooze five times in an effort to grab those precious few extra minutes of heavenly sleep. You're warm and cosy and the last thing you feel like doing is dragging yourself out of bed to face the day. The only appealing thought right now is a cup of coffee, you can see the steam, smell the caffeine and the tantalising image is powerful enough to lift your heavy head off the pillow.
After that eye opening first cup, you happily sail through the morning, buoyed by lunch at midday and on into the afternoon. Until around three o'clock. The coffee has drained from your system, lunch is wearing off and without another boost you'll be left to transform into a caffeine free zombie trudging through the last few hours of the work day, trying not to talk to anyone, offering forced grunts as responses when necessary.
It’s a routine that most of us go through, but what is it that drives the majority of the world to that delicious mug of goodness getting our cogs turning in the morning and hitting the essential ‘control, alt, delete’ command to stop our brains from shutting down in the afternoons?
We all know that caffeine is an energy booster and that scientists have been juggling the health risk and benefit questions.From trying to decide whether it can in fact, help reduce the risks of; type 2 Diabetes, Osteoporosis and cancer. Its performance effects on our memory and cognitive functions and improvement on the digestive system, to figuring out if it causes dehydration and wrinkles (I imagine they’d have to have done surveys, I’m picturing sales people harassing the general public with questions like “Java minute? We’d like to know: Is the bean affecting your mug?”), sleep deprivation and dependence or addiction if not consumed in moderation.
Despite the contradictory questions and inconclusive results keeping scientists up at night, there is an increasing interest in the following of coffee enthusiasts.
It seems that as a society we’ve unwittingly formed a sort of coffee culture that has grown from how it is produced and manufactured, to where we consume it and how we incorporate it into our social lives.
So where did it all start? When did a drink become the starting point of our day, the deciding factor in whether it’ll be a good or bad one, because let’s face it, no-one has a good day if you’re waking up to an empty coffee pot.
The stories of coffee’s origin are legendary.
Mostly because the certainty and accuracy of exactly when and where people first started drinking it is unclear.
One of them, from the ancient chronicle preserved in the Abd-Al-Kadir manuscript, says that Omar, a man known to cure the sick through prayer was exiled from Mocha, Yemen to a desert cave near the mountain of Ousab. Starving with no other option for food, he tried some berries. The fruit was bitter so he roasted the seeds he found inside, (what we now refer to as the coffee beans) but they became hard. He tried boiling them and they softened, leaving a fragrant aroma. He drank the water and was revitalised for days having felt the effects of coffee for the first time.
There are numerous stories, all with a similar basic outline; from a herder seeing his flock energised while eating the fruit, to travels through Ethiopia observing birds with unusual vitality after enjoying berries.
So it seems that coffee, like most brilliant discoveries, was probably the product of accidental genius.
Although its discovery may have been unintentional, it has since been expertly cultivated and crafted and has grown into something most of us consider a daily requirement.
It’s in our homes, our offices and on almost every street corner in the form of a café or coffee shop.
With Starbucks booming onto the market in 1971, introducing us to the endless possibilities of variety; tall, skinny, Grande, mocha, latte, cappuccino, espresso…..the framework for the coffee culture we live in today was built.
Everybody has their favourite. I’m a cappuccino person, I have a friend who’s a latte lover and another who takes it black, with no sugar and milk.
Despite our differences, we find ourselves gathering in coffee shops everywhere, enjoying a sort of communal bonding in the appreciation for coffee.
Places like this have been attracting us for centuries. It’s said that coffee shops were originally where people went to talk and share ideas, inspire each other and grow creative chains of thought into discoveries and epiphanies. The comfortable, homely environment left people feeling relaxed and at ease surrounded by a family of fans, all there for the same reason, enjoying the company of like minded people which allowed an easy, natural flow and exchange of thought.
As social developments developed, so did the culture of coffee and how we relate to it.
Although the café or coffee house fad never faded and as years went by, became increasingly popular later demonstrated in the media, on TV and in the music industry. From 1994 - 2004 coffee made a ten season long appearance on the series Friends, in the local coffee shop, Central Perk. It was also featured as the subject in Blur’s ‘Coffee and TV’ in 1999.
Café’s may have been the original social network, but coffee has made a huge impact online as typing ‘coffee’ into Facebook and watching the search bar open with a stream of pages created by people passionate about the subject, will prove. Twitter has an ongoing hash tag for #coffee which people follow and automatically retweet from, encouraging a number of enthusiastic caffeine related tweets. There are also sites like ‘CoffeeCupNews’ and ‘Ilovecoffee’ created specifically for the coffee culture.
As well as a loyal fan following of average joes, the culture of coffee has managed to produce some incredibly inspiring artists, connoisseurs and craftsman.
You might have considered the job of a Barista as being something you do in college to make a bit of extra cash. But some have taken to perfecting and manipulating the frothy foamy milk into extraordinary images, creating some of the most impressive, and often, award winning works you could ever imagine possible from a cup of coffee.
Mike Breach, Barista
Visit Baristart to see more
Consumers have gone from customer to connoisseur, (thanks to the variety Starbucks and many other coffee shops have offered us) by acquiring a pallet for the drink and, similar to wine tasting, have learned to differentiate between a vast array of flavours and a variety of coffees, with just a sip.
From its humble beginnings as fruit on a tree, Manufacturers have painstakingly developed methods of production to achieve differing results depending on the type of bean, whether they’re picked using ‘selective’ picking or ‘strip picking, if they’re ‘wet processed’ or ‘dry processed’ until they’re finally roasted and can be bagged.
Not a bad legacy for a drink.
To most people, in the imaginary office of hot drinks; coffee is the CEO, tea the managing director and hot chocolate the guy sending copies of his ugly mug to colleagues for a laugh.
Coffee has become something respected, loved and has a bigger fan following than Justin Bieber himself.
It’s developed into a culture of passionate, creative people willing to put in the time, effort and hard work to produce something spectacular from something as simple as a seed.
So the next time you greet a Monday morning, being dragged out of bed by mentally dangling the carrot of coffee in front of yourself, take a second to remember that it’s not just the life force getting you through your 9-5. You’re part of something bigger, a loyal fan in the product of passion, you’re taking part in moulding the future, forming a movement; from seed to sip; you’re a vital part of advancing the culture of coffee.
Pair Your choice of Coffee with a Dessert
Cappuchino / Chocolate Brownies
Expresso / Cheesecake
Latte / Vanilla ice cream
Mocha / Walnut Syrup Cake
Iced coffee / Tiramisu
- The Jetstream Team