Monday, January 3, 2011

What's the Point of Coffee?

Welcome to my new coffee series: Adjusting the Grind.

Adjusting the Grind's goal is to provide the everyday person with tips and tools to better understand coffee.

I hope to provide both education on its history and give fun brewing tips from a Barista's perspective. I will always be open for questions and topic suggestions, so please, feel free to suggest, comment, ask, and voice your opinion. I do not claim to be an expert by any means, but I do love coffee and working as a Barista on a daily basis. 

Today's topic is philosophic in nature:
What is the Point of Coffee?

Is it to stay awake during finals week?
Or wake up after you slept too little the night before?
Or to taste good?
Or to analyze?
Or to bring people together?

I know someone whose response to this question is to taste good. 
I agree with him to a point. I think the point of coffee is different for everyone though. For me, coffee equals people.
I would rather drink Folgers with friends and family than Esmeralda (that is a really great coffee) by myself.
Even when I drink coffee by myself, it is a ritualized time with myself that I allow to gather my thoughts or just slow down.

In all cultures, coffee is an invitation for friendship, my mom always says.
And I agree with her.
I know, that coffee is inherently an inanimate beverage meant for consumption,
but I enjoy the humanity behind the cup of black water.
The process of making coffee has so much humanity integrated in it 
from the coffee tree to the coffee mug.

I guess, this can be applied to any product,
but I think it is easy to get sucked into the mechanics and details of coffee making 
and miss the humanity.

I love my job because there is absolutely nothing like
listening to a customer's needs,
selecting a product for them,
crafting their drink with heart,
and seeing their face light up as you pass the cup across the counter
knowing you just brightened their day a little bit.

Yes, it will taste good,
but that is not why I made it,
and that is not why I drink it.

What is the Point of Coffee to You?
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  1. I absolutely love coffee. And to me it is the mixture of a lot of things.
    I love the taste and the caffiene ain't so bad, although I think i have become immune because i drink so much. I like that i can sit in star bucks with a nice cup of Jo and just sit and write. I like that it brings people together and it's part of my schedule.

    There are certain times a day that are coffee times. Friday is coffee with mom...

    It just helps things move along .

    By the way, love your blog

  2. I think it isn't just one me coffee says: relax, think deeply, and make enough for two.

  3. I completely agree with you Beth!! So many of my good memories and good conversations involve a cup of coffee. And I think it is a uniting factor. You can walk into a coffeeshop and have absolutely nothing else in common with someone, but the fact that you both enjoy coffee gives you a common base with each other.

  4. This is a wonderful topic! So insightful.

    I know that personally, the minute when I sit down and breathe in over a great cup of coffee, for a few seconds everything disappears from my mind except how wonderful that moment is.
    And always, coffee is best with friends :)

  5. My husband and two-year-old do not drink coffee, so for me, coffee represents ME. I have a cup in the morning while I read; it is my time, my coffee, my space. It represents comfort for me. Each morning my daughter asks, "Mama, you makin' coffee? Can I snell?"

  6. wow, i wish every barista loved their job as much as you do! i've gotten some lousy cups from those who just crank 'em out.
    coffee = feel good feelings...whether alone or with friends.

  7. At first, it wasn't about coffee for me. It was more the atmosphere, the social interaction, and the cool music & memories from coffee shops. I liked being by myself or with friends. It doesn't matter. Back then, Coffee was a pivotal point of my life, my first year in college, having many freedoms, the shops and baristas were there through the good and the bad. Coffee has also given me some pretty cool aspirations; in my opinion, a whole lot better than not doing anything productive with my time. I'm looking into how I can work as a Barista. I had received enough money in Coffee Ethic credit for Christmas to buy some pour-over hardware and my family has been really supportive (why wouldn't they? I keep making them coffee XD).