Before you put milk in that cup of coffee...
There was a point where I didn’t understand the value of each coffee bean. I didn’t think about (or know) the fact that each bean came hand-picked from a farm hundreds of miles away and may be a group of people’s main economical resource and livelihood. It’s a heavy thought to sit with at any point in the day, especially when you just wake up groggy, vulnerable, and oblivious to most (or all) of your surroundings (depending on how hard you partied the night before).
Without being too existential, let me state that we cannot escape these surroundings. Whether we are aware of them or not, they are there (well, maybe not… but you can find books on that, I’m no philosopher, I just roast coffee). In the wee hours of the Booskerdoo morning, we find ourselves, Baristi and customers alike, creatures of comfortable and satisfying habits. However, we may be losing something very important and stimulating in our morning rituals. We want ‘good days,’ right? So, let’s set ourselves up for them, bright and early.
Let’s challenge the daily perception of morning fogginess with a bit more attention to our surroundings...
You’re in line for your daily 12oz coffee. You spend $1.75. You’ve watched the dry grounds bloom into a beautiful water-filled dome of coffee aromatics and goodness. Already, the beans have gone through such a process, years of tree growth, labor (the hand-picking), mile upon mile of travel across mountains and oceans (it sounds cheesy, but it’s true), an attentive eye and hand of a roaster, and finally to this very barista dripping it in front of you.
The coffee has been brewed. No matter the bean’s origin, the coffee grower’s geographical elevation, or the roaster’s choice of how to cook it... you don’t have to care. You are surrounded by coffee professionals at Booskerdoo; the coffee is black, the cup is hot, and all signs point to “DEEEEE-LICIOUS.”
You take a sip and taste some acidity, some bitterness, and you’re not entirely sure you like what’s going on in your mouth (but hey, it’s coffee). You take another sip, the waters have been tested, it’s not as harsh as the first sip, and you start to grasp what parts of your taste buds are being awakened (still weird, still want milk, but let’s power through this). After a minute and a half of little tastes, the coffee is cooling. You take a swill of this lower temp brew and you notice something strang
“Lemon? Citrus? What is that flavor?!”
You can’t quite put your finger on it, but you are thinking. (Thinking? WHAT?! IT’S 6:30AM AND YOU’RE THINKING.) You have gracefully slipped out of the zombified gaze of the pre-sunrise/post-alarm clock blues...
You say, “Excuse me, barista. What is this flavor I’m tasting?” [http://www.acornadvisors.com/2009_KNews/09-04-23_Mushrooms/images/Tongue_Map.jpg]
The Barista replies, “It’s E3-opia, a blend of Ethiopian coffees. That region of Africa is known for it’s bright, citrus-like coffee.”
Could you have tasted the “complexities” that all these coffee snobs talk about AND enjoyed it?! The answer is YES. With even lesser physical effort of omitting the act of pouring a dairy product into your beverage, you find yourself learning, stimulated, and caffeinated right at the beginning of your daily routine. You are handed your cup and are already promised an experience of the culinary, scientific, and intellectual.
ALRIGHT...you may NOW put your milk in your coffee.