Can I start by saying that I love the way we talk about coffee here. I love reading about Wakenot's experimentation in search of perfect coffee, Scott's humorous coffee reccommendations for candidates, Josh's random coffee thoughts and info, Eric's impressive and unpretentious info-filled posts -- all of it. I love the knowledge, the sense of experimentation, the sharing, the personal stories -- I love it. But every once in a while, I read something about coffee that is so filled with soul, it brings tears to my eyes.
This morning, I did. Take a few minutes out of your morning, sit down somewhere comfortable -- and preferably private -- and go read George Sarris' Coffee Memories column in yesterday's Birmingham Weekly. Let me tease you with a few quotes...
To make the best coffee, according to an article in The New York Times, you need “brass-trimmed halogen heating elements.” You need a “siphon bar” and “kinetic energy.” What a crock of coffee grounds.
My coffee does not come in 8700 different varieties as one of the
biggest coffee shops proclaim on their website. My coffee comes with
8700 varieties of emotions; from exhilarating happiness to deepest
sorrows and with 8700 hours with pure conversation and friendly arguing
about politics, religion and any other non polite idea.
Coffee has the same meaning as love in a marriage, as the blood of family, as the communion between two long lost friends, the peace pipe of the American Indians, the soothing of lost loves and relationships.
The coffee of a morning in Sicily with Sergio at the Central Highlands, as we tried for a couple hours to communicate with my five words of Italian, his five words of Greek and six words of English. The coffee brought out his generosity, friendliness, his spirit as big as all of Italy.
Coffee was served in an Istanbul bazaar from a shop owner of handmade shawls after I told him I was Greek. The coffee was the heal of the relationship of two citizens of countries which have been at war for close to 1000 years.
There's more. It's less than a thousand words, give or take a few, and will take about five minutes to read -- but it will stay with you all day, or longer. it transcends the talk of the right temperature, the perfect grind, the delicate balance of flavors, great equipment, the joy of roasting your own... all of that pales beside this simple, honest essay about the soul of coffee -- what it is, what it does and why we love it.
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