Coffee’s a wonderful thing. It brings people together. Rich or poor, black or white, smart or stupid, straight or gay, homed or homeless, it doesn’t matter when it comes to talking about the special feelings we all share about coffee.
Coffee can be so much fun. When I first started drinking coffee, very few people even knew what coffee was. No one was talking about lattés or flavored syrups. You had it black or maybe with a little milk and you liked it. Even when it started gaining some popularity, I could still have the couple of hundred people that had heard of coffee in my living room for an informal tasting.
Somewhere in there the money started rolling in, and coffee was everywhere. Now I can’t even go to my barber without being offered some watered-down cappuccino, not to mention Starbucks practically force-feeding $5 cups on unsuspecting consumers every 100 feet along the sidewalk.
It’s sad. New and interesting foods are being introduced every day, hungry people are eating them up, and coffee sucks.
I don’t know what it is, but the same thing happened with Cheerios. In their pure form, Cheerios were perfection. Edible, but not so good that they’d ever go mainstream. Then Cheerios got combined with all sorts of flavors that made no sense—honey nuts, fruities, yogurt, Team Cheerios (?!)—but people got excited anyway. Soon everyone wanted to create their own Cheerios alternative, and it was no longer about the cereal but about beating the other guy/girl, and thinly veiling your jealousy and hostility when someone would strike gold by going out on a limb with a winner like Dora the Explorer cereal.
And now it’s happening all over again with coffee. No one cares about the beans anymore. Or about the caffeine content. It’s all about concocting the most outlandish mixture of coffee and candy or coffee and spices or coffee and pasta for God’s sake and then begging pathetically for coverage in CrunchFood or one of the second-tier food blogs.
It may be time to give up coffee for a while and watch the implosion from the sidelines. Maybe switch completely to Kool-Aid. In a few years, things will be beautiful again, and I can invite a couple of thousand people into my new, bigger living room where we can focus, once again, on the Sanka.