Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Quick Quip

Quick Quip Friday, June 27, 2008

I don't know how people live without coffee, I really don't.

Martha Quinn
Most American think they have a divine right to a cup of coffee in the morning and at certain times during the day. Ironically, coffee beans only grow near the Equator. So coffee is not an American product. There is only one state in our nation where they grow. If you want the true, red, white and blue American brew you have to go to Hawaii. Of course, there may be other benefits to doing that. I don't know, I've never been there.

We have the Muslims to thank for our coffee. It was first discovered in Ethiopia in the 9th Century. Some curious Arab pried open a pod and found two beans inside. He sniffed, tasted and decided it was good. Coffee spread throughout the Muslim world quickly. And eventually reached Europe. The Europeans brought it over here with them but, alas, it wouldn't grow in stubborn North American soil. As a result all of our coffee is imported, from Africa and South America.

Coffee houses were the rage when I was in school. You could order fancy things like cafe au'lait, mokka mit schlag, espresso, cappucino and feel very sophisticated and upper class. My friends and I favored the Mozart Cafe in Harvard Square where every time we entered we caused a sensation. (But that's another story.)

Today you can go into Starbucks, pay way too much money for a well ground and cooked cup of large coffee which you get in a cardboard or styrofoam cup. Be careful taking off the lid, you might scald yourself. Milk and sugar is on the side. You have to serve yourself and clean up after yourself. How's that for class?

One day I was on my way to a recording session and I wanted a cup to lubricate my vocal chords. I stopped in a place and asked for a coffee to go. They pointed at a row of urns with various titles; maple, nutmeg, mocha, blueberry, I don't know. I turned and walked out. I found the Greek place. I was in and out in 3 minutes. If you want a coffee, without all the fashion frills, find the Greeks or the Arabs. They know from coffee.

Think happy thoughts about old friends as I just did.

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