I woke up bleary eyed, frizzy haired, and fuzzy brained this morning to my usual morning routine. Twenty minute walk. Apple for breakfast. Hold conversations with my son and husband that I don’t remember ten minutes later. Kiss my husband goodbye. Go make a pot of coffee.
While making said pot of coffee, long before my brain woke up, an idea came to me. After struggling with a blog topic for my post all week it occurred to me that coffee is so entrenched in American culture, why not write a quick post about it? While the coffee culture may not have begun in the United States, we Americans adopted it and made it our own.
Coffee has been around as long as I can remember. While my parents didn’t drink it, I have fond memories of visiting my grandparents and hearing the soothing gurgle of their coffee maker in the early morning hours. I didn’t like coffee as a child, but it became central to my social and educational survival in college. So I decided to do a quick bit of research into our coffee culture and history.
I began with a quick Google search for American coffee culture and history. My first stop was at Smithsonian.com where a short clip, History of Coffee Culture in America, provided a brief overview of the evolution of coffee from vacuum-sealed instant coffee after WWII to the domain of connoisseurs today. The next stop was an article by Brian Clark Howard at National Geographic, How Coffee Changed America , that spoke about the social and economic impact of coffee today. The infographic that accompanied the article appeared more interesting, but unfortunately I couldn’t enlarge it enough to read it.
The most interesting article came from The History Kitchen on PBS that provided a quick overview of The Caffeinated History of Coffee. Apparently our modern version of roasted coffee began in Arabia, spread to India, and made its way to Europe. The Dutch grew the beans in Sri Lanka while the French began growing coffee in the Carribean and the Spanish in Central America. Coffee houses first appeared in Italy and migrated to France where it has become a Parisian cultural icon. In the United States coffee use took root after the Boston Tea Party forced Americans to drink something other than tea. Interest in specialty coffee began in the 1960s leading to the birth of Starbucks in 1971. Today you can hear coffee enthusiasts discussing the subtle flavors and smells of coffee in much the same way wine enthusiasts discuss wine.
If you want to learn How to be a Coffee Connoisseur, feel free to visit this web page by Kelsi Krieger. As for me, I like my coffee simple. A Cafe Mocha at Starbucks is a special treat, but mostly I drink my coffee black–hold the sugar and cream.