Coffee Rhetoric: Coffee
Showing posts with label Coffee. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Coffee. Show all posts

March 17, 2015

Dark Roast, Flat White … Race 101? Why Starbucks’ #RaceTogether Campaign Lacks Steam

If there’s anything I love swilling more than red wine and vodka, it’s coffee. A delicious, highly-caffeinated, bold, dark, unflavored and unsweetened with just a splash of creamer cup of coffee. Frequently, I’ll amble into the nearest Starbucks… a place I have an ‘it’s aight, I guess’/ hate relationship with, to get my fix.

But now that Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has rolled out a new campaign called #RaceTogether—an initiative that’s meant to encourage dialogue about race between baristas and customers—I can now tack on ‘thoroughly amused yet perplexed’ to my feelings about the coffee chain.

While I recognize that Shultz shamelessly and openly expresses progressive ideas about equality, appreciate his willingness to 'go there' with shareholders and consideration for employees, understand the sentiment behind ‘Race Together,’ and get that employees’ personal stories, anti-racism and anti-police violence protests are what prompted this effort, Starbucks would be doing the national discourse on race and inequality an even bigger solid if they examined whether they, themselves, pass muster when it comes to diversity and race among their corporate staff, as opposed to launching a public, jingle-filled campaign their busy baristas are expected to broach in-between making frappuccinos and soy lattes. Particularly since Starbucks serves as something of an emblem for gentrification and high real estate prices.  

July 26, 2012

These and Those: Coffee Jerks

Anyone who knows me knows that I am serious about my coffee consumption. I'm pretty straightforward and have zero use for tepid, weak "struggle coffee" or designer blends. When I go to a coffee house or chain, I don't my order doesn't involve a lengthy list of incidentals. In fact, standing behind someone who orders a: small but tall mochaccinoshino with skim milk, lightly steamed, with a splish-splash of syrup, whipped cream, with a cherry on top and not too hot-- or whatever it is they're ordering-- has to be one of the most daunting experiences to have to endure, when all I want is an over-sized dark roast, Caffè macchiato, or Coffee of The Day.   

When I frolicked in Sicily, one of my most memorable experiences was ordering coffee there. The Italians are no frills, and have little patience for foolery, stunts, and shows when it comes to food and especially when it comes to their coffee. You go to Italy getting the coffee game twisted, and they’ll shade you out of the café, they take coffee-culture that seriously.  You order it how they do, in the variations they offer, and when they do. There is no such thing as a “frappucino”… you order un caffè (corretto if you’re nasty) enjoy it, and then go on about your business.  

People who wave a Dunkin Donuts, coffee flavored Coolatta at me, thinking they’re showing off their coffee-drinking prowess, can step… I’m not impressed. All of this is to say; I don’t play when it comes to coffee drinking. Going a full day without having its hot, robust deliciousness in my system, throws me off and causes me to feel all discombobulated and become somewhat nasty.  I go back and forth with folks on Facebook about my love of coffee-culture and I get ribbed a little bit for it; but the men in the following video display how they are not to be toyed with when it comes to their coffee, and flex their alpha-male privilege to show their disdain for "struggle-coffee". 
In this short compilation of chauvinistic, but still amusing, 1950’s and 60’s era coffee commercial clips taken from the Prelinger archives and edited down to the jerk-minimum, husbands condescend to and disparage their clueless wives for their poor coffee-making skills…  

May 06, 2012

Coffee Rhetoric... Literally


Last week, I was (surprisingly) asked to weigh-in on the Colin McEnroe show about the Keurig (aka K-Cup) machine. Colin McEnroe sought to deconstruct the growing popularity of the machine and any social and/or financial impact it may (or may not?) have the cult of personality... specifically, those of us who are coffee fanatics and/or purists. Surprisingly enough, the topic of the show generated a lot of callers and there were several other guests who were champing at the bit, to chime in about the coffee pods and how they soil the wonderfulness of coffee... not to mention the impact the tiny plastic pod-cups have on the environment.

I didn't get to say too much or even everything I intended to, but received an email from a friend who'd listened in and opined that us coffee lot were "scary". One commenter on the show's website went further and wrote...
I have often suspected that certain members of the Colin McEnroe show are members of the Socialist party which is alive and well in this country. Today my suspicions were proven true through the coded content of your K-Cup show. Much like Spencer Bachus who at any moment can out certain Democrats in congress for their ties to communism, I could go public with my suspicions and demand that birth certificate be produced. I mean come on, what kind of liberal Pinko world we live in where we all have to share from the same pot like we are living in a sunshine [sic] day dream yippie hippie Grateful Dead world. America is about freedom and choices and forcing me to drink the same kind of coffee as my neighbor brings me back to the Cold War 80's. I remember hearing the horror stories from Russia-toilet paper lines out the door for one kind of government issued, scratchy inferior roll. I saw the movie 'Red Dawn' enough to know where this Socialist rhetoric will take us.
I refuse to be taken in by your entertaining and seemingly innocent show about K-Cups. What's next- a war on Quilted Northern and call for deposits on soda cans, incentive at grocery stores for bringing in canvas bags? No sir I'm not drinking your Socialist red Kool-Aid because I believe in a system of freedom, liberty and the rights to make choices (as long as my choices are limited to coffee and toilet paper-reproductive and marital rights are best left to government mandates). 
Umm, okay (weirdo have several seats blank stare). In any event, I wanted to convey that these days, I alternate between using a Keurig machine and my French Press… and I have an affinity for the latter. I’m not keen on artificially flavored coffee nor do I begrudge anyone’s right to drink it (I may chide you a bit though). My coffee preferences usually fall within the realm of: dark roasts (Italian and French), Sumatra blend, medium roast, Cuban, Puerto Rican, Ethiopian and coffee ground blends of the like. I take my coffee with just a splash of cream, thank you very much. Needless to say I straddle the fence. I enjoy the ritual coffee brewing and pressing allows. I do realize that Keurig machines afford people who don’t have a lot of time to waste using an espresso machine or waiting for their coffee to brew, an opportunity to literally fly out the door as they grab their travel mug on the way. I also get that corporations probably favor the Keurig machine and are investing in them, because they’ve probably surmised that it’d cut down on outside coffee breaks and chatter around the coffee pot, as employees wait for a fresh pot to brew. Either way, I’m not the only one who’s passionate about her coffee.  I’m not a member of the Socialist party as the one commenter (with an apparent axe to grind against Colin McEnroe) suggested. I just prefer a perfect (or damn near perfect), robust, no-frills cup of coffee minus the sweet, syrupy bells and whistles; while welcoming the pomp and circumstance that goes into making a cup.

If you’d like to hear me fumble my way through this great, First-World debate… check out the podcast of the show: “Keurig Coffee: Revolutionary Invention or Environmental Scourge?


February 03, 2012

Coffee Girl

If you're a coffee addict connoisseur, like me; this is definitely how you should order your cup of joe the next time you go to your nearest coffee spot. Any other way just shouldn't suffice.




January 27, 2011

These and Those: Winter Whinge

Things are moving forward... Life has given me a much needed break and decided to jabbing at me with low blows and sucker punches. We're working in-tandem. Me and life, life and me... Slowly moving in a similar direction, and this pleases me. The way the east coast is getting slammed with back-to-back snowstorms isn't very pleasurable, however. Everything can't sync ... and I'm okay with that... but it's downright depressing. Perhaps the sky has parted, dumping massive amounts of snow in the northeast pto signal the fact that the universe is aligned with my chi? Yes, I'm that self-important. My delusions of grandeur knows no bounds. 
In all seriousness, I've been busy... and busy is always a good thing. I'm hoping to be in the thick of things once spring rolls around. The spring will find me able to move freely down the street without experiencing the tension of hunching my shoulders and back against the cold, frigid air, as I take giant strides over massive snow banks, slush ridden puddles, and patches of black ice. My joints won't feel as stiff, my hair and skin won't shy away from its usual suppleness... spring ... spring... SPRING... I'm looking forward to it. My blogger gig at with the Hartford based theater group has bled into a PR/Marketing position that I hope not to flub. This is a balancing act I'm glad to juggle. The blogging aspect of it is going really well... the reception has been good. 
In the meantime, I've many other things I need to rant about.  A lot of ratched-ness (read: wretchedness) is unfolding in my midst... things that're 'SMDH' worthy... Stay tuned... Oh yes, and if you feel so inclined, please join the Coffee Rhetoric fan page on Facebook. I need to justify not deleting it and to help compensate for the flaky one or two who drop in and out of that particular social networking circle, like selfish lovers. That is all. ;-)
P.S. in a crazy test of my sanity and karma, I battled against the rage of the snowstorm yesterday... bloated, and weighed down further w/ my lovely, giant Sri Lankan handbag/case I feel compelled to stuff to capacity and lug around, and an umbrella in my quest towards CVS Pharmacy for tampons, Motrin, and other female-like provisions. Imagine my surprise when I found that I did not have my wallet in my purse. Despite the frosty air, I broke out into a sweat. Suddenly my coat and scarf began to constrict my breathing... I stumbled outside, fighting the elements, and made my way back down the street to re-trace my steps. ... I felt hotter... and so was about to cut my loss... The heat of my stress was almost too unbearable and I just wanted to go home out of the blizzard... but I needed the means to purchase armor against my impending, monthly doom. I could feel the pressure of its inevitable arrival on the cusp of cumming... What the hell would I use?? I pressed on and saw the free, downtown Star Shuttle rumbling up the street... The last place I pulled it out at clicked, and I flagged it down. I explained to the driver that I'd lost my wallet, and that it may very well be on his shuttle, and politely asked if I could run on and look... and look I did... There it lay in all its grand purple Coach-ness... on the seat I'd vacated moments prior... unscathed, untouched, un-ransacked... Thank you Karma... Now THAT.is.all...  

April 11, 2009

Lazy Bones Jones

I am in desperate need of coffee. It's about 10:18AM and I've yet to peel myself off the chaise lounger (it's so comfy) to go make some. I'll shift or move a little bit, to no avail. I end up laying back down. How am I typing this? I have the laptop next to me, resting comfortably on a lazy leopard print floor pillow, sillies. These lazy days are so divine, except, they can be a little bit of a nuisance, when you need to actually get up to do or prepare something.
Totally inane, I know, but these things matter to me. Coffee is a large part of my existence. Which is why I should get up and go make some ... Maybe I'll make an omelet while I'm there. ... Being lazy is hard work if you're luxuriating properly.

December 06, 2008

Gene's Coffee

Overheard Friday morning, while I was standing in line at Dunkin Donuts for breakfast and coffee...
Random, middle-aged White woman (standing in front of me, in line, talking to an older white man standing next to her): Gene asked me to get his coffee for him, I forgot to ask him how he takes it.
Random woman yells across at someone standing a few feet away, to my left.
Random woman: I am picking up a coffee for Gene! I forgot to ask him how he takes it! Do you know how he drinks his coffee?!
Man's voice yells: He takes it just like he takes his women! Black! The woman grows silent, and faces forward.
I smirked and frowned at the same time. I refused to turn to see where it came from, however. I felt like me snapping my head to the left was almost expected. I didn't feed into it.

February 24, 2008

Coffee Rhetoric

Recently, I read an interesting and eloquently written article in the New York Times, penned by Judith Warner. She drew a stellar correlation between coffee and significant childhood memories, and transported readers back with nostalgic, coffee-related flashbacks. Everyone who has ever read this blog pretty much knows how much I adore the stuff. It's more than a simple addiction to caffeine. The smell, the look, the body, the richness of a dark roast, it's rich history... everything about coffee also stirs certain feelings and memories within me. I remember my mother brewing pot and then making a perfect mug full, warning me not to touch it before setting it on the table to settle just a bit. Of course I never listened for I always indulged in just a sip when she left the room. When I think of coffee, I'm reminded of how, at the precocious age of 13, excited I was to be skipping to the cafe downtown to indulge in a cup. I, a fledgling hipster, drawing the disgusted gasps of my classmates as they exclaimed, "Ew, you drink coffee? Yuck!" And how grownup I felt when I ordered an espresso or a mocha... eventually graduating to a Mocha Kiss (a concoction of coffee, chocolate, and Khalua liqueur)by the time I'd entered high school. Never having been carded.
Every now and again, I would coerce a friend to join me in my afterschool cafe jaunts, growing annoyed if they scoffed at the cafe culture and didn't act mature enough in said company. Despite the on again-off-again declarations made by experts, citing coffee as being bad for one's health, it never and still doesn't phase me.
There's a certain sophistication about coffee drinking. Of sitting across from a friend or loved one steam rising from cups, as you play catch up, engage in gossip, or just simply enjoy one another's company. The comfort of sitting in a coffee house people gazing, dreaming wide awake, lost in thought. There is definitely something about the coffee culture that prompts people to slow down. I remember being in Sicily and noticing the absence of take away cups. Patrons simply stood at the bar en route to work or some place else, downing their espressos and being in that moment. Using those few minutes to exchange pleasantries or catch up with the latest.
I can't fathom not drinking coffee. It has always played a significant part in who I am. It helps define my personality. More importantly, it sets the tone for the rest of the day or it makes it easier to cope, anyway. Perhaps this is why diners offer copious amounts of free refills and banks and most offices offer free, limitless cups of freshly brewed coffee to its patrons and co-workers.

June 28, 2007

The Hazy Dayz of Summer...

Summer is definitely upon us. After having stayed indoors at work yesterday, in the frigid air conditioning, I finally decided to step outside. Big mistake. The air quality was pretty bad. It felt like an oven. 'Tis the case with summer. I think I'd much rather gasp for breath in the thick, humid New England air than trudge down the street in snow and ice, ruining a perfectly good pair of boots. A humid summer is the lesser of the two evils. Hazy summer days mean tasty, cold, icy drinks. I came across an article in the New York Times Dining In section, touting the joys of iced coffee. I don't generally make iced coffee at home, I usually just drink it hot and grab an iced coffee on the fly from a coffee shop, if I need to whet my appetite with one. Whenever I try to ice my coffee at home, I'm met with less than stellar results. Me being the impatient person I am, I try to get to icing shortly after having brewed a pot by using a trick I learned per Martha Stewart, using a spoon. Positioned at an angle in the glass, the spoon is supposed to deflect the heat away from the ice cubes, so that they don't melt right away. Fat chance. Either way, after having read the New York Times article, I discovered that there actually is a such thing called an iced coffee brewer. Who knew? I didn't. Apparently the journalist (Cindy Price) who penned the article didn't either. I seem to learn something new about food and drink every week. In any event, one could purchase an iced coffee brewer for about 30 dollars... if one were interested in having one. The one in the pic at the right costs a grip. A simpler method would be the following... **Side Note** I'm partial to Vietnamese iced coffee myself, which uses sweetened condensed milk (There is also a such thing as a Vietnamese coffee kit, by the way). I recommend using a nice, robust coffee to ice.

1/3 cup ground coffee (medium-coarse grind is best) Milk (optional).

1. In a jar, stir together coffee and 1 1/2 cups water. Cover and let rest at room temperature overnight or 12 hours.

2. Strain twice through a coffee filter, a fine-mesh sieve or a sieve lined with cheesecloth. In a tall glass filled with ice, mix equal parts coffee concentrate and water, or to taste. If desired, add milk.

Yield: Two drinks.

March 01, 2007

It's Caffeine Awareness Month!

"All these people are quite base, of low costume and very little industry, such that for the most part they spend their time sunk in idleness. Thus they continually sit about, and for entertainment they are in the habit of drinking in public, in shops and in the streets- black liquid, boiling [as hot] as they can stand it, which is extracted from a seed they call Cavee... and it is said to have the property of keep a man awake." Francisco Morosini, ca. 1585
If you've been reading this blog for a good spell, Then you all know how I feel about coffee. The smell... that robust taste... the intensity of a nice, strong, bean... I love it equally as much as I enjoy a nice, robust glass of red wine. Today is the beginning of Caffeine Awareness month. Caffeine is a stimulant found in a number of things, I realize, but I don't drink sody pop... I do consume large amounts of chocolate and coffee though... and so will dedicate this post to the powerhouse beverage, whose bean tastes even better, dipped in dark chocolate.
I'd like to espouse this month by offering a few ways to further enjoy the ... joys of coffee.
Interesting reads: Coffee and Coffee Houses by Ulla Heis
Cafe Nation (my personal favorite): Coffee Folklore, Magick, and Divination by Sandra Mizumoto Posey
Captivating (and underrated) brews: Cafe Bustelo
Chock Full o'Nuts
Take a drag (if you feel inclined to do so, socially): Djarum Black, Cappuccino
Slather on: Bonnie Bell's Lip Lites in Metallic Mocha, Mocha Mousse, Cappuccino, Caramel Latte, etc...
Bathe your naughty bits BodyCoffee Energizing Bar Even though it smells minty and feels tingly, it's made with coffee grounds and coffee extract. It's great for the skin and it feels good.
I saved the best for last: Chocolate covered coffee beans.

September 23, 2006

The coffeehouse, up the street and around the corner...

More of the banal...
Yes, patrons stared at me when I staged and then snapped this photo... yes, I'm a little strange er, quirky. ...
... At least no one stares when I take photos in the privacy of my own living space, or perhaps they do and I don't realize it...