Starbucks and, of course, the web have brought us all buzz all the time. Even McDonald’s – with billions of burgers served – must be anxiously contemplating the day that more Americans choose coffee and oatmeal for breakfast. If Americans aren’t drinking coffee, they’re shopping for coffee, brewing coffee, talking about coffee, or watching coffee commercials. We relish coffee cake, spoon up coffee ice cream, slurp mocha milk shakes, sip coffee liqueurs, and savor coffee candies.
Whatever happened to percolation? This decorous and melodious form of animation provided us with an enthusiastic rather than an edgy start to each day. Sure, it was likely bland, slightly stale, ground, canned coffee burbling, but its aroma was still fragrant and powerful. Consumed at the table in a bone china tea cup or a pottery mug and accompanied by the rattle of newspaper, the chatter of children, or the quiet contentment of adult loved ones, it was a lovely and homely ritual. Refreshment was due more to the warmth of family, kitchen, and beverage than to ample amounts of caffeine.
There were no stainless steel to-go mugs and automobile cup holders. Repeated infusions of caffeine weren’t necessary to jumpstart each day. Although its breakfast ritual can’t even spark a reminder of a Japanese tea ceremony, coffee cups have become so ubiquitous in autos, on buses and trains, in television dramas and newscasts, and at public events that they might be deemed accessories. White, squeaky Styrofoam cups of generic, automatically brewed, ground coffee accompany polyester slacks and a spandex t-shirt. Sturdy, creamy white paper cups with corrugated, brown paper sleeves are gripped by manicured nails attached to the wearer of designer jeans and a hand knit sweater. Of course, the beverage is Columbian or French Roast. Still, fashionable and technical sophistication due to programmable coffee makers, thermal brewers, or espresso machines can’t replace the homey charm of percolated coffee.
© Laura Rizzardini, Inc., 2011