I was thinking about coffee this morning as, of course, I sipped a hot cup of my once-daily brew. It seems so odd that there is this stigma around certain beverages in most societies. And even more odd that those stigmas seem to get stronger around the consumption of beverages that take more human energy to produce. One might almost say that there is a direct relationship between the energy of production and the societal negativity.
You may think, perhaps, that coffee is a simple beverage. Au contraire! Think of the effort that goes into growing, importing, selecting, roasting, and grinding beans. Not to mention, we spend monumentous time and effort to build contraptions to heat water so that it can be dripped through a carefully regulated thermal absorption process to extract the perfect level of flavour and balance.
And with this comes the stigma. Karin, for example, will not drink coffee. This, of course, is too bad. It seems like a neat little thing to do, wander over to the cafe on a Saturday morning and share a brew over the newspaper. Idle. Relaxed. But chai tea is much more expensive than a small cup of java, so, we don’t, much.
Same thing goes for beer. The effort involved in growing, roasting, grinding, mixing, blending, fermenting, and filtering results in a glorious selection of flavours and textures. What goes along with that? Societal stigma. I know the alcohol thing contributes a bit. But, really. It often seems that most gals will choose a wine cooler over a Guinness any day. Voila: beer stigma? I think so.
You don’t see that same stigma with tea (dried leaves in hot water), soda (chemical flavours and sugar in cold water), lemonade (fruit extract and ice), or milk (purified bovine excretions). But with the art-ful drinks, those that seem to require a brewmaster or barrista to produce, there exists a calm sort-of resistance. It’s almost as if we’ve been trained to limit our consumption for fear that we’ll run dry. Private reserve? Maybe.