I believe in coffee.
Drinking coffee, making coffee, selling coffee, serving coffee, sharing coffee.
It may not exactly qualify as a belief, but it is a big part of who I am.
The coffee at the Town Tavern in Norman, Oklahoma, in the early 1980’s:
Then, a campus corner diner, 24-hour hangout and I was in college. Those bottomless cups of weak, brown coffee were essential to the pancakes & study groups, the three day round-the-clock-open-mike reading of Moby Dick; the Sunday Night Cake-Eaters Club; the first dates, the double dates, the last dates, no dates. That coffee was always there.
Peet’s Coffee in Berkeley, California: This dark, intense coffee was the first freshly roasted coffee I ever drank. And the consummate coffee house experience here that turned me into a bean freak, regular, “Peetnik” at the store on Fillmore Street. It was a combination of the skills and talents of the staff, the amazing variety of beans, and the smellosphere of the place that was inspiring in the same way that competence in any art, sport, or event I have ever seen. That coffee started my preoccupation with quality coffee.
The Yippee Yi Yo Café in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: My attempt at opening and running a coffee house opened mainly because when I moved back from San Francisco in the early 1990’s, I couldn’t get a decent cup of coffee anywhere without ordering a meal. I imagined there were more people like me who would want this and in 1992 we opened the little coffee shop on NW 47th and Western. What I did not know about this business was the passionate people it would attract. Our roasters, bakers, employees, artists, and customers were the most interesting people. They are the only things I miss about the coffee shop. There are other locally owned, quality conscious coffee houses here now. And, as of this writing, there are 20 Starbucks including Edmond and the Mid-Del area! That still isn’t enough coffee choices.
Fair Trade Certified Coffee: This is the organized, social movement to promote fair prices, labor conditions, and trade to the coffee farmers and farm workers in developing countries around the world. By simply buying coffee with the FairTrade certification label on the bags, we are empowering these farmers to lift themselves out of poverty. I am proud that our local roasters, Prima Café, buy ONLY fair trade coffee and am grateful to attend a church that serves fair trade coffee on Sundays. That is coffee consciousness.
The coffee at Twelve Step Meetings: There is no meeting I’ve ever attended without hot coffee and a can or packets of creamer & sugar, some sort of “coffee kitty” for quarters. The tradition of the cup of coffee and two or more recovering addicts sitting together and talking about how it works for them, brings a comfort to me and millions of others like me. That terrible swill in the Styrofoam cups is the best coffee there is.
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