Coffee is one of the world’s most popular beverages. Some claim it is the most widely consumed liquid in the world aside from water.
Coffee is more than a beverage, however. It is a memory, an anticipation, a lifetime of consoling moments of modest pleasure woven into our lives.
Coffee’s success as a beverage undoubtedly is owing both to the caffeine it harbors and to its sensory pleasure. Coffee lovers come to associate the energizing lift of the caffeine with the richness and aroma of the beverage that delivers it.
Coffee is produced from the seeds of a small red (sometimes yellow) fruit that grows on plants halfway in size between shrub and tree. The process that turns these seeds into beverage is a long and complex process, perhaps the most complex process associated with any major beverage.
It is also a very labor intensive process involving a vast intercontinental collaboration that starts with the coffee grower, moves from there to the picker, then to the mill workers who meticulously remove the fruit and dry the beans, then to those who clean and grade the beans, to those who roast them, to those consumers and baristas who finally grind the beans and prepare the beverage. Every act along the way can be performed either with passion and precision or with careless shoddiness. It is the cumulative quality of all of these creative contributions that together make the difference between a lackluster cup and a fine and distinctive one.