THE RITUAL OF COFFEE DRINKING is very particular to a culture. Argentinians and Italians down their espresso standing up at tall tables in a three-minute pit stop. Colombians drink small cups of sugar with some strong coffee, no milk. Australians don’t like coffee because the weather is too hot. The English confuse everyone by drinking mainly tea, all day, every day.
AMERICANS PRACTICALLY WAKE UP with the stuff. If it were socially accepted to have an espresso machine by your bedside, Americans would do so without hesitation. Breakfast is usually accompanied by vast amounts of weak, black drip and on the way to work, the coffee joins. People show up at the office holding another dosage — about 0.4 liters of it — often containing milk, sugar and vanilla, hazelnut or some other odd flavor like pumpkin spice. The Americans have managed to turn takeout cups into a fashion item. There are ceramic and steel cups that look like takeout cups. You can even get designer cup rings (you know, those cardboard sleeves). Then, at 2pm about 90% of America will suddenly, collectively stop drinking coffee or else they won’t be able to sleep.
THE DUTCH DRINK TEA or milk with breakfast and wake up by riding their bicycles. Coffee is a social occasion, happening at exactly 10:30am and again at 3:30pm, accompanied by one cookie or a chocolate. All retail store personnel will be unable to assist you at coffee time, sparking a friend of mine to say “If anyone would want to take over the country, they could do so without resistance at 10:30am or 3:30pm.” Some people like to have one more coffee after dinner, which is usually mixed with heaps of milk and sugar. I’m unsure how they manage to sleep, but they obviously do.
There is not one way to appreciate coffee, but one interesting fact is that millennials have tripled the global demand for coffee. I’m sure developing economies don’t mind. However, the disappearing forests might beg to differ.
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