Today's post is the last in a three-part series on coffee. Monday's post investigated how coffee came to be such an integral part of everyday life. Wednesday's post provided a history of the coffee bean's travels around the globe. And today's discussion considers the social place of coffee in our lives. Be sure to go back and read the others if you've missed them!
Happy Friday, folks. If you're on the East coast, I tried to time this post with your morning coffee—as I'm sure that many of you are just settling into your work day with your morning cup of java. And the truth is that you wouldn't be alone—the morning cup of coffee has become a regular ritual for many folks, who may believe they can't get started on the day's tasks without it. (Or they can, but prefer not to, and we'll get to why in a moment.) Coffee has attained tremendous importance among workers. Sidney Mintz, a renowned anthropologist who has written extensively about food, included it in a list for "proletarian hunger killers," which also includes sugar, tea, and chocolate (1979). Coffee is important to capitalism in many ways: it has spurred trade and the exchange of ideas, and like spices and other commodities, has served as leverage for controlling powers through the ages. It's a part of a larger global conversation, but have you stopped to consider it's role in your life? Yes, you've been told that there is a brand of coffee for you, but that still doesn't explain why you may buy it or why you permit yourself the indulgence of caffeine. Bring your coffee with you and let's peel back the layers a bit.