Coffee Aesthetics 101 ~ BitterSweetLife

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Coffee Aesthetics 101

On the elevator ride down to the parking lot this morning, I was happy to notice that one of the two other passengers shared my appreciation for Coffee Aesthetics. She was holding a mug of steaming coffee, as was I. I gave her mug a subtle once-over--not bad. Not as flat-out gorgeous as my mug--a ceramic clay-brown glaze. But then, not many are. The important thing was that she, too, Understood.

Drinking delicious, bittersweet coffee out of a Styrofoam cup is a travesty. And using a thermos, while justifiable, fails to apprehend the full sensory experience that is available. For the real connoisseur, there is only one way. Great coffee is best sipped from a great mug--preferably one fired in a kiln with a couple different colors sworled together in a joyous embrace. As well, the mug's handle should be roomy, allowing for a full-fingered grip...

"Do you drink your coffee from mugs while you're driving?" asked the third passenger in the elevator. He was coffee-less but appreciative. "Isn't that hard? Or are you just that good?"

I'm just going down to the first floor," said the woman. The fact that she was wearing a terry cloth bath robe could have been considered a give-away.

"And I really am that good," I offered helpfully. For a moment, enthusiasm welled up, and I was on the verge of explaining Coffee Aesthetics to the inquirer. But then, we were almost on the ground level. "Actually," I said, "the key is to drink half your coffee before you start driving." I didn't explain that the other half was then intended to be enjoyed leisurely on the drive to school. Or how you can do finger exercises to develop the dexterity needed to shift gears while holding a mug.

As Socrates always tried to explain when he discussed coffee with his pupils: The most important truths have to be internalized gradually, absorbed. You ask a question, I answer, then give my own query. We dialogue--the subject deserves it. Understanding comes in time. As with, say, Greek or Barthian theology, you can't rush an education in Coffee Aesthetics. I, of course, will do what I can to help you on your way.

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Bigsibling said...

I love your post. It is so difficult to get some people to see what it is about coffee that makes life so...well...worth living!

John B. said...

This is really funny, Ariel. Sneaky and sly.

Next up: a meditation on steam and froth?

Tim said...

I too prefer to use a regular mug whenever I can; I think I enjoy exercising the necessary talent it takes to drive without spilling a precious drop. Obviously the stakes are high--you could grievously burn yourself, or worse, end up spilling the sacred beverage. Naturally the reward is more than worth such risks and with practice the risk declines.

Widsith said...

A couple thoughts: 1) I share your views on sipping any type of hot drink from a Styrofoam cup. 2) I too check out my classmates' and co-workers' coffee/travel mugs. What's more, I've received complements on mine, some instances even resulting in temporary lending agreements!

- MrsC

Will Robison said...

I had no idea Socrates was able to drive while drinking coffee. You learn something new everyday.


Culture. Photos. Life's nagging questions. - BitterSweetLife