In January of last year, I wrote a short essay acknowledging my addiction to coffee. In that piece, I mentioned that various heart mechanics have pooled their knowledge and suggested that coffee, in any measureable quantity, is not in the best interest of folks who have a shaky motherboard in their heart’s hard drive. Imagine my euphoria when I opened the latest edition of the Harvard Heart Letter and read where a number of recent studies indicate that coffee in moderation is not the evil elixir that is all but banned by cardiologists who all have coffee on their breath when they lean in for a good listen to your heart. We need to get serious about this popular beverage……really serious.
The founders of Starbucks, folks with the colorful names Baldwin, Siegl, and Bowker, are the clever guys who started this wildly successful business back in 1971, just about the time I began earning my vast fortune as a Highway Patrolman. A fellow named Schultz, with marketing skills that would shame P.T. Barnum, has managed to turn Starbucks into a vast coffee empire that is often emulated, but never matched. This great enterprise had it’s beginning in Seattle, presumably as a result of the incessant rain there, forcing folks to suffer quietly, indoors, with a cup of coffee to keep depression at bay. How well has Mr. Schultz done, you may ask? The answer is simple; revenue in 2015 was 19.6 billion, with the number of locations as of November, 2016 at 23,768 and growing. Mr. Schultz has managed to magically transform your mother’s can of Maxwell House or Folgers Premium Drip Grind coffee into various, flavorful elixirs going for around five bucks a cup…..and the world is lining up, two deep, to pay this outrageous price for a single cup of his brew. I confess, we have an app that allows us to flash our phone at a colorful little box sitting between us and the barista and debit an account that reloads as needed to make sure we support Mr. Schultz’ enterprise. Folks, when your coffee expenditures exceed your gasoline expenditures each month, it is time to rethink your priorities. Cue the creative use of the pod coffee maker and home espresso machine.
My admiration for Mr. Schultz’ marketing skill has recently been tempered by his foray into the world of social engineering. The retail establishments that I frequent are not selected on a social or sexual preference basis. If the product is good, the pricing fair and the location convenient, I likely will trade there, and gladly stand in line with folks who may or may not share my generally privately held views on such matters as same sex marriage. How folks choose to live their lives is of no interest to me when I am buying a cup of coffee, and I believe Mr. Schultz’ recent ramblings suggesting that folks who embrace only traditional marriage are not welcome is a marketing mistake. I choose my coffees, sir and I choose to associate with whom I please. You embrace refugees, I embrace veterans. My limited resources will always support the needs of our veterans over the needs of refugees.
To this end, Sharon and I have embarked on a home based crusade to expand our skills in the brewing of a really good cup of coffee for somewhere between two bits and a buck. We have carefully perused the unbelievable variety of coffees available through internet sales, and have amassed quite a collection of both pod coffees and bags of coffee, all of which can be brewed in our pod machine. A few years back, we acquired an expresso machine and have begun experimenting with it, the results of which have been surprisingly good. Among our favorites are coffees such as Black Rifle, a company started by an Afghanistan combat veteran, Victory coffee, developed by a Navy Seal, and our particular favorite, Mystic Monk Coffee, developed by a group of Carmelite Monks who reside in a monastery in Wyoming. Just opening a shipment of Mystic Monk Coffee is a spiritual experience…….the aroma will ease your mind and calm your soul. I am hopelessly addicted to vanilla, in all it’s forms, and really enjoy the Vanilla Nut Medium Blend coffee, an organic grind from The Bean, another on-line coffee company. Like an addict who uses clean needles, we prefer coconut milk in our expressos, somehow assuaging any remaining angst over our addiction.
Just as Henry Ford could not imagine the plethora of automobiles available to people today, the Ethiopians in the 10th century could not have imagined what they were introducing to society when they first boiled coffee beans and drank the elixir that resulted. As for me, I am finishing this piece with a steaming cup of Mystic Monks, Royal Pecan Rum coffee laced with a jigger of Baileys Irish Cream. My hat is off to the Ethiopians and pulled down tight as I walk by the next Starbucks, secure in the knowledge the Monks or veterans are going to see to it that I enjoy my next cup of their best coffee…….super coffee! When you are around, feel free to drop in to the Yellow Dog coffee Company, and enjoy a cup of super coffee on me……you won’t need an app and the company is good.