2002 World Cup England Vs Brazil Line Up The Coffee Culture in the USA

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The Coffee Culture in the USA

It wasn’t until I moved to the US that I started drinking coffee regularly and became what they call a ‘koffieleut’ in the Netherlands, which literally means ‘coffee socialite’. Although the average European drinks more coffee per year than the average American, the cultural significance and its effects on the average European seem to me to be less than on the average American. After all, coffee is a cultural obsession in the United States.

Chains with thousands of branches like Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks dominate daily street life in the US. Especially in the morning (90% of coffee consumed in the US is in the morning), millions of white frothy cups with boldly printed pink and orange logos are swinging through the streets at morning rush hour and on the train. Coffee drive-ins are a lifesaver for the hustling army of helmeted, tattooed construction workers. During their lunch break, men and women in smart business suits dive into the cafes.

Students relax from early afternoon to late evening on comfortable sofas in cafes around campus. Police officers clutched cups of coffee while patrolling construction sites on the highway. In short, you can find coffee lovers almost anywhere in the United States.

This mass psychotic ritual causes Americans to associate Europe primarily with cars that strangely don’t have cup holders (for an American, it’s like selling a car without tires), or with the incredibly tiny cups of coffee that European restaurants serve, so small that my father-in-law he always had to order two cups of coffee. It is my firm belief that the easily agitated and obsessive nature of the ‘New Englander’ can be blamed on the huge cups of coffee they consume. It is not for nothing that the word “coffee” is derived from the Arabic “qahwa”, which means “that which prevents sleep”. Arabs have been boiling coffee beans in boiling water since the 9th century and drinking this invigorating extract as an alternative to alcohol, forbidden by Muslims.

Currently, coffee is second only to oil as the most valuable (legally) traded commodity in the world, with a total trade value of $70 billion. Interestingly, only $6 billion goes to coffee-producing countries. The remaining $64 billion is created as surplus value in consuming countries. Small farmers grow 70% of the world’s coffee production. They mainly grow two types of coffee beans: Arabica and Robusta. About 20 million people in the world are directly dependent on coffee production for their livelihood.

Table 1: production in 2002/3

country % 70% Arabica

30% Robusta

Brazil 42.03% Arab/Rob

Colombia 8.88% Arabica

Vietnam 8.35% Robusta

Indonesia 4.89% Rob/Arab

India 3.74% Arab/Rob

Mexico 3.54% Arabica

Guatemala 3.1% Arab/Rob

Uganda 2.53% Rob/Arab

Ethiopia 2.44% Arabica

Peru 2.24% Arabica

Table 2: consumption in 2001/2 world consumption % kg per capita (2001)

USA 30.82% Finland 11.01

Germany 15.07% Sweden 8.55

Japan 11.47% Denmark 9.71

France 8.89% Norway 9.46

Italy 8.59% Austria 7.79

Spain 4.90% Germany 6.90

Great Britain 3.63% Switzerland 6.80

Netherlands 2.69% Netherlands 6.48

Although the per capita consumption of coffee in the world is declining (in the US alone it has fallen from 0.711 liters in 1960 to 0.237 liters today), world consumption is still increasing due to the population explosion. Since coffee contains either 1% (Arabica), 2% (Robusta), or 4.5% – 5.1% (instant coffee) caffeine, the average American consumes at least 200 to 300 mg (recommended maximum daily amount) of caffeine daily. consumption of coffee itself.

A place I often go for a cup of coffee is the Starbucks in Stamford, Connecticut. The entrance is on the corner of Broad Street and Summer Street, to the left of the main public library with its simple gable and slender Ionic columns. The location right next to the library fits with Starbuck’s marketing plan. At the cafe’s entrance, a life-size glass window curves to the left, providing a wonderful voyeuristic view of pedestrians on the sidewalk. When you walk in, you step right into the living room with stacked shelves against the back wall. Velvet armchairs facing each other with small coffee tables in the middle create intimate seating areas. The velvet armchairs by the window are the main seats where people unhappily stab themselves with a wooden chair. At the back of the long rectangular room is a coffee shop and a small Starbuck’s gift shop. There is a dark wooden table with electrical sockets suitable for laying out laptops and whiteboards, which separates the living room area from the cafe.

Since I’ve been grumpy for a few weeks now, I’m hesitant to order a regular black coffee. In the US, it’s very easy to get stuck on your favorite food or drink because they serve large portions. The smallest cup of coffee is ‘tall’ (12 oz.=0.35 l), then you can choose between ‘grande’ (16 oz.=0.5 l) and ‘venti’ (20 oz.=0, 6 years). Half a liter of coffee seems a bit excessive to me and to my European mind it sounds completely absurd. In the end I chose the ‘solo’ espresso.

I sit in one of the booth-like seats against the back wall, unable to get a prime seat, pretending to read my book while listening to the conversations around me. Three middle-aged men sit in three ash-gray velvet armchairs, conversing loudly. A lively dialogue develops, alternated with half-roaring, half-shouting, laughter. They taunt a colleague in his absence, then furrow their brows in concern as they examine one of the men’s daughter’s teeth. Two African-American women sit at a small table across from a reading table in dim light, one of them wearing a yellow scarf with black African motifs. A short distance from the entrance, in a sofa next to an animated conversation, a tramp is playing solitaire. One by one, he places the crumpled cards with their rounded backs over each other as if trying to glue them together. He paid a few dollars in exchange for a small coffee to feel the nostalgia of the cozy living room in the warmth of the front room and relive the feeling of the intimacy of his own home.

It’s a bright, sunny, early fall day, a typical New England midsummer. The sun’s rays shine through the colorful, flickering leaves, casting a puzzle-shaped shadow into Starbuck’s window. An autumn hand rotates her colorful kaleidoscopic lens. The green ash by the sidewalk is somewhat reminiscent of a bronze sculpture with its polychrome colors: stem sulfur bronze, leaves intermittently copper green and iron nitrate golden. On the other side of the cross walk, the top of a young red oak turns fiery red. These are the budding impressions of the fall foliage that Connecticut, USA, is “world famous” for.

In the world of marketing and business, Starbucks is a success story. It’s one of those “excellence” stories taught as a case study in business school. Founded in 1971, the company really began its incredible growth under the leadership of Howard Schultz in 1985 and currently has 6,294 coffee shops. But what does her success really consist of? A large cup of coffee at Starbucks is much more expensive than at Dunkin’ Donuts: $2.69 compared to $3.40 for a Starbucks ‘venti’. But while Dunkin’ Donuts offers only a limited assortment of flavors like Mocha, Hazelnut, Vanilla, Caramel, and Cinnamon, at Starbucks you’ll find exotic quality beans like Bella Vista FW Tres Rios Costa Rica, Brazil Ipanema Bourbon Mellow, Colombia Nariño Supremo, Organic Shade Grown Mexico, Panama La Florentina, Arabian Mocha Java, Caffè Verona, Guatemala Antigua Elegant, New Guinea Peaberry, Zimbabwe, Aged Sumatra, Special Reserve Estate 2003 – Sumatra Lintong Lake Tawar, Italian Roast, Kenya, Ethiopia Harrar, Ethiopia Sidamo, Ethiopia Yergacheffe and French Roast. So Starbucks offers luxury coffee and high-quality coffee dining, almost reminiscent of the elegant cafes I visited in Vienna.

Every now and then I grin sheepishly and remember my endless hesitation when choosing between the only two types of coffee available in most Dutch shops: the red brand and the gold brand. To this day, I have no idea what the real difference is between them, other than the color of the packaging: red or gold. Not surprisingly, Starbucks appeals to the laptop genre of people: consultants, students, intellectuals, the middle class, and Starbucks coffee is white-collar coffee, while Dunkin’ Donuts coffee is blue-collar coffee. In Dunkin’ Donuts, you’ll encounter Joe the plumber, Bob the barber, and Mac the truck driver. But what exactly attracts white-collar workers in the US to fall back into purple velvet chairs?

I imagine their workdays full of repetitive actions and decisions on the playing field with well-defined responsibilities. How many players in these areas go through the day with its routines simply for no other reason than that they can enjoy their daily 30 minutes to escape to the intimacy of Starbucks, where for a brief moment of the day you regain the illusion of human warmth and the exotic associations of defying the cold of high finance?

For 15 minutes, you fall back into the deep, soft cushion of the velvet armchair and randomly, and unfortunately, how important is that moment of complete randomness, you pull a book from the shelves. While in the background the soothing tones of country blues with an acknowledgment of deep human suffering, the fervor of folk with a primal connection to nature and tradition, or merengue reviving passionate memories of adventure and love, you look out. window and contemplate that simple, fleeting reflection in the moment, enhanced by the physical effect of a pint of watery coffee starting to charge and the satisfaction of munching on your muffin, bagel, cake, brownie, croissant or doughnut.

It is above all that bodily ecstasy caused by the combination of caffeine, sugar and the salivation of the Pavlovian effect. You remember the struggling musician behind the counter taking your order, the amateur poet as you pay for her coffee and tip a full dollar, feeling a transcendent connection in your escape from reality. You stare with your first sips of coffee at the advertisements and poems on the bulletin board and say to yourself unwaveringly: They’re right, they’re right! and what am I interested in? Why should I care?

But then you look at your watch and realize you really need to run again. “Well, too bad, I have to go!”, or people will start gossiping about you being away from your desk for so long. And as you open the door, an autumn breeze blows in your face, the last melodies of a blues solo play out as the Hammond organ whispers, ‘I’m throwing my troubles out the door, I don’t need them anymore’.

Coffee in the US is a subculture that has massively surfaced in consumer society. Starbucks is more than coffee, it is more than just another brand on the market, it is a socio-political statement, a way of perceiving how you would like to live, in other words, it is a culture. Starbucks is an alternative to Coca-Cola and much more than just coffee: it’s chocolate, ice cream, frappuccinos, travel mugs with exotic prints, cups and live music, CDs, discounts at exhibitions and even support for volunteer work.

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