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    • I swear, Michael Pollan writes the most fascinating books and articles, like this one. He’s a journalism prof at UC Berkeley but hasn’t written any books or created online courses I know of about storytelling. Damn. I would pay.

      Anyway, the rise of coffee as he tells it is so very fascinating:

      “Coffee owes its global ascendancy to a fortuitous evolutionary accident: The chemical compound that the plant makes to defend itself against insects happens to alter human consciousness in ways we find desirable, making us more energetic and industrious—and notably better workers. That chemical of course is caffeine, which is now the world’s most popular psychoactive drug, used daily by 80 percent of humanity. (It is the only such drug we routinely give to our children, in the form of soda.) Along with the tea plant, which produces the same compound in its leaves, coffee has helped create exactly the kind of world that coffee needs to thrive: a world driven by consumer capitalism, ringed by global trade, and dominated by a species that can now barely get out of bed without its help.”

    • Interesting article about coffee, a fluid I have repeatedly tried to appreciate and develop a taste for without much success. I visit Starbucks now and then, but feel most of Starbucks offerings are sugar ladened ice cream treats or something

      I have a secret belief that the craving for caffeine varies a bit, with some of us much more tied to it than others. Kind of like alcohol which I can enjoy or not consume for months at a time, equally.

    • I've been a coffee drinker for years, and it is my go-to, legal drug of choice. My tastes have changed in the last five years, from lattes to cappuccinos to pour-overs. I've stayed with pour-over style coffee since.

      Every time my girlfriend offers a sip of her cappuccino or latte, I refuse—an unthinkable gesture in my early coffee-drinking days.

      The Blue Bottle coffee was my very first introduction to great tasting coffee. I wrote about their original shop in my San Francisco neighborhood here:

    • Great article Chris!

      I had never touched the stuff until I was in graduate school.

      I spent a year in Italy. Upon arriving in Italy at the "villa" (our home away from home) I awaken the next morning severely jet lagged. I fellow student stated you need a cup of Italian coffee. Ok, I'm game.

      So off to the kitchen in search of coffee. My parents were big drinkers of the brew in the AM so I wasn't oblivious, or so I thought. Anyway, I found these cool two piece coffee pots. Big always being better, I grabbed the biggest percolator. I figured out how to load it up with coffee and water and the show was on.

      After a few minutes, I had a big mug of the darkest strong coffee that needed copious amounts of sugar. It took me a while but I finished it off.

      Shortly thereafter, the "villa" cook arrived. When she discovered I had brewed a pot and drank the entire pot myself she just slapped her cheeks shaking her head.

      My jet lag soon dissipated.

      I soon found out that the percolator was a Moka Pot designed to brew 10 single shots of espresso!

      I got a lot accomplished that day and night and most of the following morning; all without a minute of sleep!

      But, I was hooked. I have enjoyed beans from the world over. Perhaps my favorite were from a Yemeni coffee bean shop in Brussels. That was 21 years ago and that 1/2 kilo made a significant impression.

      I try to source single origin, fair trade coffee that is unique and rememberable.

      I am currently enjoying an espresso blend from Hood River Coffee Roasters (Hood River, OR). I discovered this roaster in 2016 while passing through. I had to take my lab to the vet and the roaster was across the street. What a find.

      To pull the perfect shot at home requires a good machine.

      I use a Rocket.

    • Nice machine! I didn't start with coffee until well into my 40's. I somehow survived a military career not smoking, drinking alcohol nor coffee. That changed when I moved to Savannah in the mid-2000's. I discovered craft beer...imagine that! Beer, with taste! It was then I discovered coffee made with good beans and in a way that enhanced the flavor. Growing up, my parents had the ubiquitous drip maker with mass market ground coffee which they further watered down (to drink more!). These days I liken the percolator and drip machines using mass market ground coffee akin to pulling used grounds from the trash and using a dirty sock as a filter (I'm kidding!). I'm not a coffee snob, really, I'm not. I just appreciate the subtlety of a good product prepared properly. Once, I bought my now departed old man some Starbucks brew; he declared it was the worst coffee he'd ever had! As it turns out, he much preferred the neutral tasting and weakly concentrated coffee I remembered from my youth. I reckon it's true, there's no accounting for (individual) tastes. My go-to setup is the Moka that is standard here in Italy in every household. The Aeropress and French Press get the duty when I have some really good beans. Luckily, just about every place of business here has a good machine and a supply of decent beans. Nirvana!

    • Thanks!

      Are you now in Italy or Savannah?

      Italy didn't have any national beers (and why would it?) you really wanted to drink in the late 70s. We drank Heineken.

      Pretty amazing you didn't acquire at least one of those vices in the military! Don't think I ran into anyone one who didn't drink coffee in the Corps.

      Fortunately, I have always passed on all things tobacco, so I never went down that path.

      I'm not a coffee snob either, but, if I get as really bad cup, I will toss it in a heartbeat. And I don't care for bitter coffee; just strong, smooth, robust coffee.

      If not a good shot of espresso, I'm equally content with pour over; with the right bean!

      Stay healthy!