What makes the perfect cup of coffee?
For Bill Dallas it’s Folgers and the reminder of what his fellow inmates and Lifers taught him at San Quentin.
For Brenda it’s a treat at Starbucks when her days are filled with kids, work, making dinner, packing lunches, and the never-ending to-do list.
For me it’s serenity, love and luxury. I kept half a cup of coffee going during my waitressing shifts in high school. (This is probably bad for developing humans, so don’t do it kids! Coffee that is, waitressing is ok.) It represented a moment to myself between hectic rushes. In college it was my late-night companion. Later, the timer ensured the coffee aroma filled the room before I got up. The occasions when others brought me a cappuccino or mailed a coffee card, it was an act of love.
A luxury that I never take for granted
In SE Asia, along a dirt path, locals welcomed me with coffee. They would have never dreamed of drinking it themselves; it was too valuable. As they placed the tray in front of me, my mind was overloaded: I silently railed against the cold brutality of the global economic system we’ve created while awestruck by the overwhelming generosity and grace of these individuals. Maybe there was hope for us all.
Across the vast ocean of inequality, they smiled and quietly waited for me to…do something. I struggled to convey my appreciation. To this day, I’m certain they have no idea what their gesture meant to me. It was the best cup of coffee I had ever tasted in my life.
I love coffee
Coffee is a luxury I always appreciate. I carry images and memories of the toil and care required to create each bean. The world’s 25 million coffee farmers provide the 400 billion cups of coffee we enjoy every year. The paths we create, hand-to-hand, with the coffee industry can be tracked globally; they connect us all–and if we pay attention we can change the world.
–What is your perfect cup of coffee?
1. See: Lessons from San Quentin: Everything I Needed to Know about Life I Learned in Prison, by Bill Dallas and George Barna.