Coffee’s universal popularity is indisputable. Most people love it. According to information collected and reported in a recent issue of National Geographic (see graphic inset), coffee is the 2nd most recognized smell in the world. It is widely loved for its utility, ability to enhance functional capacity, and its taste. When we’re down it picks us up and it even makes us healthier.
Today is a big day politically. It’s unclear where the Republican primaries will net out as both Romney and Gingrich consolidate their popularity among voters. Add to that, the excitement of Obama’s State of the Union address, which is expected to address economic concerns and the need for more jobs, and it’s clear that the United States is geared up for lots of café talk.
Coffee has always been part of the American political landscape. During the Boston Tea Party in 1773, drinking coffee was patriotic. As the nation was being formed, the founding fathers got together in coffeehouses and strategized. Coffee continued to be popular during the Civil War from 1861 to 1865. Coffee was also included in the ration pack sent with soldiers as part of their combat ration packs during World War 1 (1914-18) and World War 2 (1941-45).
Coffee is the great equalizer. Factory workers drink coffee, as do bankers, as do artists, and even gemologists. We owe a lot to the factory workers of the 1940’s who first insisted on being able to take a “coffee break” in order to get a respite from the intensity of their jobs.
Every day, my friends and I drink coffee. We discuss our children, our work, our health, our lives. And we do it over coffee---because in the final analysis, everything is political.