Showing posts from November, 2020

Wake up and Smell the Coffee: Why Does Coffee Smell So Good?

  Everyone knows what “wake up and smell the coffee” means. If you have ever smelled coffee---(and who hasn’t?) then you understand that just the act of smelling coffee has a stimulatory effect. “Wake up and smell the coffee” is an American idiom that was first used in the 1940’s and later popularized by the advice columnist, Ann Landers, in the 1970’s. Drinking a cup of coffee is a whole-body, sensual experience that engages all the senses. You can hear the hiss of the water being extruded through the coffee-maker’s boiling-water pump, before being forcefully drizzled onto the waiting grounds. You can see, taste, and even touch the coffee (careful it’s usually hot). But nothing compares to smelling coffee first thing in the morning. Like many people, I am acutely sensitive to the smell of coffee. From smell alone, I can get a sense of how earthy, floral, spicy, sweet, bitter, or bright the coffee is. Why is the smell of coffee such a distinct phenomenon? Coffee is a plant (full of

Come and Have a Cuppa Joe With Me

Right now, the name “Joe” is trending. Literally, ‘Joe’ (and ‘Kamala-“)-emblazoned t-shirts, shot glasses, and mugs can be found in abundance on Amazon. In addition to being a committed coffee-drinker, I also collect coffee mugs.  From a business perspective, using the ‘cup of joe’ meme on mugs is marketing 101. And quite frankly everyone appreciates a nice mug for Hannukah or Christmas. I honestly don’t use the term “cup of joe” very much. Maybe I’ve used it once or twice, but it’s a nice turn of phrase and I like it and the democratic spirit it embodies. If someone asked me to explain why coffee is sometimes referred to as ‘joe,’ I would have to go with the “average guy” theory. According to that theory, coffee is the beverage for Everyman/Everyperson (every Joe on the street) and that connotation is 100% positive. But there are other theories behind the term “cup of joe”. In 1914, the Secretary of the U.S. Navy, Josephus ‘Joe’ Daniels banned alcohol from all U.S. Navy ships. Shortly

The Solace & Stimulation of a Flat White on Election Night

 November 3, 2020, is as good as any to drink a flat white. It also happened to be Election Day here in the US. In fact, today, the day after the official voting day, is as tense as yesterday, as there is no winner declared yet. There are many ways to deal with tension, but this tension has morphed into a collective existential crisis, an orgy of angst, an explosion of concern for the future of this country, and quite frankly, humanity itself. How does one quell that type of tension? Well, the reality is that we are left to our commonly used devices---biking and walking; yoga and wine; listening to NPR or watching MSNBC; chatting and ruminating; praying and meditating; various types of social media interaction; or enjoying a simple evening walk with hot flat white lattes in hand. Last night, my friend, Dana, and I opted for that low-key approach. While our approach may be considered low-key, a flat white is recognized as a high-impact type of espresso-based beverage. Specifically,

Pumpkin Spice Lattés: ‘Tis the Season! (Better Get Your PSLs While You Can)

Happy November! Fall 2020 is well underway! What that means is that we should be embracing pumpkin spice lattés, with exuberance and without embarrassment. When Starbucks introduced the iconic pumpkin spice latte in 2003, it quickly became a top-seller---encouraging other coffee chains, like Dunkin’ Donuts, Krispy Kreme, and McDonald’s to jump on the pumpkin spice latté caravan. What exactly is a pumpkin spice latté and does it have any real pumpkin in it? A Starbucks pumpkin spice latté is made with espresso, milk, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. But the most important thing: There is real pumpkin in Starbucks pumpkin spice lattés---something that didn’t happen until 2015. Despite the hater backlash against PSLs, sales continue to soar. Since their introduction, almost 425 million PSLs have been sold and happily consumed worldwide, generating revenues of more than $1.5 billion. For most people, drinking a pumpkin spice latté is part comfort, pa