Our employee, Buzz, took a road trip recently. They came back with more photos than we wanted to look at, along with a story about a nice little coffee shop nearby that they visited in a nice little town. They’d been traveling a while and it was time for one of those multi-purpose stops we all need on the road, and signs said that NLT was just ahead, so Buzz (who was not driving at the time, because they’re the responsible type), took out their phone and searched “coffee shop near me.” They found the NLCS, visited its NLRR first, bought a good cup of coffee and got on their way.
Buzz told us about this completely routine experience not long after we’d been reading about the history of coffee. And we have to admit, we were tempted to channel Uncle Burt. You know him: the uncle of an indeterminate age that’s fairly described as “old” who always insists on telling you how much harder things were back in the day; how spoiled we are; how we young’ns in Generation [insert letter here] take everything for granted and that’s why we’ll never amount to a hill o’beans. You know him. Everybody does. That’s one of the things we always hated about Thanksgiving.
Sorry. Got off track for a sec. Anyway, here’s the point about Uncle Burt:
He’s kinda right.
Now, don’t misunderstand: If you were to search “coffee shop nearby” or “coffee shop near me” and you end up at Sip, we’ll be delighted! And we’ll be sure to give you a table away from Uncle Burt.
But that fact is, we really do have it easy. Finding good coffee is always just a few keystrokes or swipes away. You can even just speak your request out into the air and the answer to your question will magically appear on a screen, for cryin’ out loud!
Uncle Burt may be irritating, but he has a point. Some of us have gotten kinda spoiled; especially us coffee-drinkers.
How spoiled? We’ll tell you, with some research help from the National Coffee Association, and writer and comedian Emily Blotnick. Here are …
7 reasons to be grateful for that coffee shop nearby
- Coffee is now grown all over the world, but it didn’t used to be so easy to come by. Legend tells of Kaldi, an Ethiopian goatherd in the 800s whose flock got seriously wired after eating beans off a particular plant. He took some of the beans to the abbot of a local monastery, who found that, in addition to making goats bounce, the beans could be brewed into a drink that kept monks awake through late-night prayer vigils.
- Sleep-praying apparently being a multi-faith problem, when coffee reached the Arabian peninsula, Sufi sects passed it around at funerals when the ceremonies started to drag. The Sharif of Mecca, however, saw coffee as a threat — something for radicals to come together over and plot — and banned it in 1511.
- The Christian church had similar feelings when coffee came to Europe. Church leaders in Venice forbade it in 1615, calling it a “bitter invention of Satan.” But after Pope Clement VIII tried the Devil’s Brew for himself and found it more tasty than Satany, lots of Venetians started Googling “caffè bar vicino a me.” (Coffee shop near me)
- Coffee still wasn’t much available to the common folk, even a century later. The great J.S. Bach (himself a coffee enthusiast) took note, writing his Coffee Cantata around 1735. A little lighter than his epic masses and oratorios and such, it tells the tale of a young lass, Aria, who is forbidden by her father to have coffee. She sings,
Father sir, but do not be so harsh!
If I couldn’t, three times a day,
be allowed to drink my little cup of coffee,
in my anguish I will turn intoa shriveled-up roast goat. [Again with the goats! — Ed.]
Ah! How sweet coffee tastes,
more delicious than a thousand kisses,
milder than muscatel wine.
Coffee, I have to have coffee,
and, if someone wants to pamper me,
ah, then bring me coffee as a gift!
Her father is convinced, and knowing that there isn’t yet a coffee shop nearby, has three cups a day written into her marriage contract. The actual name of the Coffee Cantata, btw, is “Schweigt stille, plaudert nicht” — “Be still, stop chattering.” In fact, though he left it unfinished at his death, Bach was writing a sequel, “O, Wann wird jemand entkoffeiniert Kaffee erfinden?” — “Oh, when will someone invent decaf?” [No he wasn’t. — Ed.]
- Asia hadn’t been so easily converted as Europe. In Constantinople under Ottoman rule in the mid-1600s, if you were caught with coffee, you would be beaten. If you were caught a second time, you were sewed into a leather bag and thrown in the Bosporus. There were few third offenders.
- Likewise, about the time Bach’s heroine proclaimed her true love, Frederick the Great tried to boost the Prussian home-made beverage industry by writing a manifesto expressing his royal preference for beer over coffee. Even with breakfast. (At Sip, we think F the G had a point, so we serve beer, too. And cocktails. Not necessarily recommended with breakfast though.)
- And of course, coffee soon after made it to American shores, where it was quickly accepted by the local populace. Our forefathers loved it so much, in fact, that they told their English overlords they were sick and tired of the tea they kept sending over from China, and proved it by turning Boston Harbor into a big ol’ teapot with fish. Thomas Jefferson himself declared coffee to be “the favorite drink of the civilized world.”
Thus, American independence and beverage freedom were simultaneously achieved — making it your personal privilege to search “coffee shop near me” whenever you like. In fact, we would go so far as to say that you would put a smile on the angelic faces of our Founding Fathers if you come on over to Sip right now and lift a mug to Jefferson and the gang.
Why? Because it’s your patriotic duty! And just because you can.