This week and next week will probably be the busiest ones on the job this year- my department is understaffed and it's the busy season at work. Therefore, I figured I'd break from the political nonsense and post about a subject that is near and dear to my heart... caffeine. My love affair with, by which I mean addiction to, coffee started when I was in high school, when my first job was working in the local delicatessen- stocking the soda and beer coolers, washing pots and pans, sweeping and mopping up at the end of the day, even waiting on customers (though when I started, I was too young to run the slicers). During the lull after the lunch rush and before the end-of-day mop-up, there'd be a time when all of the counters were wiped down, and there would be a slow trickle of customers coming in- some of the local landscaping crews, mainly Mexican guys whose English was largely limited to 'king-sized Budweiser!', would come in for a couple of post-shift tallboys (I loved these guys, and they were instrumental in my maintaining the Spanish I was learning in school, because they encouraged me to practice it by joking around with them). In these quiet hours, the best way to pass the time was to have a cup of coffee- the aroma from the big coffee percolators was enough to tempt even the most bitterness-shy palate. Like most coffee n00bs, I started drinking the stuff with a lot of milk and a fair amount of sugar, until I rather quickly eliminated the sugar (appropriate for iced coffee, but I don't like it in hot coffee) and cut down on the milk. I was hooked.
Now, I drink the stuff religiously, and I love coffee paraphernalia like French presses, Italian Moka pots, and Vietnamese phin filters... all beside the old reliable 8 cup drip coffee maker so beloved of Americans. While I also drink tea and yerba mate, there's no real substitute for a good old 'cuppa Joe'. It's what makes the graveyard shift possible.
So, why am I waxing rhapsodic about coffee? BBC has a nice documentary about the stuff, delving into coffee's origin as a commodity, exploring the growth and harvesting of coffee in Brazil, the roasting of coffee by an Italian coffee maestro, and the growth of coffee culture in China, the largest expanding market for the stuff. It's an informative twenty-two minutes, and I found it particularly beautiful, being a caffiend. Oddly enough, I'm working at a site which is dominated by tea drinkers, so the coffee culture is pretty lackluster. I have a Lipton teabag steeping overlong in my site-mug, destined to be diluted into iced tea, but the night is long, I have to finish the night at another site, and my beloved java will be waiting for me.