Round, clear, plastic, sweating through the cup as the ice melts. On a very warm summer day I gaze at my to go cup from the coffee shop down the street. It seems simple enough yet why am I drawn into a staring contest with an inanimate object? Power from the boxes pulls me in and I cannot look away. Simple in it’s form, yet changes human interactions everyday. Decaf, shots, syrup, milk, custom, drink all tiny boxes designed into the cup. The goal to streamline from the order to the barista to ensure the correct beverage is made. I begin to wonder if perhaps that has gone too far. Some modifications are necessary like you are allergic to milk so you need soy instead or cannot have extra sugar so that is omitted from the beverage. That I understand and do myself. Yet these boxes have changed the way people think about beverages. We live in a fast paced world full of individuals who want options! Choice is a great and powerful thing. But somehow we have become the experts in fields where we already have knowledgeable people. So we stifle the gifts of one to satisfy our own “expert” opinion. I know very little about cars, I would never tell the mechanic how to fix my car. Let those chosen for certain fields thrive in their own environment and I will enjoy the spoils.
The original beverage is customized beyond recognition. Coffee has become a vessel for cream and sugar. Tea is a vessel for sugar or lemonade. Even water needs flavoring. I see all kinds of drink orders during my shifts. Sometimes drinks are modified so much that it is no longer the drink that was ordered. For example, what is the difference between an extra wet cappuccino and an extra foamy latte?
I think back to my own beverage history. Bold coffee with cream and sugar. Green iced tea no sugar extra lemonade. I fell into the same pattern. Customize until the drink is something else entirely. The boxes gave me the ability to change each beverage but should I? Did I really enjoy the beverage in it’s original state if I modified it so much? I made changes to the drinks to make them sweeter and cover up the original beverage. I did not like that kind of coffee. More was out there that I had yet to discover.
Now for a personal confession….I sometimes find comfort in routine. I like eating at the same restaurants and ordering drinks that I know taste good. Yet…..that is no life of adventure. Now I see a world full of new and interesting things. I came to love trying new things because I allowed the experts in their field share their knowledge. Black coffee was something I did not enjoy so I thought. The turning point for me was a trip to coffeecon. Yes coffee conventions! Such an amazing adventure into the world of coffee. Surrounded by experts in their field,I let them guide me through this endeavor. I drank the best coffees in southern California. I tried an espresso that tastes like blackberries! I had coffee that tasted like apricots, one that smelled like nuts. The list goes on and on. I offered thanks and encouragement at each booth we stopped. The coffee community is not one of competition but of exploration and creativity. There is always room for a new and innovative method. A variety of tastes, beans, methods, and beverages brings us together.
When going out to restaurants, coffee shops or various shopping trips I cannot count the amount of times I hear this phrase, “What do you recommend?” Yet I rarely hear that while I am working. Each and everyone of us have a gift, a speciality that needs encouragement and development. An entirely different coffee shop experience can and will happen! One of enjoyment over a shared experience, conversations with new people, and discoveries of new tastes await. I challenge you to ask for a recommendation and see what wonderful things you can experience. Try before you modify. I would love to hear what you discover!
There are certain moments in film that evoke emotions that seem to reach our very soul. The combination of the dramatic music, artistic angles or selective dialogue simply make magic. Social graces often include the prop of coffee in theses moments and I never really realized how a hot beverage influences our emotions on film. As coffee has become the cornerstone of our morning routines, it has also infiltrated the world of film. A cup of Joe can bring people together in conversation, in film this prop sets up that discussion. Coffee gives us something to hold onto, taking a sip fills an awkward pause. Discussion about the beverage creates a shared experience. All of theses instances are shared on film. Today I bring to you a few examples of coffee on camera that are my favorites. While reviewing the material I discovered that coffee is transformed in different ways to elevate the themes of the TV/films. Just as each cup of coffee is individualized, so is its on screen counter part.
COFFEE ON CAMERA…
BIG BANG THEORY
What can I say but I think Sheldon is awesome. He may have his quirks but so does everyone. He knows social graces and always offers a hot beverage in time of need. His gentlemanly nature comes out as he offers coffee, tea or sometimes chicken broth, depending upon what is in the cupboard. Although this is not specifically coffee, it does bring to light manners associated with serving hot beverages. This idea is one I hope to bring to the coffee shop. Whatever your day is like, let me offer you a hot beverage and a smile.
I love Looney toons cartoons! Growing up my nickname was Laureney Toons because I watched them so much! One of my very favorite cartoons is a rare character. Pete the Puma hunts for a small rabbit but Bugs must outwit the awkward puma in order to save the bunny. How does he outwit Pete? By offering him a cup of tea! Naturally offer a hot beverage to relax and distract. How many lumps do you want? Uh?? Three or four!!
Although only two seasons, Twin Peaks was a great David Lynch show. A damn good cup of coffee influenced a lot of scenes in the series. Coffee and doughnuts at the police station or coffee at the diner, a small hot cup of coffee revealed secrets, solved crimes and brought people together.
GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS
A dramatic look into the world of real estate sales, only the two tops salesmen will keep their jobs. “Put that coffee down! Coffee is for closers” Live, eat, breathe that sale! Fight for your life. Coffee was not the subject but it was a conduit to grab the attention of the audience.
I love those movies when it all comes together in the final scene! One of my favorite films, all the drama leads up to the last scene. Watch this movie if you have not seen it! Deep in thought the detective tries to put all the pieces of the puzzle together. Who is this mystery bad guy? While sipping on a cup of coffee, he looks around the station and finds clues to the lies he has been told...he realizes he has released his suspect, shatters a cup of coffee on the ground and races down to try and catch his suspect. The voice-over, dramatic tone and the shattering of that cup bring everything together and show the audience that this detective’s world is destroyed much like the coffee on the floor.
In each of these moments coffee influences culture. Whether it is to teach social graces, out -smart an enemy, or find clarity coffee and film go hand in hand. I bring you my experience with the world of coffee and a few of my favorite pieces of film. My favorite times are sitting around the kitchen table enjoying breakfast and coffee with my family and often these movies and TV shows are what we discuss. What films do you discuss over coffee? These are my favorites but I would love to hear your favorite coffee in film scenes! I love movies and I love coffee!
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I would love to hear what coffee moments on film that did not make the list.
The city of San Francisco is alive. The people, the atmosphere, the food and naturally the coffee. It draws me in every visit and stays with me long after I leave. While visiting family this past week, I had the privilege of seeing many different parts of the city. I had every intention of blogging about the wonderful coffee shops I visited everyday. My family was amazing showing me all the local hotspots. But it was a different part of my adventure that dictates this blog today. That happens sometimes right?
Working with special needs adults has taught me many life lessons. I often say they always teach me more than I teach them. While in San Francisco I took a side trip to visit The Access Program.
This is a transition program for special needs adults. They learn life skills, job training, and creative skills like I have never seen before. The beauty of this specialized program is that the teachers see potential in their students and the art that they create. If there is something the student wants to learn, the teachers will show them! This bunch of wacky talented kids and wanted to make a movie, so they did. Their youtube channel is full of activities the students have participated in. Zombies vs. Ninjas Eat Ice Cream is one of the best videos I have seen on youtube. And how is this program or this video connected to this blog at all? Hold on, I am getting there. Written and performed by students, Zombies vs. Ninjas has an important life lesson. I think perhaps before I spoil things, take a look at the movie.
Did you watch it yet? After I watched the film, I made a connection to my coffee quest. SPOILER ALERT!!! Zombies typically eat brains but these zombies discovered something better...ICE CREAM! Theses students had an important lesson to teach the world via youtube. One does not need to follow the norm, do what is always done. Break away and follow your own path to happiness. For these zombies, they found happiness in ice cream from Bi-rite and Mitchells. In the same manner, I felt the need to break away from the typical coffee beverage or popular coffee establishment. I discovered new and interesting flavors while coffee tasting at different shops Although I have worked in coffee for many years, I drank it to stay awake. I did not really experience the beverage on its own. While in San Francisco, I was able to visit four different locations: Ritual, Sightglass, Four Barrel and Blue Bottle. Each of these places broke away from the norm to create fabulous coffee beverages. The owners and baristas gave up brains for ice cream! I was impressed with the knowledge of the baristas and their passion for coffee. Each location offered a smaller menu with more emphasis on a quality beverage. Stylized decor ranged from minimalist to hunting murals. Although each very different, each matched well with their choices of beans and beverages that they offered. Atmosphere was enhanced by the cute parklets out front. I especially enjoyed the boat parklet in front of Ritual Coffee.
The variety of coffee shops available in San Francisco is amazing. My friends at accessSFUSD are inspiring. I guess I had a good trip! My trip was a wonderful time with my family but also inspired me to give up the brains. As I search for my ice cream, I encourage you to try new and different adventures with coffee. Try a pour over from a different region or try a shot of espresso at a new bar. When Rosetta opens, come in and see what variety we offer. Come to a coffee tasting with me! Thank you for joining me on my quest for the perfect pour and the adventure of coffee. Stayed tuned for more adventures!