The Coffee Apocalypse

For something a little lighter this week–because damn.

There is a balance to all things. Light and dark. Good and evil. When one force outweighs the other, the universe shifts to readjust the equilibrium and puts a thumb on the scale like a small town butcher.

The forces of karma must be running out of thumbs to rebalance the universe and when that happens, the world as we know it crumbles in upon itself and…

With my newsfeed choked with 31 flavors of political hate, floods, war, Manchester bombings, famine and plague (Zika) the end of days can’t be that far away. Depending upon your belief system, the apocalypse will be heralded by signs warning the human race that we are approaching the last exit. As with any ancient text, the exact interpretation of the warning signs are highly debated. I unearthed my own scroll and the part about the four horsemen wasn’t believable because there is no way that PETA would allow horses to be used for commercial purposes.

My scroll is hand scribed on an ancient brown Starbucks napkin, which may, in and of itself, be a warning sign. Accordingly, the warning signs of the doomsday approach center around coffee. *makes sign of the cross*

It’s how much? A cup o’ Joe should not cost five bucks. I’m not talking about some exotic cup from the highlands of Peru, or the Blue Mountains of Jamaica.  At that price, it’s more valuable than oil – and we know wars have been waged over that slippery commodity. I recently wrote a scene in a novel where a guy gets out of prison and goes to a Starbucks for a cup–he nearly goes back to prison because he can’t believe the price for a burnt tasting cup of coffee.

image by waterboard via flickr creative commons

It’s coffee–but not really When you have to recite the Magna Carta to order your drink–an iced, vente, quad decaf, no foam, soy, six pumps of sugar-free carmel, macchiato with whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles–it looses the license to be called coffee.

and then, and then, and then… image by foodbeast

How many electric plugs does a coffee shop need? While waiting for my turn to order, I counted twenty laptops, double that number of smartphones and power cords snaking around like an electric spiderweb from hell. Even if I wanted to sit and sip, there was nowhere to park. Is this a coffee shop, or an office for lost scriptwriters?

coffee shop?
image by dpreview

Coffee as art When you find a good non-chain coffee shop, protect it’s existence with your dying breath. Once the word gets out, no more elaborate latte art for you. The barista will be replaced with a tattooed, patchouli scented skinny dude with the lumberjack beard. The hipsters will take the place over like a cockroach infestation–all because you couldn’t keep a secret.

image by report via flickr creative commons

To press or not to press? I have to admit I’ve crossed the line on this one. A few of the coffee shops I hit when I travel  offer your coffee prepared by traditional drip, pour-over, french press, chemex, or vacuum pressed. If you consider these options for more than a few seconds–you are a coffee snob. I’m guilty.

All coffee isn’t created equal  In my formative years in prison, I drank that dark black institutional sludge. I lived on the stuff. It kept the prison going. Since then, I’ve branched out from cell block brewed to beans harvested in some of the world’s best coffee growing regions. Jamaica, Sumatra, Brazil, Costa Rica. I’ve come to appreciate the differences. Taken a step beyond and you’re looking at beans grown above a certain altitude, on the north facing slope, harvested by virgins and occasionally beans roasted after they’re passed through a civet’s digestive tract. I draw the line there–I get to be the first to consume my coffee.

As a daily addict consumer of coffee, I know I’m part of the downfall of society. According to my scrap of Starbucks napkin holy scroll, the end is near. Thanks to coffee, I’ll be awake for it.  Cheers.



  1. Delores · · Reply

    “there is no way that PETA would allow horses to be used for commercial purposes.”

    Ok, I’m laughing very hard right now! Thanks. Chemex or pressed please. Great read Jim.

  2. Kathy Babcock · · Reply

    Any truly wonderful thing should be enjoyed and honored. There is nothing wrong in contemplating how to enjoy your beverage of choice, or in educating one’s self about it. That said, I still say the only way to drink coffee is as Irish Whiskey! All the four food groups – alcohol, caffeine, sugar and fat. KB

    1. Leave it to the Irish to make certain all of our needs are addressed.

  3. I have no idea what Chemex is. I am all for equal opportunity so I drink all types of coffee but have sworn off Cuban coffee as that left me wired for two days. I can’t set that sort of productivity as a daily standard for my husband to expect.

    1. Oh, Cuban coffee! I’ve only tried that once during a trip through Maimi and wow–wired indeed!

  4. Hi thanks for shariing this

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