Why 'Coffee Is the New Wine' Is a Terrible Idea
New York's Cafe Grumpy has invented the $12 cup of coffee, "flavors you would expect in a really nice glass of wine—it's a cacophony of nuances." We must keep nuance out of our coffee. It could ruin America.
Luxury is not necessarily bad; nor is nuance; nor is snobbery. But snobbing over coffee is a terrible idea, for five reasons:
1. The Coffee Arms Race Will Be Expensive. Whereas fancy wine can be popped open and consumed with no further fussing than the procurement of a glass, fancy coffee will inevitably require fancy machines. It's too unwieldy; if you're going to enjoy a luxury, at least have the luxury be great enough to stand on its own, without the intervention of other expensive crap.
2. We Are Addicted to Coffee. If It Becomes Expensive, We Will Perish. Grumpy's $12 cup of coffee can be likened to the Opium Wars. A nation studded with Mom & Pop diners is beholden to its dark master, coffee. We literally cannot function—cannot open our eyes to wake in the morning—without a cup of joe. So if coffee gets expensive, we will all go broke, and then when the British Navy lands on our shores, we will be too jittery and sopped with acrid, caffeine-infused sweat to defend our homes. We will cling to our steaming cups of liquid crack and weep salty, dehydrated tears as our new overlords pry the coffee from our desiccated hands and force us to detox with—shudder—tea.
3. The Culture Wars Are Bad Enough, Already. Did we learn nothing from tea parties and the Whiskey Rebellion? Divisive beverages are dangerous in the hands of Americans. As one Cafe Grumpy customer notes, "People have had bad reactions to the prices. They will think, 'This place isn't for me,' and storm out." Haven't we had enough liquid warfare? And make no mistake: Fancy coffee is begging for class warfare. Did you know that…
4. You Can't Put Cream in Fancy Coffee. "As soon as you add milk and sugar to this, you lose a lot of the nuance," says Grumpy's coffee buyer. What's more un-American than banishing sugary and high-fat additives? Milk is what America strong—literally, strong in our bones. And metaphorically strong in the Heartland, where milk is grown in the udders of cows. China only recently learned how to drink milk, and now they're poised to take over the world. We must not allow fancy coffee to marginalize the pure wholesomeness that is milk, cream, and half-and-half.
5. Coffee Forces Us to Talk About Geopolitics. And, damn, I hate that. Whereas oenophilic nations are capable of growing their own grapes and mushing their own wine, the Global North don't have coffee plants. If coffee becomes a luxury, coffee beans could become the new blood diamonds. And "blood beans" is way too gross a phrase to be allowed into the lexicon, so this needs to stop now.
[NYP, image via Karl Schonswetter's Flickr]
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