A local, homespun, philosophical yarn in today’s Gulf Breeze News (Gulf Breeze, FL … why do all the crackpots seem to come from Florida?) noted how our approach to life can failingly be like concentrating on the cup and not the coffee within it: The coffee, not the cup that holds it, is what matters. It’s a nice, trite, Prarie-Home-Companion-way of looking at life. The author even relates this analogy to the untimely death of Anna Nicole Smith (huh?!?). The only problem with the author’s analogy is that it’s an ignorant and delusional pack of lies.

Cups do matter when it comes to coffee. Unfortunately, most cafés have no concept of this, and most coffee drinkers are far too intent on drinking their coffee like runners at a marathon refreshment station to notice. As the Espresso Italiano Tasting manual puts it…

The design of the cup affects:

  • the appearance of the coffee and thus our appreciation of its creamy head (or crema),
  • our olfactive appreciation by dispersing or concentrating the aroma,
  • the taste because of its contact with our lips,
  • the sensation of heat, and
  • the quantity of coffee allowed into the mouth.

There’s a reason quality restaurants present their food on warmed china instead of paper plates. If drinking vessels truly didn’t matter, we’d all be sipping fine wines out of disposable plastic beer cups. And if I’m shelling out $2 a cup for beans that cost less than $2 per pound as greens, you had better believe I expect to be treated as if I’m at something other than a three-year-old’s birthday party.

Maybe Chuck Randle likes to brew his morning coffee through his grandson’s old gym socks, but coffee drinking shouldn’t taste of paper. It’s enough when I have to lick envelopes. Chuck, if you’re going to pick on something as “superfluous,” why couldn’t you have instead chosen something like bloggers and columnists in Podunk local weeklies?