Coffee shops have inspired political activists, artists, musicians, intellectuals and others who hearts remain set on bringing something fresh into the world. Coffee shops serve as a place for vitality of discussions, creative ideas and plans to bring about change in the world. A coffee is for the solitary soul who sips her/his coffee and reflects.
I remember in the 1980s spending days in various coffee shops in Vienna, Austria, where such influential figures as Lenin, Freud, Beethoven, Tolstoy, Thomas Mann, Mahler, Trotsky, Stalin, Stefan Zweig and Elfride Jelinek, (Austria’s Nobel Prize winner for Literature) sipped their coffee alone or with friends and sometimes left with creative ideas and vision.
Lenin, Einstein, James Joyce, Stefan Zweig, Max Frisch, Rolf Liebermann, Erich Maria Remarque (author of All Quiet on the Western Front), Toscanini, numerous artists and intellectuals drank coffee in Café Odeon in Zurich, Switzerland.
Prime Minister of India, Mrs. Indira Gandhi closed down the Madras Coffee Shop in Connault Circus, New Delhi in the mid-1970s as she found the place a threat to her authority after she imposed the Emergency on the country. I used to frequent this coffee shop years ago during my days of annual visits to Delhi.
I know from years of visits the Church of Coffee in France serves bread and wine (coffee and croissant) for devotees of the secular religion of the country. I assume it is Arabic coffee. It needs to be. Croissants originated in Vienna. Napoleon’s soldiers brought back the recipe to France. Surely Napoleon didn’t engage in a war on the Austrian-Hungarian Empire to get the recipe. Leaders have gone to war on a full range of mad beliefs.
I make an annual trip to Israel since the early 1990s. Palestinians make the best hummus. Common knowledge in Tel Aviv. Independent Israeli coffee shops can off five star cappuccinos of a refined and sublime taste. Years ago, I stayed a few days every year in the heart of Tel Aviv. Two coffee shops were next door to each other. Artists, musicians, intellectuals, the Left etc frequented one shop and the next coffee shop attracted the Right. Terrorists attacked the latter shop.
In Rome, I would go for a morning coffee. The small coffee shop had no seats. Customers walked in, ordered a coffee, swallowed the coffee quickly, walked out and went off to work.
In Britain, the big coffee chains like Costa, Cafe Nero and Starbucks offers the taste of mass production. I would suggest you google ‘specialist coffee shops’ and go to one of the independent coffee shops. You won’t pay more but you might well enjoy more the sublime taste and aroma of your coffee.
I went to The Curator in Totnes with a friend, a Marxist, for a coffee. I said I would order a latte for myself. I asked him what he would like to drink. He said: “I’ll have a coffee with milk. Only the middle classes drink a latte.”
Bob Dylan. One More Cup of Coffee
Over a coffee, Bob Dylan reminds us to stay loyal to the Stars above. Coffee can serve as holy communion to the Transcendent. Bob sings…
On the pillow where you lie
But I don’t sense affection
No gratitude or love
Your loyalty is not to me
But to the stars above.
One more cup of coffee for the road
One more cup of coffee ‘fore I go.
To the valley below.
Coffee Humour from a small book
In our modest way in Totnes, we engage in thoughtful discussions, in the Hairy Barista and The Curator in Totnes, Devon, UK and depart inspired to write, to create or to act. I picked up a small book in the Hairy Barista with a one liner per page of coffee humour – probably emerging over a coffee for the authors of the amusing quip, such as:
‘If a woman aspires to be like a man, she lacks ambition.’
- On the eighth day, God created coffee
- Mothers are wonderful people who get up in the morning before the smell of coffee.
- Make coffee, not war.
- I never drink coffee at lunch. I find it keeps me awake for the afternoon.
- I must get up. My coffee needs me.
- I don’t have a problem with coffee. I have a problem without coffee.
- Great ideas start with coffee
- When I read about the evils of drinking coffee, I gave up reading.
- Save the Earth. It’s the only planet with coffee.
- Giving up coffee is easy. I’ve done it many times.
- The lab called today. Apparently, my blood type has changed from A positive to Arabica Mountain Roast.
- Depresso. The feeling you get when you run out of coffee.
- Stay grounded.
- Expresso yourself.
- Take one cup at a time.
- Better latte than never.
- Take time to smell the coffee.
- Everybody should believe in something. I believe in having another coffee.
- I love days when my only problem is ‘coffee’ or ‘tea.’
- Save water. Drink coffee.
- Coffee drinkers make better lovers.
- Because I can count the number of hours, I slept on one hand.
- Drink coffee. Anger management is way too expensive.
Quotes from ‘The Meaning of Coffee.’ Allegra Publication
PS. Enough written. I’m off to Hairy Barista for an oat latte. Cheers.