An unexpectedly fun collection of essays exploring the link between coffee and philosophy.
Parker and Austin assemble a varied compilation of musings on the beverage that has hooked countless people since its discovery in the 15th century by Ethiopian Sufi monks. The authors featured in this compilation—from ethnobotanists to comedians to philosophy professors—take on the history, taste and ethics of coffee in 18 essays likely to elicit much dialogue and debate. In Jill Hernandez's “The Existential Gound of True Community: Coffee and Otherness,” French existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre's “cafe soirees” are discussed against the backdrop of the caffeinated revolt staged by Starbucks patrons in 2009 to demand a bolder daily brew. Aid workers Gina Bramucci and Shannon Mulholland discuss the ethics behind the fair-trade practices of large corporations in “More than 27 Cents a Day: The Direct Trade (R)evolution.” They suggest that supporting fair-trade might mean higher prices, but it also means “we've earned that smug glance over a socially responsible cappuccino in the long run.” There's humor here, too; in the endnotes to “The Unexamined Cup is Not Worth Drinking,” Kristopher G. Phillips postulates that “I am well aware that not all, and indeed, not even more people who work or frequent coffee houses are hipsters; aren't I allowed a bit of rhetorical flourish?” The book also includes engaging discussions of caffeine's classification as a drug, the emergence of green coffee and the evolution of the coffehouse into a public forum.
A blend of humor and thought-provoking content guaranteed to stimulate readers' intellect.