Daily Archives: April 13, 2011

To Be or Not To Be; To Drink or Not To Drink

“I had some dreams they were clouds in my coffee” Carly Simon, Americansinger-songwriter, musician 1945 –

This coffee falls into your stomach, and straightway there is a general commotion.  Ideas begin to move like the battalions of the Grand Army of the battlefield, and the battle takes place.  Things remembered arrive at full gallop, ensuing to the wind.  The light cavalry of comparisons deliver a magnificent deploying charge, the artillery of logic hurry up with their train and ammunition, the shafts of with start up like sharpshooters.  Similes arise, the paper is covered with ink; for the struggle commences and is concluded with torrents of black water, just as a battle with powder.  ~Honore de Balzac,  1799-1850,  French novelist and playwright.”The Pleasures and Pains of Coffee”

Here in Wellington the cafe/coffee culture is alive, well and thriving. Each morning one can see the commuters on the way to their shops and offices holding  Styrofoam cups of steaming coffee.  It appears we all need this extra fix to start our day.

And it’s not only the busy worker bees on the way to their offices and shops,  We have all succumbed to the coffee culture.  Wellington promotes itself as a culinary capital, famous for its variety of restaurants and cafés. There are more than 300 cafés throughout the city, reputedly more per capita than New York City.

It seems as if nobody takes a coffee break in the office or staff room any more.  At times in the mornings the cafes are full of business men and women taking their breaks with a decent cup of coffee (and maybe just a little Danish , muffin or pastry).  As well as the business people cafes attract fashionable matrons in the city for a day’s shopping or just to catch up with friends; younger married women with time and money on their hands and mothers with babies in strollers.  Some cafes cater for young mothers by providing play areas for the children.

Some coffee shops provide much more than just good food, great coffee and the opportunity to do some people watching.  Many also showcase works of local artists.  This provides an opportunity to study some weird and wonderful art and design ideas.  And apart from the ubiquitous Starbucks, most of the coffee shops have something that sets them apart from the others.  This could be the great coffee (of course) the decor, the staff or the items gracing the walls.

cup of latte

Baristas pride themselves on producing beautiful coffee.   They delight in putting different shapes on the top and as you can see, the coffee becomes an artwork in itself. The presentation becomes almost an artwork.  The photo above was taken this morning at my favorite coffee shop.

Does this affect the taste?  I suggest not.  The coffee is good and sometimes I have two.  But as I have said before “I’m English so I drink tea”.

And some inconsequential nonsense from  The Women’s Petition Against Coffee

“the Excessive use of that Newfangled, Abominable, Heathenish Liquor called COFFEE, which Riffling Nature of her Choicest Treasures, and Drying up the Radical Moisture, has so Eunucht our Husbands, and Crippled our more kind Gallants, that they are become as Impotent, as Age, and as unfruitful as those Desarts whence that unhappy Berry is said to be brought.”

The petition finished with  –

We Humbly Pray, That you our Trusty Patrons would improve your Interest, that henceforth the Drinking Coffee may on severe penalties be forbidden to all Persons under the Age of Threescore; and that instead thereof, Lusty nappy Beer, Cock-Ale, Cordial Canaries, Restoring Malago’s, and Back-recruiting Chochole be Recommended to General Use, throughout the Utopian Territories.  In hopes of which Glorious Reformation, your Petitioners shall readily Prostrate themselves, and ever Pray, &c.


And the point of today’s post?  None whatsoever.  Just an elderly lady playing with words.