The Boston Tea Party? Planned in a coffee house

A coffee problem?

Only when I can’t get a cup . . .

One to wake up

   One for the road. 

   One for motivation. 

   And one for a reward. 

It’s easy to plan an entire day of tasks using coffee as fuel. And just living from cup to cup is a kind of reward system for getting done the business of the day. Studies have shown caffeine make a person sharper, quicker to respond, more able to think things through when under the influence of caffeine. 0423coffee

I’ve always said, “I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t drink coffee.” And there’s your reason. If they’re not on caffeine, how, really, can they be right and ready to take on even the simplest of tasks?

As for myself, I cannot use language, perform any function that requires fine motor skills, or perceive shape and color until I have two cups of coffee.

Those first cups of the day are critical.

Pre-caffeine, there musn’t be any talk of bills, obligations, kids’ lunches, laundry or inane pre-dawn greetings and salutations; it all comes out as a grating, insulting, garbled nuisance . . . until after two cups of joe. How can “I love you” be so annoying? How dare you come to me at this hour with “Daddy, can I have some Rice Krispies?” (I think the birds in the morning are really just singing for caffeine. There must be trace amounts in pine nuts and dogwood berries.)

Important decisions are made over coffee. Revolutions are begun.

“The first literary reference to coffee being drunk in North America is from 1668 and, soon after, coffee houses were established in New York, Philadelphia, Boston and other towns,” according to the International Coffee Organization’s  website.

“The Boston Tea Party Of 1773 was planned in a coffee house, the Green Dragon. Both the New York Stock Exchange and the Bank of New York started in coffeehouses in what is today known as Wall Street.” (See more at ico.org/coffee_story.asp.)

Some of my happiest memories from the salad days back in college involve coffee. There was this little place on Front Street in Marietta, Ohio, (home of Marietta College) called the Penny University Coffee House. They called it that because when coffee houses first gained popularity in England, artists, writers, philosophers and politicians would gather there to hash out all the important issues and challenges of the day. For a penny – the cost of a cup of coffee – one could get a fine education.

The ICO’s article “The Story of Coffee” tells it like it is:

“The importance of coffee to the world economy cannot be overstated. It is one of the most valuable primary products in world trade, in many years second in value only to oil as a source of foreign exchange to producing countries. Its cultivation, processing, trading, transportation and marketing provide employment for hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Coffee is crucial to the economies and politics of many developing countries; for many of the world’s Least Developed Countries, exports of coffee account for more than 50 percent of their foreign exchange earnings. Coffee is a traded commodity on major futures and commodity exchanges, most importantly in London and New York.”

Marriages, employee harmony, international trade: all hang in the balance where there’s any interruption in the flow of coffee. Lord help us all if the South America ever halts its trade of coffee. If there ever is a World War III, it may be over crude and coffee.

Do your duty. The world is watching. Have a cup of coffee.

We’re depending on you.


Dan Friend, a former Panhandle newspaper reporter and editor, now teaches English just over the state line in Virginia.

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