Today I want to bring you a little coffee history. I was reading Starbucked by Taylor Clark and one of the stories he tells about the history of coffee in America caught my eye. I thought I’d share it with you. But first, a little background (I promise there is a point to this story—it just takes a little while to get there).
I don’t know how many of you grew up drinking coffee before Starbucks became popular. It may be that for most of you, you never cared about coffee before the big green apron came along. I didn’t drink much coffee myself until fairly recently. To be honest, I don’t know if I ever went into a Starbucks before 2002. Growing up, I had an occasional cup after church (a Methodist tradition) maybe once a year, but I was never really what you would consider a coffee drinker. During high school, I remember some older friends telling me that there was no way anyone could make it through college without drinking coffee. They were wrong about at least one person.
My own personal connection with coffee really began in 2001 on a trip to Italy. While staying at a hostel (Casa Olmata) in Rome, we were given a ticket for a complimentary breakfast—a cappuccino and a croissant—at a nearby bar (café) that was across the street from Santa Maria Maggiore. We found the bar about 8am and walked in, a little unsure of ourselves. It was my first trip to the country and I couldn’t speak much Italian. We handed the tickets to the barista and he immediately set to work on the drinks. I stood there waiting, looking around and taking in everything around me.