The Power of Coffee
By Cal Orey, The Writing Gourmet
By Cal Orey, The Writing Gourmet
Ah! How sweet coffee tastes! Lovelier than a thousand kisses, sweeter far than
--J.S. Bach, Coffee Cantata(1)
|I grew up up in Suburbia--not on a Brazilian plantation.|
More than a half a century ago, I was born in a Brazilian villa sitting upon a lush green coffee tree plantation. My mother and father were third generation migrant coffee roasters. So, I grew up in an atmosphere of a tropical delight. Playing amid the magic of coffee trees with white flowers, red berries, and green beans to cups of java was part of my Coffee World. My father Jack, from
was a hard worker out in the field overseeing the coffee workers; and my mother
Patricia with Spanish roots ran a charming coffee café. That is my fantasy. Italy
In the real world as a little girl (with a big imagination) I didn’t live in
, nor was I raised surrounded
by coffee trees (actually an evergreen shrub or plant). Back in the fifties, I
was born in a suburban neighborhood in Brazil —a
place where coffee was bought in a can at the store and percolated in an
electric coffee pot. My life as I knew
it simple amid houses with white picket fences, sidewalks, and planted shrubs
and flowers. It came with two parents—my father was Scottish, my mother Irish
Catholic, two siblings, a dog and cat, and the music of the ice cream man and
milk bottles delivered on our doorstep. In our there was a European-style round
table, wall oven, dishwasher, and salmon-colored countertops. I was familiar
with the aluminum coffee pot—a constant in my parents’ world. It created a
strong, familiar coffee aroma wafting into my bedroom seven days a week,
including Sundays, the day I went to church. San
One fall day, during the priest’s sermon, I, a seven year old kid, was desperately trying to stay awake. My mother whispered, “Sit up” and nudged my arm. The words “ice cream” was my mantra to help pass the grueling prayers in Latin. After Holy Communion we were released and my mom treated me and my siblings to a local ice cream parlor.
She ordered a large cup of hot, black coffee (not the kind she served to our priest when he came to dinner). My first coffee experience was in the form of ice cream. Since it was a flavor for grown ups, I felt like I was entering the land of forbidden fruit. The cold, creamy coffee ice cream was bittersweet. The flavor intrigued me. My taste buds didn’t love it in my mind I liked it. This event began a Sunday ritual. I was hooked on coffee ice cream (maybe it was the caffeine) that ignited my journey into Coffee World.
These days, coffee has a place in my grown up life as I know it. I wasn’t raised on a coffee plantation, but coffee did have a way of permeating its way into my run-of-the-mill life in the suburbia—a place where it looked perfect but it was a place I yearned to escape to an exciting world. And I got a taste of coffee and its healing powers throughout the years of growing up and blossoming like a young coffee plant with potential to branch out and away from its farm.
Today, I sit here in my mountain cabin, like a coffee tree in a high mountain elevation, and I feel the spirit of the fruitful plant as I work on The Healing Powers of Coffee. My kitchen is chock-full of coffees—all kinds—as I scrutinize each one like they are new, exotic fish in an aquarium. I am discovering the powers of coffee, and a world I’ve called Coffee World that I want to share with you.