05 August 2008

The Coffee Host(ess): Social Aspects of Coffee

We've heard it often: people offering guests coffee while they chat, a cup of coffee after a meal, inviting a love interest to get a cup of coffee. There is also the reference to a "coffee break" in an office setting, allowing employees to take a break to have the drink, perhaps allowing the caffeine to recharge them for the rest of the day.

The social aspect of coffee may have originated with the social norm of offering food and drink to visitors and travelers to express hospitality. Though much of society has changed, coffee is still offered to visitors; my grandmother, for example, makes a fresh pot of coffee every time her doorbell rings. (If her home doesn't smell like coffee, they're usually on vacation!) Offering a warm drink to company is a sign you, as host(ess) want your guest to be comfortable, feel welcome, and share in what you have at your home.

The first coffee house was opened in the 18th century, and created a central place for people to go and drink coffee for the pleasure of drinking coffee, as well as the public social aspect of coffee-drinking. Since then, coffee has become a common part of social culture, popularized by literature, art, and Friends, as well as the increasing popularity of Starbucks.

Now coffee is often used as a medium for conversation. If friends meet up after having been away for a period of time, their first instinct is often to get a cup of coffee and "catch up."

According to Positively Coffee:
Coffee not only gives us an increased sense of pleasure, and enjoyment of life, but this in turn makes us more than ready to indulge in that most human of activities – social interaction – the sharing of experiences, and the simple but enduring pleasure of enjoying each other's company and conversation.
Thanks to the development of coffee as a social activity, coffee itself has developed. Instead of simply regular or decaf, coffee-drinkers can choose from a wide variety of coffee drinks (or non-coffee drinks) at coffee houses, satisfying their specific tastes while still adhering to the social norm of getting coffee with friends or coworkers.

So the next time you're around, give me a call and we'll get some coffee!

1 comment:

  1. I often bring friends down to the local coffee shop and convince them to get a french press or two. The one day four of us split about 6 of them. I usually try to get them to find the flavors of each (such as fruity, nutty, earthy, etc.)

    I usually get surprise statements like "Wow, this one has a lemony taste to it" or "I didn't know that there was so much to drinking coffee."

    I on the other hand prefer more ethereal decriptions like "this tastes like a spring morning" or "just like the last rays of a setting sun."


Add a little caffeine to my life...