Posted by: Calmseas (Mike) | February 22, 2009

Smell The Coffee!

Coffee BeansOne of the most indelible memories from my early childhood is the smell of fresh brewing coffee. Often when I open a new bag of coffee beans nowadays—or as I’m grinding those beans to a perfect powder, or as the brew is being drawn from that wonderful, fresh grind—I am carried by the aroma back to a simpler time of life, to a much more sheltered, secure place. As with most kids, however, I never actually drank the coffee in those days. I didn’t care at all for the taste, but the wonderful incense of that fresh coffee was an enchantment.

I didn’t begin to drink coffee until I went away to college. That first year away, I had an early morning class followed by an hour break before the next class. The student union was just across the street from the classroom building, and a few friends and I would take that hour and sit in the cafeteria there discussing music theory or philosophy and, of course, drinking coffee. When I first began to drink coffee, I took it heavily creamed. I liked the taste of coffee, just not “straight up.” I don’t recall that I ever used sugar, but throughout my college experience there was always cream or milk in the cup.

After college, I began to drink my coffee black, though I did not discriminate much between types of coffee, brand names, or even quality. And so it went for a number of years. One day, I discovered that there was, indeed, a difference between coffees, and I began to buy only premium coffees, mainly blends of various types.

So we arrive at today. I will never buy a mass-produced variety of coffee; I even shy away from private premium blends. Today I go for straight-bean coffee, and I am in search of the best in the world. From Sumatra to Kenya, from Ethiopia to Hawaii, from Columbia to Honduras and Guatemala, I can’t get enough of great coffee, and I will never give up my quest for the best. In my fifty-plus years on the planet, I have gone from a distinct dislike of coffee, to a connoisseur of the best of the best.

Coffee, I think, can in some ways be an analogy for life. As we mature, we begin to appreciate things more and more, often things that we paid no attention to whatever in our younger years. And as we get older, we begin to place great value on things that we previously had only mildly appreciated. Many of the mundane things of our youth eventually become treasures of our middle age. But it takes many years of experiences and growth to finally recognize those treasures for what they are.

By the time that many of us arrive at our 50s, we have truly become connoisseurs of life, and we are focused on the quest for the best of the best that life has to offer. We achieve a fullness of life; we have found its transcendent meaning, not at all unlike finding coffee perfection after a lifetime of refining our taste. Like the best coffee in the world, we have grabbed hold of the greatest treasures of life, and we never want to let go.


The best coffees in the world:

Leelanau Coffee Roasting Company (order the Kenya)

Coffee Ambassadors (order the Guatemala) — more to come about Coffee Ambassadors



  1. I’ve a girlfriend who frequently travels to Jamaica and always brings me back a gift of Blue Mountain coffee. It’s very good. But have you tried Civet coffee (Kopi Luwak)?

    I haven’t, and at several hundred dollars a pound, nor am I likely to.

    So it goes with coffee beans and my life; I may aspire to greatness but usually just end up shopping @ Wal-Mart.


  2. I’ve had Jamaican Blue Mountain; that is a great coffee!

    I’ve not tried Civet: Do you know where to get it!

    I’ve had several other suggestions from family and friends, too, in the last day since this post went up (I also publish the blog on my Facebook site where I annoy my family and friends). 🙂

  3. I think an Internet search may locate sources for the Kopi Luwak coffee, but at that price I’d want to be sure I had a reputable vendor. I’ve heard there are restaurants that offer it for over $30 a cup (no free refills!).

    It’s probably just as well it’s so pricey; I’m not sure I’m sophisticated enough to really appreciate critter-poo coffee.

    I kept a busy MySpace page for several years and registered for Facebook once upon a time (but never used it). Now I’m not sure how I’d find the time to keep up with everything. As it is, I can only manage to write a little in the off-season. I think Jamie’s relieved I don’t pester the bejabbers out of her on MySpace anymore. LOL

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