I’m fed up with coffee shops

coffee2_interiorWhat is it about us that makes us willing to stand in line for an eternity at a coffee shop just to get a cup? Actually, I’m not really sure what to call those establishments, as they’re part Internet cafe, part hang-out joint, and part public restroom. It seems that people do everything there except drink coffee. And the baristas do everything except make coffee.

I understand, of course, that coffee is an important part of world culture. I reflect fondly on the thick, pungent smell of a single-cup brew while sitting in a cafe in Old Saigon… or chewing on the grinds of the sludgy, potent brew that collected at the bottom of a razor-thin demitasse cup in Istanbul… or throwing down a piping hot espresso while my change is still rattling on the stainless steel counter in Rome (or anywhere in Italy).

That’s not to say all the coffee I’ve had has been good. A ‘good brew’ in Kunsan City consisted of hot water, a packet of Nescafe, and an odd look (tea being the preferred beverage there). A simple order of a cup of joe in Dubai was a major event, complete with napkins, waiters, and after-drink chocolates.

So why are the majority of the coffee experiences here in the U.S. so miserable?  We’ve perfected the production line for growing and harvesting the coffee bean, and yet we still have to wait an hour for our espresso order to go through. It surely doesn’t help that the menu board of a coffee place reads like the periodic table.

That settles it: I’m going on a coffee shop/place/cafe fast and putting the money I save into the poor box.

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Laurance Alvarado is a senior director with a prominent New York-based international turnaround and restructuring firm and the board chairman of the Morley Publishing Group. Over the last 25 years, he's run consulting practices in Washington, D.C., Latin America, and the Middle East and has done business in more than 20 countries. He is active in social concerns, attends Traditional Latin Mass, and is a member of the Pinellas Schola Cantualis. He's a cycling enthusiast, commutes around Washington on a Brompton, races Porsches, and competes in anything with wheels. He's a native Texan from San Antonio and a Texas Aggie who served his country in the Air Force. He loves history, strategy, free enterprise, sailing, dogs, and -- most of all -- his bride of 18 years.

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