“You can’t open a book about coffee, no matter what tone it takes, without reading a global story”
You can’t open a book about coffee, no matter what tone it takes, without reading a global story. Whatever else the current crisis may be teaching us, the one certain thing is that self-sufficiency is a non-solution to our suffering. None of us are sufficient, since none of us are complete selves, and what is true of each of us is true of every nation. Whether you pursue coffee as the ideal recreational drug from Istanbul hookah lounge to Ethiopian hideaway or see its dark track of exploitation from Salvadoran plantation to Detroit assembly line, you are inexorably led into stories that go everyplace on earth. On our tightly connected planet, it is impossible to sustain the policy of spite stores and their isolating spiral of envy. What happens here happens there. A bat may infect a pangolin in Wuhan, and the world shuts down. No café is an island and no latte can be Larry’s alone. In these times, it’s a lesson worth remembering.
Adam Gopnik, “Black, No Sugar”, The New Yorker (27 April 2020), 66.