Monday, March 11, 2013

Coffee, coffee, coffee. Review. "Coffee - Philosophy for everyone"

After reading "Sisterhood of Dune" I decided to read something completely different. I was enjoying a nice Starbucks' Grande medium roast while browsing the nook bookstore so for lack of inspiration half jokingly I entered inn the search box the word "coffee". One of the results was "Coffee - Philosophy for Everyone" (beautiful tagline: "Grounds for debate") edited by Scott F. Parker,  Michael W. Austin and Fritz Allhoff. The title and sample were interesting enough to give me the reason to spend some time on the book. I was looking for a simple reading that would have not taught me anything and I felt pretty sure that I was in for a good time waster.
Oh my, I was wrong. Big time. This little book has a lot to offer without pretending to be a positive substitute for your deep daily Plato readings or of your local coffee guru.
In just a few pages not only I learned to look differently at Folgers but also philosophical - mostly existentialist - concepts that might be of interest or at least that should be known.
"Coffee - Philosophy for Everyone" is composed by several essays written by different authors that more or less define themselves as philosophers. I am not sure they are what they claim, but every single piece gives some food for thought.

The book discusses about many topics, from the reasons why coffee shops are what they are, why philosophers prefer to hang put at coffee shops rather than Irish pubs, what determines the quality of coffee (or lack of it), and the importance of self sustainable growth mixed with fair trade.
The book stresses a lot the importance of fair trade up to the point of making the subject slightly repetitive and boring, but it's a price I was very willing to pay for everything else that can be read in the pages of this collection.
I am quite sure that readers will find something of value in it, especially if one is willing to meditate as much as possible over a cup of coffee.
As for myself, being an avid coffee drinker, I ended up believing I can enjoy discussions with Aristotle or Thomas Aquinas, provided the black drink is on the table.
The book is part of a series on philosophy edited by Fritz Allhoff; I am not familiar with the other books of the series and I do not plan to read any of those. 
One thing is certain. As one essay rightfully teaches to us if you wake up in the middle of the night the question in your mind should not be "what is the purpose of the Universe?" but "should I cut my caffeine intake?".

And here's one for coffee lovers:

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