How to Think About Coffee

By Andrew R. Duckworth

Photo and editing by Andrew R. Duckworth
A few minutes to spare
On a work day
And someone starts talking to me
About coffee.
So, I ask their favorite brand.
No brand.
Get it from the region.
The best, he said, comes from Guatemala.
I wouldn’t know.
I’ve been drinking coffee from shops
For I can’t remember how long.
I barely gave it any thought
About where it comes from,
The hands that harvested.
And, for a moment, I felt a little ashamed,
Because the most I knew about coffee
Was a few countries and a few chains.
I loved Italian coffee.
When I was in Italy,
I had it a few times here and there,
From Rome to Sorrento.
I’ve had a few brands in the States
That came from Italy.
It tastes different.
I dare not even wonder why.
But it has me wondering who.
Who harvested?
Whose farm?
Tree or bush?
I don’t suppose that coffee
Grows itself,
Magically falls out of the bush,
Lands itself in a can or sack
And transports itself to market.

There’s this coffee that they take from
Animal excrement.
I can’t remember where,
But elephants come to mind.
Apparently, it’s very expensive.
Can’t imagine it tastes all that great.
It won’t be the first on my list to try.

I had always heard that Central America
Was the place to get coffee.
But that was the extent of it.
I wonder how to get coffee
That comes right off the farm,
Single origin,
I don’t know if I’ll ever think
About coffee the same way.

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