For Roasters & Retailers

Coffee, art, conversation go together Right brew enhances everyday life

Rotorua’s newest establishment, the Arts Village Cafe, has really kicked into life, where art exhibitions are now enhanced with intoxicating wafts of coffee and conversation.

There’s no doubting the significant stature of coffee in our times, with much of modern society needing that essential morning shot.

So crucial, that some even claim it is the sole prerequisite for being able to form words into sentences, dress oneself or even play nicely with others.

For many, the day does not actually start without being properly caffeinated, and that without coffee, there would simply be chaos and darkness.

“A double dark French roast with a triple espresso shot and a vigorous slap, please,” they might well ask.

Aha, caffeine – the world’s most widely consumed psychoactive drug.

A shot of caffeine delivers an energising effect – a stimulant that in moderate doses may even have some health benefits.

I’ve heard it said that a yawn is in fact a silent scream for coffee.

So who to blame for this modern coffee addiction, where some even profess that their blood type has turned from ‘A positive’ to ‘Mountain Roast?’ Or encourages the wearing of T-shirts that read ‘half human, half coffee.’

Seems we might point the finger at Sheik Omar, a healer who was once exiled to a desert cave in the middle of the Yemen centuries ago.

According to ancient chronicles, the starving Omar chewed berries from nearby shrubbery but found them to be nasty and bitter.

He tried roasting the seeds to improve the flavour, but they became too hard. To soften the seed he tried boiling them, which resulted in a fragrant brown liquid.

Upon drinking the liquid Omar was revitalised and sustained for days.

As stories of this ‘miracle drug’ reached Mocha, Omar was invited back home and in turn made a saint.

Inventing coffee earns sainthood. No surprises there.

Later would come the coffee houses and cafes providing patrons a place to congregate, talk, read, write, entertain or just pass the time.

The first English cafe was set up in the 1600s by an enterprising bloke named Jacob. It didn’t take long to realise that people wanted more than just coffee – it was also about congregation and conversation.

Only a few years later more than 3000 coffee houses sprung up across England, as heading off to a cafe became the essential thing for civilised folk to do.

Then, back in the late 1930s, an Italian chap named Achille invented the espresso machine and the world would never be the same.

Enter Jerry, Gordon and their mate Zev – three American college students roasting and selling coffee beans for a few extra dollars back in the early 70s. This well-known company and franchise would eventually go on to have some 16,600 stores in more than 40 countries.

But coffee’s latest enterprise has an extra special ingredient to provide a truly winning combination. Check out the new Arts Village Cafe to enjoy inspirational art, conversation and coffee. Now that certainly sounds like the trifecta.

Marc Spijkerbosch is the public arts adviser for the Rotorua Lakes Council.


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