The difficult days we all have and the terror of the coronavirus have violently changed our lives. The given, reassuring day-to-day life has inevitably fallen on the ice, because our priorities have changed dramatically and, above all, protecting public health and human life is paramount..
How is our favorite habit, coffee, affected by the spread of a global pandemic?
Coffee is much more than a drink
The fact is that coffee is much more than just a drink. Almost all over the world, from the Arab countries to the Mediterranean and from the Americas to Northern Europe and Asia, coffee is almost synonymous with extroversion, sociality and relaxation.
All coffee cultures, despite their vast differences, are built around a common trait: coffee is a beverage made to shared. In Italy, espresso bars are the main meeting and chatting spot, in Greece older and more recent cafes are the number one outlet for all ages, genders and social classes, in Ethiopia coffee brewing is a sign of love and affection, in Scandinavia, coffee break is regulated and applies to all employees, in the Middle East people are drinking their coffee at the bazaars. There is not a single country in the world where coffee culture dictates solitude and introversion.
As the coronavirus crisis has violently changed our lives, the first area that has been affected is social contacts. Restricting gatherings is the first and absolutely necessary measure to stop the spread of coronavirus - and this naturally changes the way we enjoy our coffee.
In the days of the necessary blockade to prevent the spread of COVID - 19, coffee from moment to moment became a solitary habit. The suggestion of "let's meet for a coffee", these small daily reminders of friendship, sociality, love and close bonds, have remained meaningless - for as long as needed.
Coffee is a carrier of human civilization
We may not realize it at first sip, but our coffee hides hundreds of years of human civilization - with its good and its bad. A sip of espresso has inside the trade routes, technological developments, discoveries and explorations, social upheavals and changes, colonialism and slavery, something of the refinement of Italy and the sweat of the farmer in Mexico, Guatemala and Brazil. It's not "a coffee". It's many, many more.
Still, for a cup of coffee to reach us, it employs a chain of millions of people around the world. From the producer in Java or Uganda, to the carrier and packer, and from there to the Italian blender and roaster, to the Scandinavian graphic designer, to the American wholesaler, to the Greek retailer or to the barista, millions of people work endleslly. And this, despite the insurmountable difficulties, this will continue to happen. It is, after all, the most popular beverage in the world, and the most valuable product after oil.
What should we do?
The situations we are experiencing are unprecedented. The effects on health, the economy and everyday life will certainly be severe. At the same time, there is an even more insidious threat of the coronavirus: the psychological burden of uncertainty, fear, insecurity in all areas, isolation. In this context, it is important to maintain as many elements of "regularity" as our reality allows. What we're going through is a break - it's not the end.
We shall continue to enjoy our coffee on our own, we continue to add flavor and aroma to our daily routine. We shall shop remotely online, adhering to safety measures for employees and customers, moving (as far as possible) the economy, creatively filling our hours discovering new recipes, maintaining habits that make us happy, however small and petty they may seem.
Coffee in the age of coronavirus
What happens to us, no matter how much it scares us, is an unpleasant break from our lives. It's not the end. We will come out stronger and wiser than all this, and soon we will be back for our "coffee" appointments. Courage, patience, solidarity and dedication to expert advice. We Shall Overcome!