I heard it said once that the rise of popularity in coffee happened to coincide with the industrial revolution. Seeing that the previous drink of choice in the developed world was ale, I am inclined to see a connection there.
We certainly have more coffee options at a higher level of quality than 20 years ago when the options were primarily can A or can B. Food technology has made its way into coffee as well. I'm not sure why I would want a coffee with EXTRA caffiene added. Why not just have another cup of coffee?
A similarly disturbing influence of technology on coffee is the rise of flavored coffees. This is something of a misnomer as coffee ALREADY has flavor! That aside, it is all too common to find vanilla or hazelnut coffee along side the french roast (be careful where you set your cup!). Another way to get that addtional flavor in the cup is non-dairy creamers. This really blows off the roof in flavor options. Last check, coffee mate offers 51 options for flavored and unflavored, powder and liquid non-dairy creamers. I have to admit, this stuff can make a horrible cup of coffee moderately tolerable, but I'd rather just have a good cup of coffee. I particularly don't want caramel apple or black cherry streusel creamer in my coffee.
Now I must admit, I've walked into a Starbucks on several occasions and been tempted by the mocha gingerbread peppermint nutmeg chai vanilla cinnamon latte. I've always regretted the decision, but flavor combinations can be interesting. If you're a lover of these things, do yourself a favor. Pick up a couple bottles of Torani and go crazy. You can even get tiny bottles to try the flavor before you splurge on the $5 larger bottle. There are more than 60 flavors available and even more if you count the sugar-free versions. Then you can put your favorite flavors in other things too and you can put real milk or cream in your coffee as well.
Also, nice ceramics from Laura Zindel
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