Friday, July 17, 2020

Coffee and Consistency

One thing about Pike Place blend at Starbucks, it is the same on Navy Pier in Chicago as it is in Paducah KY. Consistency is a marketing characteristic of Starbucks and numerous food and beverage retailers. These establishments offer nothing extraordinary but it is consistently acceptable. Consistency is key.

My youthful sense of smell enjoyed the aroma of perking coffee while my taste buds had a vastly different opinion.  During college my palate's perspective changed. I have enjoyed an ongoing relationship with coffee including a stint as a barista. A variety of brewing methods, espresso based drinks, and countless customers broadened my appreciation of what began as fragrances emitted from a white Corningware stove top percolator. Changes in tastes, perspectives, and awareness were key.

In our present predicament of pandemic and politics , consistency is becoming a battleground.  "I cannot trust anything they say." "That person flip-flops like a fish out of water." Such are the statements that direct us to think in binary (involving 2) ways. Inconsistency becomes synonymous with wrong. Thus consistent is right and inconsistent is wrong.  The pandemic originating by a novel coronavirus has become a flash point in the debate. We forget this virus is new as we think that it has been a part of our lives for years. (novel=new, detected in late 2019). Wearing or not wearing mouth and nose covering has become a benchmark defining judgement, political affiliation, and personal freedom. We forget the scientific method which has produced so much for human betterment is founded on consistent trials and tests to uncover new insights and further knowledge. (The earth is not flat after all!) Do we view cancer treatment, oil extraction, or food options from a 1965 perspective? If consistency is foundational for every aspect of life we would not have the life we live today.

Jesus shares a story about two sons. The father asks the first to go to work in the vineyard. The son says, "NO!" After some thought he changes his mind and goes to work. The father asks the same of the second. His response is, "Yup. I will get right to it." This son never gets close to the vineyard. (Matthew 21.28-32) The point being made is that changing one's mind in response to new information, the needs of others, and respect for what we have received is not only acceptable but expected. As I have come to understand through time, it is better to examine and discover what is right and do it than to believe I am right in the midst of prevailing evidence and not change.

Place the percolator on the wood burning stove. Plug in and pour water into the reservoir of the Keurig. Gently pour in a circular motion 200 degree water over the grounds on top of the Chemex. It matters little which method you use. What matters is enjoying the coffee, the people with whom you share it, and the life given for another day. Outlook, response, respect, and gratitude are key as change continues.

If you have interest, I have video reflections posted on YouTube.

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