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America’s Coffee Culture Enters the New Java Millenium

The American coffee craze enters the new millenium.
As I sip my extra hot, nonfat vanilla latte I realize that my Chico State University days are now just a faded, distant memory. Seven years have passed and the late night cramming sessions while sipping tepid mochas served by vapid-looking grungesters in Café Maxx are just a hazy blur. I am now entering the New Java Millenium.

Recently, I thought about my most favorite research paper I wrote in college. I was an American Studies minor and for an American I wrote about “America’s Coffee Culture.” The project still burns brightly in my caffeinated brain. What’s happened to America’s coffee culture? I am slowly realizing that America has entered the Millenium and the java culture has boomed without me.

As we move into the ‘00s, America’s coffee culture literally spills into our every day lives. The most recent jab at the modern coffee scene was depicted in the campy, independent mock-u-mentary film, Best in Show. A whiny, yuppie couple details how they met at Starbucks. Actually, he frequented one Starbucks while she clacked away on her laptop at the Starbucks across the street. The hilarious dialogue of their soy latte whipped frappes and extra hot double “capps” made me laugh. Best in Show’s satirical diatribe on Starbucks accurately depicts coffee culture influence amongst Millenium suburbanites.

Not only am I a certifiable java junkie but I make it a point of observing other java addicts in their natural habitats: lurking in coffeehouses and other eateries where a cup of joe is the beverage of choice. As a teenager, I thought coffee was for older people. As I stare vacantly ahead in line at Starbucks, I watch in amazement as Britney Spears-esque girls order double espressos and then shoot them down without batting an eye. Didn’t their parents warn them that coffee stunts their growth? I guess not. I didn’t know teenagers were drinking coffee these days.

Although, there are still many tried and true coffee drinkers that stick with their Maxwell

House and instant Folgers and steer clear of “froofy” drinks, as my father affectionately coins espresso drinks. My dad would be one of the lingering breeds of “black coffee” drinkers. Although, my dad has caught up with the java elite and he now frequents Starbucks on a regular basis. Even my father has given into the Millenium’s coffee culture.

The other coffee phenomenon that is catching on quickly is the cyber café. You can grab a latte and then catch up with your email. The conception of the cyber café depicts where our fast-paced, techno-culture is taking us: where two addictions (coffee and the Internet) are coupled together in the most sinful of relationships. The marketing concept is brilliant and appeals to those who need to satiate both addictions in one quick fix.

The other fascinating trend that reflects our current culture is the obsession with healthy coffee alternatives. My mother is a prime example. She is very health-conscious and has to watch her dairy intake. Her favorite concoction is a decaffeinated soy latte. Soy? When I was in college, soy wasn’t even invented (well, it was but I think it was used to feed livestock). With the influx of America’s healthy habits, coffee establishments offer milk substitutes such as soymilk. Also organic, chemical-free coffee beans are sold and served in coffeehouses which again reflects America’s health consciousness.

As my caffeine buzz fades and I log on to my computer, I reminisce and try to conjure up the good old days of America’s coffee culture…ah, when a mocha was a mocha and Starbucks was a new concept. It looks like I need to wake up, grab my soy latte, and join America’s coffee culture at the cyber cafes. Welcome to the New Java Millenium.

About the Author

Therese Pope is a non-profiteer fundraiser by day and a freelance writer and poet by night. Her works have been published in various e-zines and literary anthologies. She is a yoga fiend with a penchant for writing with latte in hand. She resides in Sacramento, Calif.



Written by: T Pope

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