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Waking Up America: The Guise Of Coffee Culture And Its Harmful Effects

1794 words - 7 pages

Coffee, the bean we love. To many it is known as the magic elixir, brain juice, or nectar of the gods, while others see it as the devil in a cup. America is a country that is obsessed with its coffee, now more than ever before. Although coffee has spanned generations, the craze did not exist like it does today. According to anthropologist William Roseberry of UBC, coffee was on the decline in the 1960’s and hit an all time low in the 90’s with only half the country drinking about a cup a day (D’Costa). However, with coffee being the world’s most commonly traded commodity, second to crude oil, much money is at stake when people stop drinking it. Thus the coffee empire was rebuilt, coffee revamped, and redefined to suit the needs of the “me generation” by turning the product into an individual taste, image, and culture (D’Costa, Moore). When put into the hands of those who stood to profit, every angle of coffee was pushed and maximized until people consumed it, or in this case, bought into it. Accordingly, the coffee industry devised a very aggressive marketing strategy that appealed to every person by speaking to individual preferences with specialty coffees (D’Costa). Assertive entrepreneurs like Starbucks, dressed coffee up with exotic names and gave it its own terminology: venti, pico, plenta and for hardcore drinkers, “the quad”. They invented “the coffee experience” whereby coffee was no longer “just coffee”, but rather a “lifestyle” that continues to assert productivity at every hour-- an image that America glorifies, because in this millennium, it is how we define success (D’Costa). Placed into the hands of famous icons in films and TV shows, while associating brand names next to coffee, they generated status around this simple drink. This is how people’s perception of coffee changed, and from there, the Coffee Culture was born, a fabricated bond that unites all coffee drinkers. Their marketing was so effective, they were able to take a .75 cent cup of Jo and turn it into a $4.00 Latte overnight, without so much as a flinch (Houle). It is symbolized by a disposable cup, and surrounds us at every corner by coffee shops, and the droves of addicted coffee consumers who frequent them for convenience sake. Under the guise of Coffee Culture, our choices are being influenced such that there has been a dramatic increase in caffeine consumption and caffeinated products, with a lack of forethought to wellbeing, and sustainable disposal (D’Costa). It is imperative consumers question the impact their caffeine ritual is causing. The companies that have redefined coffee drinking in America have reinvented the way we consume it, with little regard for our health and environment.

Not only is the marketing of coffee pushing us to drink more coffee, which is hard on our health, but it is also impacting the environment because it lacks sustainable methods of disposal for both its cups and single brewing methods.

With the significant increase in consumption...

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