After oil, coffee is the world’s largest export product. Both energy sources…both born in the same regions of the world…but each with a very different history.
Modern day Ethiopia is generally considered the cradle of humanity, from where our species and eventually coffee first began to spread. Modern day Iraq is generally considered the cradle of civilization, from where oil was early discovered but did not spread. Obviously coffee can be exported; oil cannot. Oil like gold is where you find it.
There are those historians who enjoy considering the many What-Ifs in life. For instance: What if Moses, when leaving Egypt, had turned right instead of left…? Instead of the land of milk-and-honey, he would have ended up with the earth’s greatest reserves of oil. A whole new twist to the ageless Jewish/Arab conflict.
Funny how both the first coffee beans and the first oil deposits were at first considered a nuisance. Some nuisance! Today, billions of lives depend on each. Coffee for pleasure; oil for power. Yet somehow their parallel histories have taken sharply different paths. Coffee — from its exotic African origins, Middle Eastern evolution, and Latin American industries — has been shared by the world in largely peaceful fashion. Oil — on the other and bloodier hand — has become a bitter source of East/West conflict [the East has it, the West wants it].
Now there are those who speculate our world would be a more harmonious place if only we could hurry up the inevitable discovery of alternative fuels. Then there’s Starbucks — who seems to have proved there’s no alternatives to our morning cup of coffee.
Except maybe Starbuck’s next re-packaged-and-promoted rollout that oughta be hitting your supermarkets any day now. Is there a lesson in all this? Not sure. Maybe this. Both are black, but one tastes better. So rather than follow-the-money, how about we follow-the-magic….?
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