Kaffeeclatch (Coffee Talk)

by Editors


Kaffeeclatch (Coffee Talk)

by Kimberlee A. Cloutier-Blazzard

Has anyone noticed that televised ads for cheap coffee are multiplying?

Recently I’ve seen the resuscitation of Folgers and Maxwell House coffee ads on the networks, as well as pretty-darned-witty McDonald’s ads geared towards discerning coffee drinkers.  

In the McDonald’s ads, they spoof coffee house coffee as “elite” by associating its totalers with goatees, Palin-style metrosexual eyewear, speaking French and knowledge of global geography.

Is it just me, or is there a certain recession-savvy prescience among corporate America that the average consumer is about to revert to my grandparents’ favorite sport—finding the least-offensive, yet cheapest cup of coffee?

And–in a pandemic global recession–I’m afraid, over time, maybe least-offensive will even lose-out!  

Here’s a history lesson for you.  Did you ever wonder where the word “ersatz” comes from?  It means “substitute” in German and was first used in WWI to describe things like synthetic supply replacements.  

And again, in the hard economic pinch of WWII, it was regularly used to describe “replacement coffee”.   What the heck is replacement coffee?  (You’re fortunate not to know!)  Getreidekaffee or “grain coffee” was served to Allied POW’s by their German captors when real coffee supplies were scarce.  It meant coffee made from any roasted grain or bean except coffee.  Yum!  (NOT!)

Like those Allied POW’s who detested the stuff, I’m sure I’m not looking forward to “the best part of waking up”  if the global economy continues to sink.

Call me an “elitist” but you can ask me the same question in French, Dutch, or German, in Paris or Paraguay, and the answer won’t change.  A good cup of coffee is the sign of a great economy.  So, there goes “I’m lovin’ it.”  (Sigh.)

Kimberlee A. Cloutier-Blazzard, Ph.D., is a senior writer & editor of Bread and Circus Magazine and an Independent Scholar of Art History, Specializing in Northern Renaissance and Baroque. Click here to send her email.