History, that past-tense of time, has a way of marking each of us. We take in experiences each day, see, hear and do things. We live in world, experience the present, ponder the future, discover the past full of legend and lessons and lore. And each day, each of these things we take in, leaves on us a mark.
A mark of love, a mark of sadness, a mark of pain, a mark of joy; sometimes so small we hardly take notice, sometimes so great we carry it with us forever. It may be something physical, a scar or a broken bone from an accident one day. On another, it may be something emotional, a touching story or a connection that moves us on a deeper level. But each day that passes, we add to those marks upon us.
Now what does all this have to do with coffee? Well, it has to do with a love for the bean. The coffee bean that is.
As a Starbucks partner, I began my journey relatively un-marked by anything significant in coffee. Sure, I drank the occasional latte, but sweet Chai Tea was really more my thing. I took little or no consideration for coffee itself – the varieties, the origins, the farmers who painstakingly grow and harvest each ripe cherry. But as I reflect today, at the beginnings of a second Coffee Master journey, I realize just how marked by coffee, by a love for the bean, my life has become. How else would I know and appreciate the fact that that it takes one, whole, healthy coffea arabica tree to produce enough beans to make a single, roasted pound? Or that without an inquisitive goat-herder and a group of observant monks, coffee may have never been discovered in Ethiopia circa 850 AD? Or that Brazil is one of the world’s largest coffee producers only because of a love-affair between a Brazilian Lieutenant Colonel and the wife of then-French Guinea Governor, who secretly gave the Lieutenant Colonel a gift of fertile coffee seeds as a good-bye?
It is through coffee, through Starbucks, that I have become “marked by a love for the bean, ” seven simple yet somewhat magical words that adorn the front of the Coffee Master journal. A simple statement, yes, but one that I felt warranted a moment of reflection at the beginning of this journey. And so I ask, what are you marked by?
I am marked by a love for the bean.