Thursday, January 13, 2005

Don't know if "dooced" has caught on, but...

Turns out there is a word for the flack resulting from online activities.

Fired because of your blog? Dooced.
Estranged from your family after they discover your online journal? Dooced.
Friends hate what you say on your website. Dooced?

The source of the term is when Heather B. Armstrong got fired in 2002 because her bosses didn't like what was on her website, (still operating, if you care)

The urban dictionary carries the evolving contributions to online lingo.


Speaking of learning, I went to a big coffee shindig last night. Not merely drinking- oh, no-but hearing from people who understand the geopolitics of the coffee trade, the financial and savory ramifications of different origins, how to sniff out the over 1000 compounds that make coffee such a seductive elixir, and how to create the perfect cup of homebrew. And there was free stuff- like pounds of fabulous coffee!

It's fascinating to me because the beginning of the coffee story is tiny: a farmer who may have as few as 30 trees or a person who scavenges ripe beans from plants that grow wild. There may be local processing by the harvesting persons themselves or an aggregated treatment, but the beans will migrate through co-ops and associations, sometimes governments or even drug lords, to find their way to the New York Coffee Exchange. How convenient for me!

Here the coffee is cupped (tasted) and the stockpiled beans purchased on contract by the companies who fill the supermarket cans, the boutiques who fill the bags, and the cafes that roast their own. Need I mention the untold intricacies of blending and roasting? All the options in grinding? And which method will be used to brew? The perfect pull of a espresso shot? A latte with artwork? Perhaps Drip fantastic from a calibrated instrument, not merely a "machine." Maybe the French Press is best. For those enraptured, the chain of tweaks are as endless and intense as for any other hobbyist/fanatic/clinically obsessed subgroup.

But coffee, the second most traded commodity after oil, fulfills its destiny in each person's cup, as one single, sensual experience. From micro to macro to micro again. Coffee's international, dynamic, and complex, but it depends on individuals in every part of the chain. It's not nearly as automated and systematized as other commodities favored for their homogeneity, and differentiation's still on the rise. Coffee remains hands on trees and beans in bags and flames and water. It retains an elemental quality because its growth and harvesting, grading, blending and roasting are still human, seasonal, small-scale functions. While the unique origin and sometimes even part of its long journey is written into the aroma and flavor.

I think my next thriller will be in the modern world of coffee. And now I know a couple people to talk to about it.

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