The Language of MACS’ Coffee

Sharing coffee at Stella’s Café at MACS in the piazza is far more than lining up for caffeine hit from a chain outlet. It’s about talking and forging friendships when people get together and savour that fragrant, fresh aroma and flavour that’s freed from excellent ground coffee.

When thinking about drinking coffee as a lifestyle, Krystal D’Costa points out that drinking coffee offers us a way to look at our relationship to the larger world. https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/anthropology-in-practice/the-culture- of-coffee-drinkers/

She makes the distinction between morning coffee drinkers and those seeking a coffee. The Morning coffee lovers keep on the move, bustling with all kinds of busyness like reading morning papers.  On the other hand, those in need of a coffee might be sluggish; their alertness of the world around them sadly downgraded; their slow mobility might reflect their state of mind.

Then Deb Killalea could well be right when she claims that life is too short to drink bad coffee. http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/food/the-seven-deadly-coffee-sins-your-barista-commits/news-story/ffbd0b0c5a57b897223ab6303d913b31

For her, a barista’s good looks don’t cut it when it comes down to “the sin” of making an ordinary coffee. After all, an individual wants their coffee to be individual, like having it hot enough, using the right milk, making sure that the milk’s not burnt or creating a magnificent froth. Not to speak of expecting a delicious, exotic taste that lingers on the palate. It’s a far cry from the 1970’s when coffee was bland and insubstantial with no specialty coffee in sight as anthropologist William Roseberry (1996) reports. https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/anthropology-in-practice/the-culture-of-coffee-drinkers/

Then there’s those pesky baristas out there with bad attitude who won’t listen to individual customer orders.  They haven’t got the message that a customer’s coffee order comes from the “me” factor—does my coffee reflect me, does my coffee match my lifestyle? Will I like how it tastes? Instead these baristas fly into grumpy mode and there’s a shameless display of eye rolling when it someone “difficult” orders something different like wanting skinny milk or a weak strength.

But this certainly isn’t the case with our barista-trained, friendly MACS’ volunteers and staff in Stella’s. They will happily prepare a range of coffees from the regular types such as cappuccino, expresso, flat white or latte to more specialty coffees such as affogato—a scoop of vanilla gelato or ice cream topped or “drowned” with a shot of hot espresso. All these can be blissfully enjoyed alfresco or inside. It’s about being offered a coffee that’s personal and accessible, a style for every lifestyle.

The MACS’ Hotel Services manager, Rob Fraser reveals that the secrets of the perfect expresso are in the beans. In particular, he watches for the age, origin, consistency of grind, roasting temperature and the origin of the bean. Along with this, he offers at Stella’s homemade, appealing snacks. These include baklava, continental vanilla slice, cheesecake, toasted ciabatta, focaccia, Turkish bread, quiches and rocket salad.

Older coffee lovers might even be comforted by recent research that talks up the case for caffeinated coffee. It has shown that elderly persons found that caffeine improves attention span, psycho-motor performance and cognitive function. All these bonuses surely trigger a sense of well-being. It appears that caffeine can reverse the effects of cognitive ageing by stimulating the energy resources of persons who are elderly and over seventy years of age. http://coffeeandhealth.org/topic-overview/coffee-and-age-related-cognitive-decline/

But whatever anyone’s take on coffee, drinking at Stella’s as a social hub, brings culture around coffee and coffeehouses back from earlier days. Coffeehouses in Western Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean were traditionally communal hubs, as well as artistic and intellectual centers as in Paris and London. Somehow, the question of looking forward to our coffee like nothing else fades into the distance. It seems overpowered by the idea that good social connections, fuelled by great coffee are still creating a strong sense of well-being.

And perhaps we could go so far to say that sharing coffee at Stella’s is a distinct, non-verbal language that lays the firm foundations for thriving togetherness between individuals.

Stella’s Café is open Monday – Friday 9am-1.30pm, Weekends 9am-3pm. Residents, Home care consumers, visitors, family members and staff are always welcome.

Other resources

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/anthropology-in-practice/the-culture-of-coffee-drinkers/

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