Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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De-Coffeeize the USA

Not completely, but mostly.
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(+3, -2)
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Now, I've been living in the US for.... 18 months or so now, and in the morning, like many millions, I face a commute. To do this, I walk 5 mins to the local convenience store, get coffee, before walking a further 10 mins to work (7 if I don't stop on the bridge to gloat at the stationary traffic).

The coffee I get is every much a make-your-own- concoction from provided ingredients. Initially, this confused me "why so many different ingredients?" I thought "surely it's just coffee, in a cup, maybe milk if you're a namby-pamby fancy Dan". Then I started to observe more closely, the various rituals employed by the locals involve slugs of French Vanilla, Half and Half, 6 packets of Splenda.... maybe a sneaky packet of real sugar at the end if no-one's looking top it off with 73ml of Hazelnut coffee, add chocolate sprinkles.... then drink a bit on the way to the cashier...with a pained expression. Explain, in small talk, that you NEED* coffee, pay, leave.

*not "want" or "enjoy"

This led to the realization: Americans don't like coffee.

Not really, not most of them, huge national delusion. I even attempted to make a "coffee" based upon my observations, it tasted quite nice, a little like I expect hot ice cream might taste.... Completely different drink though.

Now Coffee, after oil, is the most traded commodity on the planet. The US PRODUCES very little and CONSUMES more than anyone else. The balance of trade is WAY off, over 1.2 million tonnes of coffee imported per year, the average american drinking over 100 litres of the stuff.

So, what's to be done? I recommend an advertising campaign with slogans: "Do you like coffee?.... Really? It's pretty nasty on it's own isn't it? Hot, Caffeinated French Vanilla available at your local convenience store NOW!.... Find it next to the Irish Cream!!!"

And so on. Of course some Americans like coffee, I think I've met one. If that kind of number is extrapolated up, the country will need about 1/100th of the current amount, hopefully, just the really good stuff. Consequently America's balance of trade will improve and slightly less jungle will need to be cultivated.

bs0u0155, Mar 25 2013

Starbucks by the Canterbury Cathedral http://www.flickr.c...r_clanger/84460633/
Just saying [theircompetitor, Mar 26 2013]


       Even more astonishing that drinking coffee in the morning is leaving the house to walk to a shop to buy hot coffee.   

       Or, is it another displacement activity, to further remove one from the actual disgusting bitter coffiness of it?
pocmloc, Mar 25 2013

       //Hot, Caffeinated French Vanilla available at your local convenience store NOW!// The thing is, that is basically what coffee in the US is already. The caffeine is contained in 1-3oz of espresso and covered up with enough milk and sugar so that you can't taste the brown stuff. Everybody knows this, but referring to it as coffee saves everyone the embarrassment of being grown adults who can only drink something that is 50% sugar or greater.   

       I also think this "problem" is close to resolving itself. Young people drink energy drinks now so more and more of the people who drink coffee are the ones who legitimately enjoy it.
DIYMatt, Mar 25 2013

       //smoking, drunk driving, or robbing liquor stores// Interesting little grouping there.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 25 2013

       //Even more astonishing that drinking coffee in the morning is leaving the house to walk to a shop to buy hot coffee.//   

       I explained, it's on the way, there's even two doors on the shop... in one end, out the other so I don't waste time going backwards. A careful time management assesment was made around this very point. The grinding coffee, boiling water, pouring, waiting, pressing the plunger-y thing then cleaning up would easily DOUBLE my morning commute time, 12 mins per day = 72mins per week, 3600 mins per year or 60 hrs. That's a good sized chunk of a working week for the average post-doc!   

       //BUT: Well made coffee (yes, there really is such a thing) is not bitter, and some people (me!) make the good stuff and drink it straight.//   

       Oh, I know.
bs0u0155, Mar 25 2013

       You could make a very funny campaign for Coke with this. Showing people fussing over coffee, drinking it an grimacing, burning themselves, grinding beans with horrible noise, pouring boiling water into a funnel and some gets onto the floor... then someone opens a Coke and drinks.
bungston, Mar 25 2013

       They need to develop a hot Coke for, you know, winter... or alternatively the 25th of March when Philadelphia decides several hours of snow is appropriate.   

       "Try New Hot Coke.... 'cause you know it's brown sugar-water that you really want"   

       I wonder why I never went to work in advertising?
bs0u0155, Mar 25 2013

       I would love hot Coke. I'd also kill for some "original recipe" pre 1903 Coke.
DIYMatt, Mar 25 2013

       //I would love hot Coke.// If only there were a way to make such a thing.   

       Mulled Coke.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 25 2013

       If done right it would be like Sassafras tea (root beer) with a cola flavor. I think the only way it would work is if Coca Cola used much more real Kola than their regular recipe to bring out the flavor more. That would also give it a closer caffeine content to coffee making it a wonderful dessert beverage. Dang, I want some now.
DIYMatt, Mar 25 2013

       Other coffee alternatives include things similar to ovaltine, that were intentionally concocted to compete with coffee. If I were to make a serious effort to supplant coffee, I'd ditch the environmentalist committees, get a salon styled haircut and a facial, a three piece suit with some collared polyester shirts with pink in them, and a briefcase full of FACTS. I'd show up at conservative family meetings and say "we have to get serious about the future of this nation's children", until I catch the eye of an attractive political firebrand who I can utilize for her tireless effort to globalize her values and small army of fat ugly friends, leading her on with promises of marriage, but not until we can raise a family in a truly drug free world. I would work tireless hours at my desk working coffee consumption into the discourse of gateway drugs, and dependency as she and her girlfriends gossip while tending to household tasks, while I exchange sidelong lustful glances at the fittest ones. Before long small community groups who raised money at bakesales selling a delcious homemade coffee substitute will begin to picket coffee shops and draw international newsmedia. Soon the simple message that coffee is a drug will be heard around the world, and just when moderate voices assemble to denounce the madness of such temperance, a second group of prodrug advocates mostly from the marijuana lobby, but also some resilient hard drug advocates who I have also been secretly organizing will stage vocal assemblies for coffee as well as all nonpharmaceutical drugs. Meanwhile I'll be sitting in the office of a pharmacy CEO and chair of the international pharmacies, to convince them that the widespread coffee consumption is indicative and symptomatic of underlying physiological disorders that require prescriptions and not coffee. Meanwhile I've also been the secret informant to various interests in the coffee industry about the mounting effort to reduce coffee consumption and exchange envelopes full of cash for copy paper backlit by headlights in underground parking garages.
rcarty, Mar 26 2013

       I, for one, has always admitted that I don't really like coffee (except for my own special brew) but that it's truly an addiction. I also do need* it to wake up because I must get up at 5:30am when my body would normally sleep until 7 or 8. Black tea in the morning gives me heartburn whereas coffee doesn't. I don't do all that fancy stuff to my coffee- just some milk in dark espresso. I will rarely ever*buy* a coffee because they are mostly not any good except for a few places.
xandram, Mar 26 2013

       //Americans don't like coffee.//   

       Two Australian friends managed to find an out-of-the-way shop in Tallahassee, which sold actual ingredients and equipment for making your own decent tea and coffee. They had a conversation that went something like:   

       "We'd like some coffee, please."
"No, real."
"Oh ... Drip?"
"No no. Whole beans. We prefer to grind our own."
"Oh ..." (pause) "You're not from around here, are you?"
spidermother, Mar 26 2013

       Whole coffee beans of any variety are rather easily found in your local Kroger.   

       I don't really care for the flavor of coffee myself. I can go with or without it. The hazelnut cream, however...
RayfordSteele, Mar 26 2013

       Eh, whole bean coffee sells really well at grocery stores. People tend to get either instant coffee or whole bean, since anyone who brews "real" coffee usually wants the beans. Actual raw beans not so much.
DIYMatt, Mar 26 2013

       I'm enjoying - truly - my store-bought coffee as we speak. I'm very surprised to read this idea. If I were to guess at something millions of Americans claim to like but really don't, I would say "gym" or "yoga". Now those things are true epidemics.
phundug, Mar 26 2013

       Hot coke would have to have a decidedly different (less acidic) formula. That stuff, hot, will eat through teeth in almost no time.   

       Also, much of the coffee consumption in this country could be eliminated simply by removing the stigma on either soda in the morning (my choice) or popping caffeine pills at any time (seen as reserved for college students and night shift workers).
MechE, Mar 26 2013

       Let me just state that I, as an American consumer of beverages, would like one decent one, available to the mass market and in any convenience store, that I can feel good about drinking and is something other than water. Can someone get working on that, please?
RayfordSteele, Mar 26 2013

       Research suggests that most people who say they like coffee actually just like the smell of coffee, not the taste - so a way of delivering the aroma of coffee while drinking hot water it probably what you need.
hippo, Mar 26 2013

       //Hot coke would have to have a decidedly different (less acidic) formula. That stuff, hot, will eat through teeth in almost no time//   

       By the time you've heated it up, the CO2 will be out of solution, so the amounts of acid in terms of molar equivalents will be much lower.
bs0u0155, Mar 26 2013

       //Gatorade... never met anyone who doesn't like Gatorade.// But there's currently a crusade against it because it is "unhealthy". Sure, it is unhealthy if you drink it by the gallon, but so is everything else. There's also a propaganda campaign (funded by bottled water companies?) that water is the only fluid that can hydrate you and drinking anything but water during activities is suicide.
DIYMatt, Mar 26 2013

       What is a gator?
pocmloc, Mar 26 2013

       [bs0u] phosphoric acid in Coke.
FlyingToaster, Mar 26 2013

       I see someone suffering from pernicious hazelnut cream syndrome...I can't quite make out the name with these cheap cigarette butts..
not_morrison_rm, Mar 26 2013

       Neither sounds healthy to ingest.
pocmloc, Mar 26 2013

       Actually I think it's a rant, but everyone appears to be having a good time...
normzone, Mar 26 2013

       //What is a gator?//
Also a shoe, of the type favoured by pimps, post-ironic ironic types and, curiously, Methodist clergy.
calum, Mar 26 2013

       It's practically impossible to get a decent cup of coffee anywhere in the USA. Even in supposedly hip places like Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the coffee is vile, and as for Starbucks.... they're just the public toilets in a city like New York, with a coffee counter added on as an afterthought. (their cakes are equally awful - far too sweet and gungy) Pizza is good though (Stromboli's of 1st ave being the best in Manhattan, and The Brown Jug's in Chelsea, Boston a close second)
xenzag, Mar 26 2013

       I'm still waiting to sample that coffee from beans that spend a brief while as elephant dung. Maybe I'll wait a bit longer on that as I consider.   

       At least Gatorade no longer includes a flame retardant. That much energy in a drink must've been combustible or something.   

       [not morrison], I warned you about not buying those knockoff Black Russians. My hazelnut addiction is fully under control on most days.
RayfordSteele, Mar 27 2013

       // My hazelnut addiction is fully under control on most days.   

       Yeah, yeah, you could just give up anytime...<..starts rummaging around for the contact number of Hazlenuts Anonymous..   

       //Water *is* a flame retardant... <uberpedantry> from memory, if the temperature is high enough, it'd disassociate into hydrogen and oxygen</u>
not_morrison_rm, Mar 27 2013

       //Water *is* a flame retardant.//   

       Not in the presence of metallic cesium it isn't...
bs0u0155, Mar 27 2013

       As is bromine.
RayfordSteele, Mar 27 2013

       //from memory, if the temperature is high enough, it'd disassociate into hydrogen and oxygen//   

       Look, I'm sure it would, but the disassociation is endothermic. No energy is gained out of the disassociation/re-combination of the hydrogen and oxygen. In the presence of more powerful reducing compounds (I presume carbon would suffice, certainly alkali and rare earth metals) the oxygen may transpose across, but that's not news.   

       Anyhow, I'm just saying that just because a fire is hot enough to disassociate water, doesn't mean it gets to use the constituents as fuel.
Custardguts, Mar 27 2013

       Yes, that is true, but none the less a hydrogen/oxygen mix is going to be interesting when near a fire. Fires can burn stuff but they rarely explode.
not_morrison_rm, Mar 27 2013

       Yes, that is true, but none the less a hydrogen/oxygen mix is going to be interesting when near a fire. Fires can burn stuff but they rarely explode.   

       //PUBLIC smoking can affect others   

       Damn right! That's my smoke you're inhaling, it ain't cheap you know. Starts working on lung vacuuming device to retrieve the smoke from non-smoker's lungs...
not_morrison_rm, Mar 27 2013

       Hold on, rewind a bit. [DIYMatt], is root beer sassafras? I thought it was sarsaparilla. Sassafras is quite strongly carcinogenic, to the extent that we don't even consider it safe to use in shampoo. I'll Google in a sec, but if that's true, it's intriguing.
nineteenthly, Mar 28 2013

       //Well made coffee (yes, there really is such a thing) is not bitter//   

       All caffeine-containing coffee is bitter; the caffeine itself is bitter (being an alkaloid). I think the unpleasantness in badly made coffee is more likely to be astringency (from tannins), rancidity (from oxidation of the oils) and an absence of the pleasant volatiles.
spidermother, Mar 28 2013

       OK, seems a bit insane to put something in a drink which herbalists consider too hazardous even to put on the scalp.
nineteenthly, Mar 28 2013

       Wow, I never knew Sassafras was dangerous. I went to a summer camp that had Sassafras plants and we drank it every day (it was delicious and tasted like the best rootbeer you've ever had, but hot).
DIYMatt, Mar 28 2013

       // // All caffeine-containing coffee is bitter; the caffeine itself is bitter (being an alkaloid) //   

       Respectfully disagree on this as both a matter of objective fact and subjective opinion. //   

       I don't see how you can disagree. Caffeine tastes bitter, and therefore imparts a bitter taste to coffee. For example, an unmodified espresso shot tastes intensely bitter. Additives may mask or dilute the bitterness, but it's still there.   

       But bitter does not mean bad, or unpleasant. Many staple foods - marmalade, gin and tonic, coffee - are necessarily bitter.
spidermother, Mar 31 2013

       //All caffeine-containing coffee is bitter; the caffeine itself is bitter (being an alkaloid)//   

       Caffeine is indeed bitter (although not all alkaloids are). However, the bitterness in bitter coffee usually does not come predominantly from the caffeine, but from other molecules (including alkaloids and some polyols), which simply needn't be there. Some of them are breakdown products and oxidation products which are created by poor brewing. Well-brewed coffee can also contain a range of compounds which loosely sequester the caffeine and mask its bitterness. Hencetherefore, coffee can contain a full complement of caffeine without significant bitterness.   

       It's also worth noting that individual's ability to taste bitter compounds shows more genetic variation than their ability to detect sweetness, sourness etc. There are at least a few compounds which are either tasteless or bitter, depending on your genetic makeup. Thus, it wouldn't be surprising if this applied also to the bitterness of caffeine. It's not clear why this variation exists, since bitterness is often used by plants as a warning of toxicity.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 31 2013

       I stand somewhat corrected. But I've never thought "this tastes especially bitter" about bad or stale coffee; rancid, yes; flavourless, yes. Even the best espresso is bitter, as noted. Bitter is a very specific taste, and is often misused to mean unpleasant.
spidermother, Mar 31 2013

       //I stand somewhat corrected// Of course, I could have been talking bollocks. But today is my day off.   

       And even espresso needn't taste bitter, despite a high caffeine content. Again, it depends on what other compounds are in there along with the caffeine.   

       Oddly, pure caffeine dissolved in pure ethanol (to saturation - I estimate it at 1-2% w/v) doesn't taste much like either pure caffeine (thin, bitter, lingering) or pure ethanol (warm, hot, heavy). It's oddly sweet.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 31 2013

       //Oddly, pure caffeine dissolved in pure ethanol (to saturation - I estimate it at 1-2% w/v) doesn't taste much like either pure caffeine (thin, bitter, lingering) or pure ethanol (warm, hot, heavy). It's oddly sweet//   

       "Oddly Sweet" A fortifying tonic fit for the suitably intrepid. Coolies looking a little under the weather? A dash of "Oddly Sweet" will have them hauling your exploration-grade Chesterfield over the mountain pass with renewed vigour..... From the people who brought you Rentisham's.
bs0u0155, Apr 01 2013


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