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Anxiety Existence and the Coffeehouse. The Philosophers Brew. Starbucks and the Third Wave. How Good the Coffee Can. The Bean and the Golden Mean. How to Make it in Hollywood by Writing an Afterword. Droits d'auteur. He is a regular contributor to Rain Taxi Review of Books. Informations bibliographiques.

It inculcates purity and harmony, the mystery of mutual charity, the romanticism of the social order. It is essentially a worship of the Imperfect, as it is a tender attempt to accomplish something possible in this impossible thing we know as life.

Coffee - Philosophy for Everyone: Grounds for Debate

Perhaps the worst is where the mixture entirely disguises both elements, both the tea and coffee, as the colour green does in the mixture of blue and yellow. Sometimes one or the other prevails and dominates and tries to stamp out the other, even though the other is as pure and real as itself. But sometimes the mixture asserts itself agains the two extremes from which it is composed, as in the case of the drink Lincoln was given, and also in the case of green in my analogy. This was when the monotheistic God of Judaism was taken up by Christianity, which then went on to establish itself as a world religion- which was enforced about a years later, when the monotheistic God was adoped even more centrally to the new religion of Islam.

My suggestion is that the God of monotheism of Judaism, Christianity and Islam is, or was, like the drink Lincoln was served. More precisely the monotheistic God is a mixture of a belief in Nature or the whole world as God, i. But if I my suggestion is on the right track, then it would follow that, at least in the West, the monotheistic God has occluded the truly existing Gods of pantheism and polytheism, which would then offer a new way of seeing the emergence of atheism, especially in recent times- as a sign not of spiritual decline, but the very opposite.

The present interest in monistic Eastern religions in the West indicates that pantheism is being taken more seriously. And it is to be hoped that philosophers and theologians might begin to take seriously polytheism, as understood by Plato, i. Why them? Two factors: they each, but especially coffee, have a distinctive, pleasurable taste and, on account of their caffeine content, a power for mental stimulation. And as it turned out, bringing in these neglected senses enabled me to make the correlations between tea and coffee drinking, as discussed above.

Copies can also be sent at 5 euros each, including postage; or 3 euros per copy for orders of five copies and 2 euros for orders of ten copies, including postage in both cases. To obtain a copy or copies, write to Artisanphilosophy gmail. Contact dberman tcd. What Hoffmann says about sweetness is intriguing, but I wish he had said more about it, especially on pp.

I was also glad to see that, unlike most books on coffee, but not tea, he brought in retronasal olfaction p. But I wished he documented some of his claims, for example about the variable effects of grinding on taste, pp. I suppose I should also note, as I say in my book, that like many present-day coffee experts, I believe Hoffmann is prejudiced against bitterness in coffee; see p.

On the other hand, he has a huge amount of really valuable information which he communicates clearly and in a way that inspires confidence. Given my recent experience of some Robusta from Uganda, I was particularly delighted to read what he says about it on p. Once scientists began sequencing the genes, it became clear that the two species are not cousins or siblings. Instead it appears that Robusta is, in fact, a parent of Arabica. Most likely somewhere in southern Sudan, Robusta crossed with another species called Coffea euginoides and produced Arabica.

This new species spread and really began to flourish in Ethiopia, long considered the birthplace of coffee. Fascinating, but again I wish he had provided a reference to this scientific research. And in all fairness, I think we need to ask how many kinds of Robusta Mr Hoffmann has actually tasted.

If I am critical here, I hope it might encourage readers to send me their critical comments, either on my Philosophy of Coffee-Tasting or material in sections 1 and 3 of this net-based Review, for section 2. But the primary reason the blog is being set up is to examine the theory of coffee-tasting as set out in my little book, The Philosophy of Coffee-Tasting- which, with the blog, is also being launched at this time.

When David Robson contacted me initially about a talk I was about to give on the subject, he asked if I would answer three questions about my work on coffee tasting. However, before printing the letter I emailed to Robson, I need to say a word about the format of this blog and its principles, so what I think distinguishes this coffee blog. Hence I am prepared to praise some inexpensive supermarket coffees in preference to more intrinsically superior and expensive Third Wave coffees, as explained in my Philosophy of Coffee-Tasting. And yet I go along with Third Wave artisan approach, especially its emphasis on education and making the expertize gained over the years available to the interested, lay public.

I also need to note that my aim is to issue the Independent Review of Coffee-Tasting and Philosophy- or Review, for short- as if it were a printed Review, issued at regular intervals. So I intend to add and up-date it on one day each month. Like many philosophical journals, forthcoming numbers of the Review should have three sections: the first containing main articles; the second discussions; and a third reviews of books and coffees.

I welcome articles, comments, discussion, reviews of books and coffees from readers, which might be printed. These should be sent directly to me, that is my email, which is dberman tcd. So I, as editor, decide what to print in each monthly issue; so there is no concurrent discussion, as in most blogs.

The idea behind this is to slow things down and hopefully make the Review more reflective and substantial- more like the old-fashioned philosophy reviews and journals. To answer your first question about the kind of psychology I use in my work on coffee, I think I need to say a word about modern scientific psychology and the three stages it has gone through in the past hundred years, which began with [1] the introspective stage, circa ss, usually identified with Wundt, then [2] Behaviorism, ss, developed by J.

Watson, then, in the late s to the present, [3] that of cognitive-neuro. But here I also draw on psychological philosophers- especially Plato in his account of mental types in the Republic, and on Bergson, who also uses introspection, or direct experience, although he calls it intuition. And another psychologist, who has influenced me and fits into the first, Wundtian stage of psychology, but is not seen in that way, is Freud and his key idea of the Fundamental Rule in Psychoanalysis, which is that the analysand must be aware of what he directly experiences, and then express it to the analyst.

So in my study of coffee tastes- which is actually composed not just of tastes but also of mouth-feels and mouth-smells- I use this experiential method taken from these various thinkers of first stage of psychology. My own, more simplified taste-line looks like this but 0, 5 and 10 need special glossing :.

Your second question gets me more into the content of my talk, where I use the historical structure of the Three Waves of Coffee, but I think I take it further and deeper in a number of ways. I see Ukers as the great champion of the First Wave, and the great critic of what preceded it, especially its preference for bitter coffee made with boiling water. So drawing on Ukers, but also on a more recent expert on coffee, namely Kenneth Davids, who like Ukers, wrote a key Coffee Book 5th ed.

2. Does altruism exist?

So coming directly to your question, I think that the pre-First Wave period favoured dark roasted bitter coffee, which was then superceded by the First Wave, of industrialized, light roasted sour, and at its best aromatic coffees, like the tinned supermarket coffee of my youth, which was successfully challenged by the Second Wave and the bitter dark roasted coffee of Starbucks and Costa in the s.

However now, for the past 15 or 20 years, we have had another thrust, a return of the preference of the First Wave, but with the difference that this Third Wave has gone small and artisan and more subtle, which is required if their coffee is to be a viable alternative to the still massively popular dark-roasted bitter coffee of Starbucks and Costa.

To summarize, the Third Wave places great value on what it calls acidic or fruity or lively coffee, which I see as sour under another description, which opposes the bitter coffees, for one thing because while they eliminate the taste flaws in coffee, they also destroy the subtle aromatic notes in coffee, which the Third Wave values as much as acidy. But I also need to note that between these opposed tastes- that is the Second Wave bitterists and the Third Wave sourists- there is another type that needs to be brought in- a silent majority amidst the clash of the Two Waves- namely those whose taste is for just coffee or the essential caffeol oil aroma and flavour.

And probably the majority of coffee drinkers are in this group. What they want is is plain generic coffee or balanced coffee, which is neither very bitter or very sour.

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And knowing that is the case, that is just what most coffee companies offers them. In the event, 20th century philosophy did go conceptual, but not in the old Hegelian mode, but the new Analytic mode of Russell and Moore in Britain, and Frege and Husserl on the Continent. But now I think that philosophy has another chance to go the experiential and typal way, inspired, if in a small way, by the understanding of coffee tastes, if philosophy is to have a chance of solving the great, but presently deadlocked, problem of consciousness.

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What I think Okakura has in mind here can, I think, be expressed by saying that, unlike Tea-ism, the essence of coffee-ism and the Western mindset, is dualism, whereas the Eastern is monism. So coffee has an essence, a taste that all coffees have and which distinguishes them, namely the coffeol oil aroma or flavour, mentioned above; whereas tea does not have any generic essence, i.

One additional point which I should mention is that much of the talk I plan to give this Sunday, 10 May , is based on a little book I am completing, called The Philosophy of Coffee-tasting, in which I begin by discussing what seems to be the first general book on Philosophy and Coffee. This is: S.

Parker and M.

The Independent Review of Coffee-Tasting and Philosophy

Austin editors , Coffee: Philosophy- Grounds for Debate, Wiley-Blackwell, , which contains three essays which bear particularly on coffee tasting and which I look at. These are: Kristopher G. With good wishes, David. To explain the background of my letter to David Robson, I should say something of the talk mentioned above; for it was from an announcement of that talk that Robson learned of my interest in the philosophy of coffee-tasting.

The announcement or advert was as follows:.

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David Berman, TCD, in which he looks at the history, psychology and politics of coffee-tasting, beginning with the conceptual confusions around the key concept of taste, and how the taste of the experts has favoured certain tastes, in both the so-called First Wave and present Third Wave of Coffee, e.

This is illustrated, in a hands-on way, by samples of two different coffees.


Berman then goes on to argue that just as an appreciation of coffee can be enhanced by philosophy in the large sense , so philosophy itself can be helped by drawing on the critical study of coffee tasting. This is then followed by discussion, accompanied by a third and rarely sampled coffee. To pre-register, contact: ArtisanPhilosophy gmail. Here I also need to say something more about my little book, The Philosophy of Coffee-Tasting, and how it can be obtained. First, here is a summary of it:. This book begins by looking at recent developments in coffee drinking, especially the so-called Third of the Three Waves of coffee, and also the first book devoted to philosophy and coffee, Coffee Philosophy for Everyone, Probably my main criticism of the Third Wave and present expert theory of coffee tasting is- to put it somewhat dramatically- that while it does not throw the baby out with the bath water, it manages to look carefully at virtually every part of the baby but her face.

Put more specifically: instead of focusing on the two actual tastes of coffee, i. Moving into a more positive mode, I then present a more inclusive theory of coffee tasting which not only aims to bring back tastes to their proper and central place, but also shows the importance of taste types- the sourists and the bitterists- based on the two true coffee tastes. Having offered what I think is an empirical or hands-on way getting into philosophy through coffee tasting, I then conclude by drawing on this work to support the empirical as against the conceptual way of doing philosophy, a way which was unsuccessfully championed by William James and Henri Bergson at the beginning of the last century.

This book- or perhaps I should say long essay or booklet, since it is 34 pages, about 13, words- is available, issued by Artisan Philosophy Workbooks, plainly printed in A5 size and simply bound in paper covers, and aiming in line with the artisan approach to be useful and solid, rather than fancy or fashionable.