Quantity, not quality
the copious coffee consumption of my people
I’m in Bella Coola right now (perhaps the best place to be in a heatwave?), and since coming home, I’ve been reminded that my people drink a lot of coffee. Like, a lot. I knew from the serious side eye I got when I moved to the city that drinking coffee post-sunset is not the norm for most, but I’d forgotten the sheer, shaky power that comes with 3-8 cups/day. I’ve spent more than a few moments wondering ‘why are we like this?’ while I’ve been home, but on the topic of coffee consumption, there is at least some historical data to explain why we’re so strange.
Thanks to prohibition and heavy alcohol taxation all through the 19th century in Norway — the motherland — coffee was the default social drink through the 1800s. My family made the jump to North America in the 1890s, so it makes sense that they maintained these traditions within their community.
Even better, apparently Norway’s coffee culture in that time was focused on quantity, not quality — a value which persists today as we drink black bean juice out of super-sized vats that would make Costco proud, with frequent top ups (unless you’re a rude host or silently begging your guest to gtfo your house.) My mom told me that in one of the houses she used to live in, they’d make a thirty-cup carafe and drink it until it was gone; no new coffee was brewed until the carafe was empty whether that took one day or three.
“Today, we would consider this coffee of yore virtually undrinkable.”
My grandma is 100% still cooking up 19th century swill. Her kokekaffe has not levelled up since 1936 and is absolutely still team Scando cowboy coffee.
All this to say, I’m preparing for heavy caffeine withdrawal when I return to Toronto and my house without a proper Nordic-Canadian coffee pot/vat.
The best thing I’ve heard this week
“There may be snow on the roof, but there’s fire in the furnace,” said by this man when he was still with us:
The (incidentally Canadian) good stuff
In the spirit of being home, the CANCON I’m hyping today is that of my sweet, kind, JUNO-NOMINATED COUSIN, Anna!
In particular, I’d like you to check out her Juno-nominated composition, Harbour, and her 11-part composition, Singing the Earth — Nuyamł-ił Kulhulmx.
The program is available here to give you some indication of what’s going on and here is a recording of a 2014 performance:
Hope you’re well and (not too) warm, wherever you are. As always, feel free to share this caffeinated nonsense with a friend or frenemy: