If I visit the deli across the street from my apart ment I can choose from a

If i visit the deli across the street from my apart

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If I visit the deli across the street from my apart- ment, I can choose from a much wider variety of cof- fees, 43 in all, including Jamaican Blue Mountain, Vene- zuela Maracaibo, German Chocolate, Swedish Delight, Double Vanilla Swedish Delight, Swiss Mocha Almond, and Decaf Swiss Mocha Almond, to name just a few. These are displayed in burlap bags that take up much more space than coffee sections used to occupy when my only choices were Maxwell House, Folgers, Chock Full o' Nuts, E1 Pico, and Medaglia d'Oro. And they require the assistance of a clerk to weigh, bag, and grind the coffee. As I walk down the street, virtually every deli offers a similar variety, generally in minibarrels, though some- times the barrels are distributed in apparently casual abundance throughout the store so that I can also select breads, spreads, teas, chocolates, and cheeses as I de- cide which among the many roasts, varietals, styles, or flavors I will choose this week. I no longer need the gourmet shop though such shops, which proliferated in the 1980s, continue to thrive, concentrated in cities but also present in suburban towns and shopping malls to buy what coffee traders call uspecialty" cof- fees; nor do I need to be a gourmet to buy and enJoy them (or better said, I need not be a gourrnet to look, act, and feel like one). I can go to the corner deli or the major supermarket, where even Maxwell House and A&P have joined the aspecialtyX trend. Surely these developments are good." Specialty coffees taste better than mass-market coffees. They offer pleasure in many ways: the aroma, ambience, and WILLIAM ROSEBERRY is Professor, Department of Anthropology, Graduate Faculty, New School for Social Research, New York, NY 10003. American Anthropologist 98(,4):762-775. Copyright (C) 1996, American Anthropological Association. WILLIAM ROSEBERRY / NEW SCHOOL FOR SOCIAL RESEARCH The Rise of Yuppie Coflees and the Reimagination of Class in the United States This content downloaded from on Mon, 10 Sep 2018 21:25:09 UTC All use subject to
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YUPPIE COFFEES AND CLASS IN THE UNITED STATES / WILLIAM ROSEBERRY 763 experience of the coffee shop or even the deli itself (indeedy part of the experience of a place like Zabar's is the succession of smells); the casual conversation with the shop owner or dinner guest about varietals, roasts, preparation methods; the identification with particular places through consumption Copenhagen or Vienna, Jamaica or the Celebes; or the inclusion of coffee pur- chasing, preparation, and consumption in a widening spectrum of foods including wines, beers, waters, breads, cheeses, sauces, and the like through which one can cultivate and display taste" and discrimina- tion.t Moreover, the expansion of specialty coffees marks a distinct break with a past characterized by mass production and consumption. The move toward these coffees was not initiated by the giants that domi- nate the coffee trade but by small regional roasters who developed new sources of supply, new modes and net- works of distribution that allowed, among other things,
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