Beyond potency the espresso carries with it other connotations In a country

Beyond potency the espresso carries with it other

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Beyond potency, the espresso carries with it other connotations. In a country where time is scarce and success is on-the-go, the espresso, with its fast and powerful personality, adheres to the demands of American society. Bertucci’s Brick Oven Pizzeria, an Italian restaurant chain, has been experiencing a boom in espresso drink sales over the past few years. 80 The corporate chef, Rosario Del Nero, attributes its popularity to the nature of the drink. “It’s more attuned to the modern active lifestyle. No one has time to sit around and drink 12 ounces of brewed coffee.” 81 As the dynamics and industry of a culture change, the value placed on time and the management of time also changes. 82 In his piece Time, Sugar, and Sweetness , Sidney Mintz refers to the work of E.P. Thompson. Thompson states, “If men are to meet both the demands of a highly-synchronized automated industry, and of the greatly enlarged areas of ‘free time,’ they must somehow combine in a new synthesis elements of the old, and the new, finding an imagery based neither upon the seasons nor upon the market but upon human occasions.” 83 The importance of the human occasion is highlighted by imagery of a substance, in our case, coffee or tea or espresso or whatever suits a particular occasion. Mintz suggests that the special character of beverages like coffee and tea, which “provide neither nutrition nor calories, but stimulus to greater effort,” serve a distinct purpose in human relations. 84 16 :: Julie Kjendal Reitz Food, Culture & Society
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It is their place in society that propels their popularity. 85 Since the “coffee break” found its glory as a result of industrialization, there must have been a preindustrial equivalent. 86 The espresso is the newest extension of this pattern. As our society becomes more competitive and unrelenting, the purpose of the coffee break becomes less important. Rather than a time to break from reality, it is a time to take a quick reviving swig and dive back in. The espresso, by its very nature, promotes efficiency and time management. The word espresso itself implies speed: express. 87 The high-paced businessman may not have time to sit and schmooze at the corner coffee shop before his 8 a.m. meeting, but he certainly has time to throw back a jolting shot of espresso before dashing out the door. In this sense, the espresso encapsulates more than just concentrated coffee; it encapsulates an image, the image of a hardworking and success-driven achiever. This is an image particularly attractive to the male species. In fact, it would be interesting to find out how many of the American female espresso drinkers are, professionally, in constant competition with males. Perhaps drinking straight espresso encourages their liberation.
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