BU Alumni Web

Coffee 101

The buzz behind the buzz

| From BU Today | Video by Devin Hahn

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In the video above, Merry “Corky” White, a CAS anthropology professor and author of Coffee Life in Japan, traces the history of coffee in the United States, and Sir Hans Kornberg, a CAS biology professor, tackles caffeine on a molecular level.

Americans have a love affair with coffee. As a nation, we consume 400 million cups a day—146 billion cups a year. But coffee has come a long way in the last 50 years. Where instant (and later, freeze-dried) coffee and vacuum-sealed canisters of Chock Full o’Nuts were once kitchen staples, Americans’ tastes have become more sophisticated, thanks in large part to Starbucks. We have traded in our Mr. Coffees for the half-caff skim mochas and café Americanos whipped up by Starbucks baristas.

And the coffee intelligentsia will tell you that we’ve entered a new, post-Starbucks era, with small, independent coffee shops now introducing a farm-to-table sensibility to the coffee experience, often working directly with farmers in coffee-growing regions to secure the highest quality beans.

We encourage you to explore some of the numerous small craft coffeehouses located nearby in Boston, Brookline, and Cambridge. You might just taste something you like. Some of the most notable are:

Click on the points in the map above for more information on the coffee shops listed.

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