Shooting Sacred Evangelical Cows: Coffee, Again

A few quick words of reply to the conversation that has surfaced over my post a few days about coffee.

There are nearly 15,000 Starbucks locations worldwide.  5000 Dunkin’ Donuts in the US.  This is to say nothing of Caribou Coffee, Tim Hortons, and local coffee houses.  Clearly, coffee is no longer a boutique product.  It’s a little different than rare Jefferson Airplane concert vinyl or imported caviar, for example.

What’s the point here?  Well, only that coffee has arrived.  It’s a mass-market product.  No, not everybody likes coffee.  Yes, there is a difference between Dunkin’ Donuts and the high-end stuff.  However, for many of us, particularly those of us in urban locations saturated by coffeehouses, drinking coffee is a commonplace, even expensive coffee.

It seems to me a little like saying one likes an Apple.  Tons of people like Apples.  Or Nikes.  Or bagels.  Or nice cameras.  Or iPods.  Tons of people have iPods now.  That doesn’t mean that everyone does or even wants to.  I was speaking hyperbolically in my post for effect.  But it does mean that iPods have gone mass-market.  It’s not really that exceptional to own one, is it?

My last point is not really a point.  It’s simply to state that the post about coffee–with the Shooting Cows series, if it really deserves to be called a “series”–is all in good fun.  I’m writing it with my tongue in my cheek.  Certainly, liking a specific kind or style of coffee can be a marker of one’s identity.  It’s valid to state what you like.  As I noted, I love coffee.  I am something of an evangelist for it.

I simply thought it was funny that in surfing my peers’ blogs, I so often came across them pointing out their love for coffee.  It occurred to me that among us young and hip Christians, many of us like coffee, yet few of us seem to realize its widespread popularity.  That’s funny to me, but not in a cutting way.  If it’s not to others, fine.  Just know I’m not throwing stones here.

And if it’s cliche to point out cliches, then the new cliche must be mocking those who mock.


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  • you wrote, “Clearly, coffee is no longer a boutique product.”

    my brother, a civil buff, was telling me a while back about how the confederate troops were missing & craving their coffee so badly that, in the off chance a group acquired some, they crushed the beans as well as they could & then boiled crushed (not ground, mind ya) beans in cauldrons, drinking it with anything they had, including spoons, boots, etc.

    in other words, it’s not that coffee is no longer a boutique product. coffee has been prevalent a long time in this country before it was EVER touted as a 3-dollar-a-cup boutique delicacy.

    tongue in cheek, i know; but is it possible that you mean the coffeehouse culture is in vogue with young ministers (including french presses, $30 travel mugs, etc) & not coffee itself?

    • that was supposed to say “civil war buff” in line 1 🙂

  • Lauren

    Wonder if the topic were changed to “coffee’ “evangelism” if it would get this much discussion? Would anyone put it on their list of likes? What grabs my attention more, the fat content of the foam on my drink, or the fact that the guy next to me in line is going to hell? What goes on my list of likes, a $4 coffee drink or supporting an overseas missionary who’s going to the unreached? Just wondering…

  • zachmabry

    Hey buddy, I think that these coffee posts are humorous and creative. It is funny to me how much silly conversation they started. People want to be offended and when you write about something they feel personally attached to it strikes them at the heart. How interesting…

    It is funny how coffee is both uber-trendy and the most common drink in the world…