The Intellectual Enlightenment
By John Peter Laloganes, Educator, Author, Sommelier and Kendall College School of Hospitality Management Assistant Professor
There exists plenty of intellectual study within the humble cup of coffee. Coffee is a chemical symphony that captivates the drinker to awaken via the stimulating effects found within this exhilarating liquid. There are over 1200 chemical components present in coffee, most of which contribute to the aroma and taste but also its invigorating physiological effects on our bodies. My morning coffee marks an absolutely personal significance, capable of yielding an emotional and satisfying sensory experience. For many like me, this beverage has become an essential and sacred ritual which has moved beyond the simple concept of a drink.
Coffee promotes enlightenment and creative contemplation, allowing for an elevated and energized response without even recognizing it. Coffee is a virtue, serving as a protagonist for the exchange of ideas and opinions that have provoked scholarly thought throughout the centuries. It has provided the backdrop for lively debate, political and social upheaval while transforming entire civilizations from the consumption of a single cup of coffee ever since its discovery in the Ethiopian highlands.
It is undeniable that coffee is a beverage capable of inducing memory and emotion. There is strong linkage between the sounds sight, aroma, and taste nuances of coffee along with one’s past memories or previous mental state. Emotions are an affective aspect of consciousness, a condition that arises by a spontaneous, unconscious stimulus or event that can induce some physiological and behavioral response in the body.
The bustling noise of a grinder as it crushes the coffee beans, the hum of an espresso extracted from the machine or the pulsating sound of milk being steamed, combined with the fragrant and intense scent of roasted coffee with subtle nuances of cocoa and toast floating in the air collectively contain an emotional potency, capable of producing both a comforting, yet arousing effect.
During the spring of 2013, Kendall College began an exploration to ultimately try and form multiple strategic beverage partnerships that would fall in-line with Kendall’s Beverage Management concentration. The new program is delivered through the school of Hospitality Management. This first course “Beverage 201” will cover an introduction to wines, beers, spirits, sake, cider, tea and yes…coffee! There is just under 4 hours of coffee training dispersed within the curriculum that Metropolis and Kendall have crafted to provide a rigorous educational experience for the students.
After meeting with and tasting the products of several coffee companies in the Chicago area, Kendall found an ideal collaboration with Metropolis Coffee. Their approach for the care and concern of products and for the people that grow and harvest the coffee beans align with many of the core values associated with Kendall College. According to Metropolis, “Our coffee aesthetic is rooted in the belief that great coffee comes from a line of respect beginning with the farmers and their respect for their land.” Metropolis believes in maintaining the integrity and quality of the coffee through small batch roasting. In fact, once a client places a coffee order with Metropolis, they roast the beans to order, and deliver them within 24 hours.
Kendall College now offers Metropolis Coffee throughout the entire facility. As the summer and fall terms begin, Metropolis will become more prominent throughout the college.