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Tag Archives: History

Uniting the World with Coffee

The Olympics are over, and I am a little sad.  I always enjoying watching the games, but not necessarily for the sport of it, nor to chant “USA! USA! USA!” (though that is a pretty big part). I found that this year, I really liked seeing countries unifying for this beloved tradition that dates back to (probably) 776 BC in Ancient Greece. Of everything this world has gone through, I love that we still unite for these games. Not only does it give us a chance to become increasingly nationalistic for a few weeks, but it reminds us that we are all on this earth, and no matter our language, we can unite under the game. Did you see North Korea and South Korea shake hands!?

Ok, so what does this have to do with the #beanteam? Well, I was thinking… coffee is a HUGE export and is loved by many. Different regions produce different flavored beans, but also make their coffee in very specific ways. I looked it up and found that are numerous countries that export coffee. The United States is not one (which is no surprise) so we go elsewhere. This export really does unite people on an economic and social way.

The National Geographic, which I have always loved for their insight into cultures different from my own, has a coffee specific website that not only addresses the legends and history of coffee, but maps out the major exporters all over the world. Brazil, the largest producer of coffee, put out $22.5 million bags in 1997-1998 crop year (the latest they have data from). Each bag weighs about 132 pounds. I did the math and that equals a LOT of coffee… I can’t even imagine orchestrating the exchange of this stuff. This website even has a forum where anyone can come together and talk about their coffee.  Perhaps my favorite quote on the page is this description of coffee: “‘Black as the devil, hot as hell, pure as an angel, sweet as love.’ That’s the recipe for coffee, according to the utterly French statesman Talleyrand (1754-1838).” If that isn’t a man passionate about his coffee, I don’t know what is. And this was around 200 years ago. Not much as changed.

So, the Lowcountry Blend, although specific to the Charleston area, offers flavors from our friends in South and Central America. We ask others to help us with our coffee initiatives and in turn, help feed those less fortunate in our area. I will toast to that.

 
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Posted by on August 14, 2012 in Caffeinate Charleston

 

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The “Lowcountry”

You know by now that Sunoco’s Charleston blend is called “The Lowcountry Blend” but do you know why Charleston and the surrounding areas is referred to the lowcountry in the first place? I have lived here for a year and I have never once heard why it is called that. So, with the power of the Internet, I looked it up.

In regards to South Carolina, it refers to the “sea islands.” If you have looked at a close-up map of Charleston, you will see there is a lot of water…and a lot of little islands and peninsulas. More specifically, it is often used to describe the land between the ocean and the sand hills.

Perhaps more importantly than geography is the culture that is associated with the term “lowcountry”. It is a historical term based on political and cultural foundations, but is also used to describe a way of life. It describes the uniqueness of the area, with its fashion, elegant style, cuisine, and architecture. Charleston is an eclectic blend of European, American Southern, Caribbean, and African cultures. Add in the Gullah influence and the antebellum and postbellum styles and you get a culture all in its own. The rich history and modern tourism make Charleston a wonderful city for natives, tourists, and students alike.

One aspect that I have noticed in this past year is that Charleston likes its own. It is proud of it’s natives and loves everything local. Driving around, you see more “Native,” “Carolina Girl, “Support Local,” and palmetto and moon bumper stickers than anywhere I have ever seen. There is an ownership that made the Lowcountry the perfect place to launch this coffee blend.

When you find yourself approaching a Sunoco gas station, and stop in for a Lowcountry Blend, think of everything that is behind the name. Picked by Lowcountry residents, it reflects the culture, the history, and everything unique about The Holy City (Charleston!!).

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2012 in Caffeinate Charleston

 

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A Good Cup of History and Coffee!


Good Morning to my favorite coffee drinkers and connoisseurs!

How were your Fourth of July holidays? I hope that you all got the chance to eat all the barbeque and ice cream you could, played in the pool with the overwhelming heat, and that you enjoyed some breath taking fireworks.

Did you know that the College of Charleston is the thirteenth oldest school in the United States of America?  The College of Charleston was founded in 1770, with some of the main founders being three signers of the Declaration of Independence, three framers of the Constitution, judges, and state governors. The first president of the college was Reverend Robert Smith and the first classes of the College of Charleston were held in Reverend Smith’s home (http://www.cofc.edu/ ).  Also speaking about Reverend Smith, it may be myth but Reverend Smith would supposively invite students individually to his home for dinner and then to watch the hanging of pirates for entertainment.  In 1794, the first class of College of Charleston graduated with six people (http://www.cofc.edu/ ).  Needless to say, College of Charleston holds history in every brick and crevice.

Who of you are big fans of Mel Gibson and Nicholas Sparks? Well, when it comes to the history of media and film, “The Notebook,”“Dear John” and “The Patriot” were filmed on the College of Charleston campus.  Also, some other television shows like “O” and “General Hospital” were filmed on the college campus.  The College of Charleston has even been visited by famous politicians like, Congressman Ron Paul, Senator John McCain, President Barack Obama, Senator John Edwards, Speaker Newt Gingrich, Governor Mitt Romney, and Mike Huckabee.

I attend the College of Charleston and I will be graduating next spring semester with a degree in Communications and Psychology.  I will be a part of the class of 2013 and I can’t help but wonder all of the people who are and were College of Charleston alumni before me.  Three weeks after I walk across the Cistern, in the direction of starting my new life as a college graduate, I will be marrying my best friend.  I am only one of the stories that fill the walls of the College of Charleston, so as you visit this school campus, bring along a cup of Lowcountry Blend.  Let’s make the Lowcountry Blend another story to be told!

 
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Posted by on July 6, 2012 in Caffeinate Charleston

 

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