How about starting the day with a cup of 'Sublime'?

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, February 22, 2006

So, will that be dark roast? Medium roast? Light roast? Decaffeinated? How about an African blend? Or something from Brazil, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, or Hawaii?

Whatever your favourite blend is, its aroma and taste soon become addictive. Some folks can't even start the day without their wake-up cup.

Others join their friends around café tables or office coffee machines for their daily mid-morning chat, exchanging news, views and gossip over their favourite blend.

Still others sip their favourite blend while sitting around elegant boardroom tables making decisions about cutthroat competition, hostile takeovers, global defense policies, and bellicose responses to perceived or real threats and insults.

Indeed, in the midst of all these varied places and activities, the cup of roasted brew bears passive witness to words and thoughts that have the power to change life dramatically for family, friends, companies, communities and countries. And not always for the better.

But what if there were a brew that could actively change the world? And never for the worse, but always for the better?

That is the challenge given us by one of our most distant and loyal e-mail coffee companions, Raj Patwardhan, of Mumbai (Bombay), India.

Raj contacted me back in 2003 via our website,, and asked if he, too, could join us here in Cochrane as one of our e-mail coffee companions. Since sitting down with us, he likes to refer to this column in a most flattering way as "Warren's Coffee Shop: a place to feel one with our world."

If that label is at all deserved, it's because of the wise and uplifting words he and others share around our table.

For example, in his first letter to this column, Raj quoted those familiar lyrics: "Let there be peace on earth, And let it begin with me."

Consistent with those words, he wrote sometime later that he hoped all of us might become "brushstrokes of joy, love and laughter," quoting the motto that graced the wall of Cochrane's Paintbox Artist Supplies that he first encountered at our table.

And in response to last year's mounting world tensions he wrote:

"Any effort to stimulate faith of the masses in love, peace, hope and harmony is most welcome in a world benumbed by the sounds of explosions, sight of blood, smell of gunpowder. It is a tough task, for sure, but not impossible."

Raj is a true lamplighter, faithful to the spirit that, I hope, will always be the basis for bringing us together through this column.

Which brings us back to this week's theme, a coffee concept suggested by Raj himself.

"As always, reading your column is as stimulating as a cup of freshly-brewed coffee," he wrote the other day. "It has the aroma which is, shall I say… 'addictive'?

"Which stimulates another thought.

"How wonderful it would be if the majority of the masses were to get addicted to love, peace, compassion, harmony, empathy, tolerance, and respect.

"I don't know how to concoct these ingredients in such a way that the masses would make a beeline for this brew. But I believe that kind of brew would help the good to prevail on this good earth."

I really like the sound of Raj's new blend. I even know what I'd call it. I'd name it after Raj's e-mail user ID: "Sublime."

I wrote back to Raj and asked if it was okay if I shared his idea with you.

"Yes," he said. "We need to use all our resources, skill and will to make this brew. Please go ahead."

So, my coffee companions, what other ingredients would you like to bring together to create this wonderful new brew called "Sublime"? Let me know, and if you'd like, tell me why you've chosen those ingredients.

As for me, I'd like to include as one of the ingredients a few lines from Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong's hit song, "What a Wonderful World":

The colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky,
Are also on the faces of people going by.
I see friends shakin' hands, sayin' "How do you do?"
They're really saying "I love you."

Maybe Raj's idea is the start of a whole new trend in brewing for this wonderful world. Sublime could be served in rainbow cups, too, emblazoned with the words "I love you."

I look forward to hearing from the rest of you.

© 2006 Warren Harbeck

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