Coffee companions embrace new brew enthusiastically

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, March 1, 2006

"There must be no bitterness in this blend," Mary Lou Davis told me. The Cochrane town councillor and owner of Bentleys Books was commenting on Sublime, the new brew that is catching the imagination of many of our coffee companions.

"Sublime," of course, refers to the inspiring blend suggested by Mumbai, India, reader Raj Patwardhan and presented in last week's column. He proposed a short list of ingredients for this brew: "love, peace, compassion, harmony, empathy, tolerance, and respect."

He wondered if the rest of us had suggestions for other ingredients that would "help the good to prevail on this good earth."

I received more responses than I can possibly include in this week's column.

Our Oakville, Ontario, coffee companion Helen Hare agrees with Mary Lou Davis about what must not be part of this new blend. An ugly press must be rejected, she said, as well as "ugly thoughts in one's own mind and heart."

Cochrane readers Lindsie Haxton and Elaine Phillips had a tea-time discussion about ingredients for our new brew with their stuffed-animal companions Hroshi the Hippo and Evangeline the Unicorn. The four agreed they'd like to see wisdom included in Sublime.

They noted the dictionary definition of "sublime" as "noble, exalted, majestic, inspiring awe or admiration through grandeur or beauty," and then compared it to a biblical definition of "wisdom that is from above" as "first pure then peace-loving, considerate, gentle, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and without hypocrisy."

From that, they concluded "Wisdom is sublime and therefore belongs in your brew."

Since I'd suggested Sublime might be served in rainbow cups, Hroshi and Evangeline, with the assistance of Lindsie and Elaine, even waxed poetic:

Sublime is the essence of your new brew
Served in rainbow cups so bright
We can't wait to share a cup with you
Knowing it will taste just right!

(Hroshi and Evangeline are "co-authors" of The Hippo and the Unicorn: A Rainbow of Words, soon to be published. I'm quite sure a cup of Sublime will go very well with their new book.)

Calgarian Leo Peters, motivation speaker and loyal patron of Cochrane's coffee shops, also likes the idea of concocting such a brew "to help bring peace to the world." He sees the blend "brimming with heart-shaped coffee beans," with each bag containing "love notes and love songs much the same as fortune cookies," he said.

"If we were to live love, truly caring about the happiness of others, unconditionally, and share that message, then peace, joy, laughter and understanding would follow."

Ron Nowell, also of Calgary, and an ordained Roman Catholic deacon, wrote of something I've long suspected.

"A couple of years ago I attended a retreat with Anglican priest Herbert O'Driscoll," Ron said. "He suggested that perhaps we should consider coffee as the eighth sacrament! He was reflecting - half-seriously – on the importance coffee plays in our daily lives."

In a similar vein, Don Harbridge, of Edmonton, sees Jesus as the heart of Sublime.

"I've been drinking of Him for years, and find Him most satisfying," Don wrote. "Those ingredients, and so much more, are all packaged up in Him. And the aroma is heavenly."

I want to wrap up with a letter I received directly from Elaine Phillips, Hroshi the Hippo's human referred to earlier in the column.

Originally from South Africa and now on the faculty of the Southern Baptist seminary in Cochrane, Elaine will be the keynote speaker at this year's World Day of Prayer, 1 p.m. March 3, at St. Andrew's United Church. She wrote:

"In the light of this Friday's Global Prayer Day focus on South Africa, I believe a vital ingredient for any sublime cup would be forgiveness. Bishop Desmond Tutu's competent leadership of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission reminded South Africans – and the world – that vengeance and hatred will never lead to peace. In a country of diversity – now known as the 'Rainbow Nation' because of its racial, cultural and linguistic wealth – the only way to unity is through acceptance of the present and forgiveness for the wrongs done in the past.

"For your cup to contain a truly sublime brew, uniting cultures and nations from around the globe, it would require at least one part reconciliation to two parts forgiveness."

Thank you, coffee companions. My cup overflows.

© 2006 Warren Harbeck

Return to Coffee With Warren home page