Saturday, January 01, 2011
John Tate as Adm. Bidrie in On The Beach
I heard the lines above as I prepared for a study tour to Nicaragua, where I will be exploring the origins of some of the finest coffee in the world. The 1959 film, set in World War II, is a reminder that despite all the advances in specialty coffees, quantity continues to trump quality for the vast majority of the market.
Nowhere is that balance more evident than in the coffee traditionally provided to soldiers and sailors. See my Civil War coffee post and my coffee and M*A*S*H posts for some examples. Coffee references are not limited to military programs, of course. I've started to gather a few examples on my Coffee and Tea in Film page.
Admiral Bidrie and his Lieutenant represent many coffee consumers, even today: they have no idea where their coffee comes from. I am privileged to play a small part in helping people overcome that cognitive gap, with the hope that with knowledge comes an interest in fairness.
One last reference to On the Beach, though it is not related to coffee: Eva Gardner's character Moira Davidson says to Gregory Peck's Cmdr. Towers:
"It's unfair.... I had to take algebra twice. The only thing I could understand was geography. And I liked geography."