Introduction to the Role of Coffee in American Culture

Mar 02, 2020

Hello and welcome to my first blog post! I’m Katerina, a senior interested in studying culture and anthropology at BASIS Independent McLean.

My goal throughout this senior project is to learn about American identity, what composes it, and the ways it is seen in society. The way I will be approaching this question is to study coffee culture in the United States through scholarly sources and via my internship.

With so many regular coffee consumers, coffee culture is shaped by many changing factors. Within the past decade alone, there has been a significant rise in chain coffee shops and local coffee shops throughout the country. Coffee shops play a big part in most people’s daily routine, whether it be a trip to Starbucks before work, a lunch break ritual, or a weekend spot for catching up with friends. Whatever it may be, coffee extends past its delicious taste and seeps into the roots of American identity.

Coffee shops are a crucial part of coffee culture. While spending a significant amount of time in coffee shops, I became curious about how coffee culture has diversified. In my work at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, I will be assisting curators and education specialists in researching the ways cultural events are marketed towards the public. I will apply the information I gain to the independent research I do on how coffee is marketed towards the public and in what ways it has been successful in shaping American identities.

Until next week!

5 Replies to “Introduction to the Role of Coffee in American Culture”

  1. Charles T. says:

    As a non-coffee drinker, does this mean I’m not American? Jokes aside, this is a great point to study. Can’t wait to see your results.

  2. Kareem B. says:

    As an avid coffee drinker, I look forward to seeing what your research yields!

  3. johnh says:

    As someone who spends an inordinate amount of time in coffee shops, I can’t wait to hear more!

  4. Lieselotte D. says:

    As an intermittent coffee drinker but frequent coffee shop visitor, I am curious to see your conclusions about coffee’s influence on identity.

  5. hadleyrowland says:

    I cried the day I found out my coffee guy was closing up shop in old town Alexandria in 2017 – I would no longer have access to over 50 different coffee beans to pick from and taste (and support a local business too). Favorites I would return to weekly and the special roasts for special events. I set my coffee pot at night so that it’s brewing when i wake and try and start my day before I set my cup down in my classroom and cant find it.

    I have 6 pounds of coffee shipped to my door from Coffee Bean Direct every 2 months and then the pandemic hits – my coffee roaster has been shut – my supply is running low – Good thing they are back up and running – downside is they are only roasting 25 of their best sellers and only in 5 lbs bags. Do you stick with what you know or branch out? Coffee is big business and not just starbucks but for all the little shops (which I believe have better coffee) that keep us all moving in the morning.

    The amount of 1/2&1/2 left in the fridge for coffee is the make or break moment of going to the store.

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