Coffee by Chirin Barikan

Posted on April 23, 2012 by


Part one.


Firstly, I am a banker and my opinion matters. I believe there’s nothing better than sipping on a cup of coffee first thing every morning. Nothing can replace it; not water, not tea, not juice, not even money. Try tasting the word for a minute. Joe. Sounds like joy to my ears, one happy word that is. I lean back into my comfortable chair, grasping the beauty of New York through my window.

“Sir, here’s your coffee.”

I must have fallen asleep for a minute, but I snap out of it, and ordered Liandra, one of our many servants, to put my cup down on the table.


Now, this heavenly drink has my full attention. I pick up my favorite cup of Kopi Luwak, which I have to point out is the world’s most expensive coffee, and take a sip of the well balanced beverage with a pleasant sharp taste. For an instance, all the lines that held me to my life were sliced apart in swift cuts, like cutting the strings of a bunch of balloons. It was like the gravity of the earth no longer tied me to the place I stood. The joy this coffee gave me was greater than the joy or pleasure I had ever gotten from my wife. For a minute every day, I’m both happier than a kid with candy and a 16 year old with a platinum credit card. This was so different from all the coffees I’ve had. Maybe it wasn’t joy, but something like it.


Oh, the things I’d give up for my coffee, all the money I’d pay to keep it. Oh, what bright moments it has brought to my life.


Part two.



They come in with a barking dog to wake us up. Every morning it’s the same routine. I mean, what’s so hard about getting an alarm clock loud enough to wake all 60 of us? Most of the kids here are terrified of that dog. But then again, to them, we’re just another herd of animals.


I live in Indonesia, and I think I’m around twelve years old. Every morning, I wake up to the same day repeated all over again. We all go out on the coffee field to harvest red cherries off the coffee bush. Out there we go, without so much as bread for breakfast, working nonstop until noon. They give us two dry crackers and a twenty minute break after that. When our break is over, we have to remove the outer skin and pulp of the cherries to collect the green coffee beans inside.


That is all I know of coffee. Neither have I tasted it, nor do I believe that I ever will.

Oh, the hatred I bear for these beans. Oh, the things I’d do to kill all consumers in its market, and lo, all the dreams I have given up for this damned plant.


Part three.



Hi, my name is Max, and I’m a coffee bean. My life is pretty exciting, you know. I get to travel a lot and see new places. The field, the roasting machines, the packaging, you know what I mean. I’ve heard so many different stories about other coffee beans like myself, but they’re not all equally exciting.


Today is my big day, and I’m being shipped off the coast of Indonesia, heading to England. I hear they’re not a big fan of my kind in England. So hopefully, I’ll just be put on display in some window.

A few weeks back, New York Times had an entertaining cover page. “SERVANT POISONED BANKER’S COFFEE” it said. Now there are different stories to that article. Some say he had a stroke, and died. Some say he was really old, and they all saw it coming. Others say it was his servant, or his wife. But we beans, we have a different version of that story. I heard the story of a fellow coffee bean from Latin America only a few days before the banker’s death. As rumor has it, the girl who was picking the beans out of the cherries, cast a spell on the poor bean. “May whoever drinks my hard work in joy and pleasure, have a taste of pain and death” she had said. And so it happened to be the banker from New York. Or well, that’s how we beans like to believe the story went.


“Max, what is it you’re doing down there? The ship leaves any minute.”


“I’m coming darling, I’m coming”


And with that, I threw a last glance at the Indonesian coast, and whether it was joy or pain, I was fully ready for whatever this new life was bringing me.


Oh, one more thing; ships are huge.

Posted in: Coffee