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Idle American

Messing With Texas


Much of what is making the news cycles these days is borderline UnAmerican, and in some cases, absolutely unTexan.

That’s the opinion of my Uncle Mort, an ancient relative who has lived more than a century down in The Thicket of East Texas.

He is shocked that iced coffee has become an obsession in the U.S., even reviving cafes that are welcoming any menu items that will keep customers coming back for more. Mort didn’t even know that iced coffee drinkers have a foothold in the market. Truth to tell, he figured a toehold might be all that consumers of the chilled variety could muster.

Mort thinks most Texans will continue to favor hot coffee, and in his crowd, most of ‘em like java that is so hot that it needs to be “saucered and blowed” before consumption.

Further, in our frontier state where chaps are still worn and the “jingle/jangle” of spurs heard on the prairie, most men like their coffee strong.

Many prefer it to be made in a coffee can over an open fire, always remembering that “it don’t take much water to make good coffee,” Mort opines. He can’t imagine cowboys crawling from their bedrolls on cold winter mornings, eager to start their morning after first swigging iced coffee.

Statistics don’t lie, however, and it is possible that researchers on coffee consumption are right on. The consultancy firm Allegra World Coffee Portal says that nearly a quarter of coffeeshop customers are drinking cold offerings every single day, up 17 percent in just one year.

The younger you are, the more likely you take your caffeine cold. A survey of 5,000 consumers found that almost eight in every ten buyers under the age of 35 purchase the drink at least once weekly.

Icy beverages have become such a craze that the segment is helping U.S. coffeeshops bounce back from the COVID hit, and the industry is now topping pre-pandemic levels.

Maybe we old-timers might consider joining the younger bunch, but we simply don’t want to order from menus that list numerous multi-syllabic flavors. Many of us are timid about learning new words like “latte” and “mocha.” We are admittedly worried about holding up the line, even if we wish only to order a cup of black coffee, nothing more, nothing less.

Who woulda thought, several decades ago, that a cup of coffee tab was a mere 10 cents, with many restaurants offering free refills? Back then, thoughts of iced coffee seemed light years away.

Early in my speaking career, I told the story of a hobo who asked a passerby for a quarter “to buy a cup of coffee.” When the prospective donor pointed out that coffee cost only a dime, the hobo countered, “But won’t you join me?”

During a brief visit to Alto, NM, this summer, I was taken aback at a convenience store, where ice in seven-pound bags was priced at $3.49.

With inflation hitting the ice industry so hard, I may need to consider investing, or, better yet, get a parttime job, selling ice priced by the cube.

Whatever, maybe ice is to be partially blamed for inflated costs of cold coffee. After all, half of industry leaders consider cold coffee to be the most important current market trend. So, maybe the old bromide is near the mark, the one expressing regret that youth is wasted on the young.

Meanwhile, reseachers have found a new way to recycle clothing. Currently, 99% of all used clothing winds up in dumps, greatly impacting environmental efforts.

With almost all clothing a blend of cotton and synthetics, the new process will produce similar materials once more, thus turning old garments into new.

No longer will the claim that “he’d give you the shirt off his back” be universally true. Instead, the donor may be giving us the shirt off many backs. So, we press on, hopeful that too much information can be avoided.

Dr. Newbury, longtime university president, continues to write weekly and speak regularly throughout Texas. Contact: Phone: 817-447-3872. Email: newbury@speakerdoc.com. 


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