Monday, April 27, 2009

The Coffee Chronicles

A story in the Toronto Star reports that a Muslim cleric has an issue with the Starbucks logo. While most people see a Mermaid, Egyptian cleric Safwat Higazi sees a plot against Islam. He believes that the logo represents Esther, the Jewish Queen of the Persians. As recounted by the Star, "Esther, a beautiful virgin who is manipulated by her cousin Mordecai to win the heart and hand of the Persian king Ahasuerus (believed to be Xerxes I) without revealing to him that she is a Jew." This is all tied together by the fact the the CEO of Starbucks is Jewish.

The cleric, who should be more worried about teaching his flock tolerance, doesn't care that the coffee giant failed in Israel, or that the company was founded over 20 years before its first foray into the Middle East. It's even more ridiculous when you consider that the CEO came to the company 11 years after it was founded, but then again when did the facts get in the way of a Muslim Cleric?

I have a bigger concern when it comes to coffee logos, mainly a snooty French guy that represents Van Houtte? The Montreal based company has been sending this logo all across America. For years a good cup of joe was represented by Juan Valdez. The Colombian coffee icon represented the hard workers who made sure the beans were the very best. Without warning the snooty AL Van Houtte started sprouting across North America. His face is in 60000 workplaces, gas stations and carried by reality TV starlets. What does it say when Audrina, the TV star carrying your cup is known for her sleepy eyes?

I don't want the guy who is exploiting the workers to be represented on my cup of coffee. He doesn't even look like he knows a thing about coffee. And there looks to be a big wad of toilet paper sticking out of his cup. The Van Houtte people must be paying a lot to have their brand displayed at the supermarket. The display is always the biggest and always looks like it has never been touched. Meanwhile coffee packages with mountains, trees and coffee are scooped up. Maybe it's because no one likes the French, especially if they are snooty.

One final story regards Tim Hortons. While McDonalds is offering free coffee, the iconic Canadian brand is fighting back. Not with a return of the "Roll Up the Rim" promotion but with hepatitis A. Two employees at a store north of Toronto were found to have been infected with the disease. The authorities only notified the public after the second case was confirmed. The first employee who was infected did not work in food handling. This seems strange as I have been in many Tim Horton's and each and every employee is involved in food handling. There's not a lot of astronomy or accountants working in a donut store. The store was closed and disinfected and the regional authorities are holding a vaccine clinic. Symptoms of Hep A include loss of appetite, diarrhea, nausea and abdominal discomfort, or what I experience after a breakfast sandwich and medium double double.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Safwat Higazi is a complete idiot and should be commited into an insain asylum. It's like blamming Burger King because their mascot is an insult to King David and the Jewish faith.
The Van Houtte logo on the other hand is incredible. I really like the mustache. It would be better if it was more of a handelbar or 70's porn mustache.