Rodeos, revelations, and Navy coffee

Don Senneville and Jim White

Sitting in front of Big Earl’s watching the Cave Creek Rodeo Parade pass by ranks as one of life’s great pleasures. It’s an easy bucket list. We require our families to attend so as to imprint this tradition for the future. It just gets better over the last 20 years we have watched it. The marching band has gotten bigger, the mountain men and women have gotten older, and the horses now give the ‘side eye’ to the metal buffaloes. The parade route follows Coffee Row, from the Wagon Wheel Cafe to the Carefree Roastery. A true celebration of coffee and cowpersons. See you at the Rodeo!

Revelations this week abound. Bumper stickers are out in full force again. Our favorite was observed as Jim was tailgating as usual. The epistle read in small font: “ Do you follow Jesus this closely ?” Another revelation this week included trying olive oil in coffee. This has some Latin root name at Starbucks. We are hoping the health benefits outweigh the oily taste. It needs balsamic and lettuce on the side. Cactus Jack drinks his coffee black. The next revelation of the week was the fact that there are 4 types of coffee beans: arabica, robusta, excelsa and liberica. Long way from Don’s whatever-coffee to go and Jim’s cappuccino. We are learning. Now we must do the geography on these beans.

We have been able to track down the local roasting of the beans by smell. This has led us to explore the parking lots and back alleys of our towns in search of the roasters. While searching, we have come across a variety of murals and signs. Some are painted on the entire sides of back street buildings.

We have not been able to interpret the meaning of most, especially the very large mural of a grandma with a handgun. There is a window with a Chakra vodka label (New Age irony). The Sanctuary Tactical Shop and a Smith and Western store confused Don, as he could not understand what the messages were. This is a step beyond the Horny Toad and Satisfied Frog puns. The back alley underworld is fascinating, kind of. Truth be told, we found everything in the alleys mildly depressing. Most things there are discarded, unwanted, and out of sight, unless you drive around in those alleys past the many dumpsters where you can find upscale dumpster diving, wheelchairs, couches, coffee tables, art work, silk plants, and burlap coffee sacks from Columbia.

And finally, never would we have thought that coffee affects the promotion to the rank of Admiral in the Navy. Well, thanks to The CUP reader Paul in his letter to the editor, we’ve been educated on the history of coffee and the United States Navy. Paul reports that you cannot get to the rank of Admiral or Master Chief without developing a fondness for Navy coffee, and here is why: In 1914, the Secretary of the Navy, Josephus “Joe” Daniels, banned alcohol from all Navy vessels as a result of Prohibition. Now, coffee was the only buzz left. The expression, “a cup of Joe” derived from this decision, but the coffee was a bit bitter for the sailors. Bad coffee made better by the addition of salt accomplished two things; a less acidic taste, and most importantly, it supported the mission requiring situational awareness by staying alert, caffeinated and hydrated. Brilliant! Navy vets are a salty bunch. In defense of Army coffee, the Army doesn’t have Admirals. We will continue to research salt in the Defense Department budget, and hope to read more from Paul as to the Revolutionary War history of salt in coffee. Whoever thought this was a new idea?

Let us know what you are drinking at The Cup,