Coffee als Beruf: The View from the Roasterie Part IV: Kansas City Culture Weblogging
"Politik ale Beruf" and "Wissenschaft ale Beruf"--"Science as a Vocation" and "Politics as a Vocation"--are Max Weber's two lectures given in 1918-1919 to the Free Students' Union of Munich University. Weber is explaining to the students just what obligations they are subjecting themselves to if they choose either of those careers not as a job but as a vocation--as a sought burden and a sacred task.
I have long pondered why it is that the coffee I get at the Roasterie, at the corner of 62nd Terrace and Brookside Boulevard in Kansas City, Missouri, is better than any coffee I get in Berkeley, California--or, indeed, with the exception of Blue Bottle, better than any coffee I am aware of in Greater San Francisco--which has three times the people and half again the income per capita of Greater Kansas City, giving it 4.5 times the economic weight.
You would think that with 4.5 times the economic weight and with a sharper income distribution that it should be easier to find very good coffee, no? It isn't true. I walk five blocks in Berkeley and I find the Beanery and Cafe Roma, which are OK; Casa de Xocalates, which is excellent for Mexican chocolate mochas and such; the original Peet's is much further away, on Northside--but none match The Roasterie.
The reason, I think, is that the relatively small number of people who view Coffee as a Vocation in Kansas City all work at and all go to the Roasterie--and thus demand and supply the best they can. But in Berkeley? Working at a coffee shop is just a job...