Coffee's modern time line started sometime in the mid 1500s, which was probably when someone figured out how to roast the seeds of a coffee tree and mix them with water. From that point, coffee consumption grew in fits and starts. Political and religious leaders didn't know what to do with it. Was it the devil's drink, inciting dissention, or was it heaven sent to keep the drowsy masses alert and receptive? Sometimes condemned, sometimes lauded, coffee was almost always a hot topic of conversation.
Even though coffee has been around for several hundred years, it is still a relatively young product as compared to other staples in our lives. Take milk for example. Milk has been around since the very first day, whenever that was, by design. We've had milk at our disposal for millennia. At some point in milk's journey from teat to cup, some enterprising soul managed to figure out that if stirred for a really long time, butter is the resulting product. And then there's yogurt, sour cream, curds, whey, cheeses, and everything that uses those byproducts ad infinitum, etc, etc...
Then we go back to coffee. What we've figured out with coffee is that we can roast it and mix it with water. Granted, some of the vehicles used to introduce water are pretty innovative, but it still feels like there's something more amazing about itself that coffee will reveal once we finally perfect the addition of water.
Maybe I'm imagining too much of this little bean that I love so much, but maybe not. Tinkerers in the coffee world have been busy figuring out golden ratios of extraction, mastering the perfect grind, controlling temperature, time and pressure; in short, perfecting what we already know how to do. Once that perfection is achieved, we'll be back at the bottom of a long learning curve, making coffee into something else beautiful and good. The future is out there, we just have to wait for it to come around again.