Roots — "Red Savanna"

by Sebastian Gallese

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I drank from the Roots Red Savanna can of coffee. It has been thirty-five years since I drank coffee. I was coming of age in a time when a man could really appreciate coffee for something other than the hallucinogenics we used to add to the brew (or the fact that when you wanted a double shot espresso, you actually got two shots of liquor poured in your mug). The idea of coffee in a can thirty-five years ago might have caused a riot (and still might if canned coffee companies continue to develop the beans from cloned embryos). Thirty-five years ago, astronauts were the only people that used aluminum cans because NASA had not yet released the multiple can compactor device to the public, thus making the process of crushing aluminum cans severely outweigh the benefits of looking cool with a koozie in your hand.

Thirty-five years ago, we were not even thinking about mass-producing cans, let alone coffee. They called it homebrew for a reason, and we sure did enjoy a good experimental brew. We funneled our coffee through VW Bus carburetors, old transistor radios, heavily-trodden-in military boots, and lava lamps to get that perfect balance of flavor and mouth ulcer. My best friend at the time even built the "Coffee Contraption," a device that consisted of an old carnival porta pottie and stolen electrical equipment from the Ohio State University engineering lab.

We lived day-to-day back then for the sake of creating the perfect coffee for men and women to sit around with and drink naked in front of a giant tree in the middle of


Central Park and just chill, not to mention the fact that while we created coffee back then, we spent most of the time buzzed out of our own minds. To a bunch of twenty-year-old kids, drinking coffee siphoned through a hotel radiator four times was like drinking a dream.

Then things started to fall apart thirty years ago. Experimental coffee started selling out with all the chain gang coffee cafes opening up shop. People wanted Bland Coffee served by the Man at the Establishment, even though I hated people calling our friend (Philip Robinson) "the Man" because he was such a cool guy and served the most popular coffee (the Vanilla Bland) at an awesome coffee shop (named the Establishment). My motto was "make love, not war," so I bought a bunch of wooden planks, nails, and drugs, and then I built love. Although building love was worth it, it ended my fling with the homebrew coffee era.

All I can do now is think of Red Savanna, the memories thirty-five years ago that this new experiment in canned coffee brings back, and how I built the world's largest set of wooden bookshelves.

Sebastian Gallese is a part-time high school student with many unpaid debts and few social inhibitions. He is also morally degrading when it comes to managing, a humor website hosting student-created work.

Discuss with other coffee lovers. (2)

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