Ah…the sweet, earthy aroma of a freshly brewed pot of coffee. Is there any other hot beverage that pleasures the senses and jolts us awake like coffee? In fact, “millions of people greet the morning, take a break, or end a meal with this dark brew.” A simple cup of coffee is the inspiration for a photographic exhibition now at Discovery Place.
“The Birth of Coffee” is a traveling exhibition based on a book of the same title by Linda Rice Lorenzetti and Daniel Lorenzetti. A writer and a photographer respectively; the Lorenzettis decided to explore the origins of this popular beverage. As Linda Lorenzetti puts it, “These are the people for whom coffee is not merely a beverage but, more importantly, a livelihood. Are they as passionate about coffee as the people who drink it?”
Setting out to answer this question among others, the Lorenzettis explored a quarter of a million miles on five continents and eight different countries documenting and recording the world’s coffee cultures. They followed the coffee cycle from seed planting to harvest and processing to shipment. From the cloud-covered farms in Colombia to the rugged mountains of Indonesia, the Lorenzettis found themselves in landscapes dominated by the coffee industry. “The Birth of Coffee” is the culmination of these journeys. It features black and white silver gelatin prints toned in coffee, narrative text, and artifacts relevant to the coffee producing countries.
“The Birth of Coffee” reveals the lives deeply tied to the coffee industry. Despite the big business aspect of coffee, its production process is still centuries old with little mechanization used. The people and the industry are still irrevocably dependent on nature. As increasing emphasis is placed on food industry safety, organic produce and food sources with movements like eat and buy local, this exhibition gives visitors a chance to explore the origins behind their morning cup of coffee.
The Birth of Coffee is a special limited engagement exhibition at Discovery Place on level 3. It is open through January 7, 2013. Discovery Place: 301 N. Tryon Street Charlotte; 704-372-6261. Hours: Sun., 12-5 p.m.; Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.