Even Coffee Comes With a Patron Saint and a Prayer
Discover the story behind coffee’s patron saint and see what a review of two commercial iced vanilla drinks recommends as a better choice for your cold coffee drinking pleasure.
The news of late has been about the “Karens” of today’s world with plenty of examples of bad public behavior. Especially so, in coffee houses where baristas have to bear the brunt of the abuse with a smile and spirit-shattering acquiescence.
Therefore, it should come as no surprise to find that coffee houses and their employees have adopted a patron saint who offers personal testament regarding the value of living a life that is filled with spiritual discipline and charity: St. Drogo of Sebourg.
There is no clear factual origin as to how Saint Drogo became the patron saint of coffee houses. However, his other shared patronages are more clearly attributable to his life’s story that includes being the patron saint of shepherds and expectant mothers; those who suffer from hernias, kidney stones and other ailments of the abdomen; and, the physically unattractive.
Most perplexing is the fact that coffee was not served in Europe until much later after St. Drogo’s death.
While some references to the origin suggest that bilocation—where someone seemingly can appear in two places at the same time—is associated with the multitasking abilities of a top-notch barista, St. Drogo is rumored to have been witnessed tending sheep in a field and being present at church simultaneously.
In fact, this possible supernatural ability is commonly associated with a reputedly old saying that persisted for centuries among the rural folk of St. Drogo’s homeland when charged with multiple tasks: “I’m not Saint Drogo; I can’t ring the church bell for Mass and be in the procession!”
A more-likely origin reference suggests that coffee houses as early as 1860 adopting St. Drogo as their patron saint, has more to do with his miraculous survival of a church fire.
“…Perhaps also, the early coffeehouse-keepers of Hainaut marveled at how the properties of the coffee bean are transformed by fire without being destroyed by it, and were reminded of Drogo’s miraculous survival of the destruction of the church at Sebourg,” writes Christian E. O’Connell a Christian educator who takes a less-mythical look at the saint and why coffee houses were included in St. Drogo’s repertoire.
Or, it could have been just good marketing.
In any case, I highly recommend reading the entire referenced article below written by Mr. O’Connel about the life of St. Drogo and why he is to be admired.
That said, and back to Barista abuse today, perhaps the following, “A Coffee Prayer,” is an apt meditative rumination to add to your coffee drinking experience in these trying times filled with so much public anger.
A Coffee Prayer
I drink this cup in solidarity with the one who planted the seedlings.
In solidarity with the one who nurtured the soil.
In solidarity with the one who watered the trees.
In solidarity with the one who harvested the beans in their cherries.
In solidarity with the one who brought the harvest to market.
It has been a long-time brewing, this cup. And with each sip, I pray for justice for everyone in the chain of production.
Particularly those whose poverty prevents them from tasting the bounty you provide.
Solidarity, justice: this is our challenge.
But one thing I have learned from you, Lord Is that small cups can contain great miracles. And we can all find oneness there.
Taste Test: Private Selection Vanilla Café Frappe vs Dunkin’ Donuts French Vanilla Iced Coffee
As promised, here is a review of two iced vanilla-based coffee drinks and a clear winner recommended.
Believe it or not, until recently I have never had a Dunkin’ Donuts Iced French Vanilla coffee; or, a Private Selection Vanilla Café Frappe. Since part of my Brew Quest is to try new drinks, and because the weather has been so hot, I decided to plunk down $2.50 for a bottle of each and try a sip-by-sip taste comparison.
First off, the calorie content is nearly crazy-high for both drinks: 250 calories for the Private Selection and 270 calories for the Dunkin’ Donuts. Dunkin’ Donuts, however, has almost 3 times the total fat content over Private Selection at 9.0 grams and 3.5 grams respectively.
Dunkin’ Donuts has 184 mg of caffeine. While I could not find any caffeine content info on the Private Selection Vanilla Frappe, their canned espresso is listed as containing 9.67 grams of caffeine per fluid ounce. So, if all things are relatively equal in the coffee world of Private Selection, I would expect their Vanilla Frappe caffeine content to be no higher than an extrapolated guesstimation of 133 grams total.
The Private Selection brand has a heavier vanilla scent that overpowers everything else; the Dunkin’ Donuts has less vanilla scent with some actual hint of coffee.
Upon tasting, it’s hard to discern any coffee taste to the Private Selection brand; You get more of a creamy vanilla impression that borders on being chemically. The Dunkin’ Donuts brand fares a little better in that I can actually taste coffee in it. But, it is too sweet.
Final analysis: I could not finish either drink. I will never buy either coffee again. And, I am beginning to question my decision to try out coffee-based drinks that I have never had before.
A Better Iced Vanilla Coffee Choice
The good news, however, is that you can make your own French Vanilla Coffee in your home, that is less expensive, has far fewer calories and fat, and tastes like an iced French Vanilla coffee should.
An informative YouTube video below that is a joy just to listen to—let alone try for yourself—demonstrates how to make your own standby creamer for a quick and easy iced or hot French Vanilla Coffee.
If you have any insight into an iced coffee brand that you like, please share it with other readers in the comments section below.
Timothy Boyer has a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Arizona. For 20+ years he has been employed as a freelance health and science writer. Timothy continues writing about science with a focus on the connection between coffee and healthy living. For continual updates about the benefits of coffee on your health, you can also follow Timothy on Twitter at TimBoyerWrites.
Images courtesy of Pixabay and the writer
“Rediscovering Saint Drogo of Sebourg” by Christian E. O’Connel for Crisis Magazine
Catholic Relief Services “The Coffee Prayer”
"French Vanilla at Home: Only 4 Ingredients French Vanilla Coffee Recipe" by Cook with Madeeha, YouTube