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Luckily, the brochure's graphic style says what the copy cannot. Whereas the newsletter the coffee-drinkers call home is a muted, hairy recycled-paper production, the bean-serf brochure is all gloss and vibrant color, offering the usual picturesque, colonial take on the third world. There are "primitive" designs of trees, hunters, and elephants (whipped up in Photoshop or Painter, no doubt), there are the photo-safari snapshots depicting a sepia-toned spectrum of smiling faces: a Guatemalan woman filling a bucket of water; two Kenyan children reading a comic book; an Ethiopian woman wearing a bright red headband; an Indonesian woman and her baby. These are simple, elemental folk, the pictures and graphics suggest, with a special relationship to the land that makes them perfect candidates for grueling field work. In the same way that North Americans are born to lives as entrepreneurs, retail clerks, and knowledge workers, these Guatemalans and Africans are born to lives of low-paying agricultural servitude. Yes, they may have to walk three miles just to get fresh water while the Espresso Elite gets their coffee "now" and with "minimum effort," but behind their wan smiles, they show a placid resignation to their fate: it's just how things are.

They are the bean-serfs, and we, the coffee-drinkers, are their kings.

Their lives are marked by drought, famine, and high infant mortality rates. Ours are marked by extensive counter space, dinner parties, and peerless golf clubs. We are the chosen ones, inheritors of aristocratic privilege, sippers of coffee. It's just how things are...

Given such wonderfully uplifting thoughts, is caffeine really necessary?

Indeed, when you're a king, sometimes even decaf will do.