The folks at Forbes Magazine recently reported that the cast and crew of “The Hobbit” consumed a mind-bending $380,000.00 USD worth of coffee on set. Impossible, you say? Extravagant, you might think? For more on this story, we turn to Sprudge contributor Joe Marrocco, green coffee sales dude and in-house roaster for Cafe Imports. Mr. Marrocco has extensive contacts in the Middle Earth, and is fluent in Elvish, or whatever.
Greetings, Sprudge readers! Joining us today for an exclusive interview, the first of its kind (as far as I can tell), is a consummate authority on the history, culture, and societies of Middle Earth. Her name is Elorendora, and she is a direct descendant of Elendil The Tall, whose exploits were detailed in the great Elvish history text of Akallabeth, where he is credited for establishing the kingdoms of Dunedain. Elorendora has extensive insights into and knowledge of Middle Earth, and it's her opinion that $380,000 is actually a pretty conservative amount of money to spend for coffee. The real figure should have been much, much more.
This interview was translated from Elvish with help from my wife, Monica.
Joe Marrocco: Elorendora, it is generous of you to sit down with us of The Age of Men and give an interview, especially at such short notice. So, first of all, thank you. I will try not to take up too much of your valuable time.
Elorendora: Time. Time is the whisper of flower to a tree. It is a secret. I shall share the secret with you. I shall share many secrets. The wise will hear the secrets, and the humble will understand. Will Sprudge understand?
JM: Well, I guess it's my job to figure that out. For us in The Age of Men, although we do highly value the little pleasures in life, it is hard for us to imagine how it is necessary to spend $380,000.00 on something like coffee for the film crew of a movie. Sure, being coffee people we look at this with a huge amount of excitement; some have even stopped reading this interview to go search for barista jobs for the filming of The Hobbit Part 2. But my editors want to know: Don't you think $380,00 is a little exorbitant?
Elorendora: Exorbitant? Sprudge. Dearest Sprudge.
Was it exorbitant when Iluvatar, whom you call The One, who dwelt in The Void before all that was, through the power of the Flame Imperishable and His own thoughts within, brought life to the Holy Ones, The Ainur?
Was it exorbitant when, in this first Age, through the harmony of The Ainur and the power of the Flame Imperishable He birthed Ea, which we have named Earth?
Or, was it of minimal value to you when after the destruction of Almaren, there were created in the western Undying Lands the Two Trees of Valar, which have shown their light everlasting on the mind of all who have looked upon their splendor?
Never in history hast such depravity found man, that the elixirs of life be so devoid of their splendor. Man holds in his hands the lineage of the Dew from the Silver Tree of Valor; the very life giving elixir which in its day brought life to Elves. Through the offspring of the Trees Of Valar, to the White Trees, to the very humble shrub of The Fertile Crescent and Eastern Africa, has flowed the enlightening life blood of The One Himself.
The Age of Man has harnessed this energy source for industry and misguided enterprises. Man has commoditized this virtility such that in their eyes it is utility and hedonistic only. It is only a drug in The Age of Man.
But in Middle Earth, it is through the small, humble things that the greatest things are accomplished. Were we to lose this sacred drink, our very selves would be lost. It embodies the beauty of all worlds, of all things, of creativity and the dawn of inspiration.
Exorbitant this price is not.
Joe Marrocco: Wow. I had no idea that coffee was credited as a magical source of life giving energy. I mean, it makes sense, now that I am thinking about it…
But still, $380,000.00? I mean, was this just a vast amount of cheap coffee, or did someone make bank by charging you what he thought you’d pay? I am still having trouble with this number.
Elorendora: After the First Age was The Second Age. After The Second Age came the Third. These came like waves to the life of coffee.
In old days Men worshiped Arien. Arien was a Maia of Vanas, keeper of the golden garden’s in Valinor. Twas she who guided the flight of the sun in its timeless pacing around Middle Earth. As Narsilion tells, the Sun was last fruits of the Golden Tree of Valar. The bright fire of Arien is told to have come into the World, and there arose the Age of Men. There also arise at this time a new creature. Some say the Dew of The Silver Tree of Valar, when struck by the rays of Arien’s Sun, was brought forth a new element in its life giving powers. Dripping from these earthen roots, the dew met mouths of animals unknown. Thus were formed the hole-dwelling hobbits. It has been proven many times in ages since, this elixir, coffee, can indeed be Hobbit forming.
JM: So you’re saying that Hobbits are physically made out of… coffee?
Elorendora: I tell the stories of The Ages. I do not dwell on being their interpreter. The follies of truth have cloaked it well from man for many generations. History is neither to be believed nor dispelled. History is, whether written or told, or not passed at all. Why, Joe, look to your own-self. Were it not for coffee would you exist? The very basis of your existence, your driving force, your enlightened abilities; are they not indebted to the intrinsically valuable sap that flows from the humble shrub, packed by botanical physiology, preserved by workmen in the field, forged in the fire of doom, ground to dust and reborn new in the waters pure? If threatened that all that you know and love could be changed in a moment, and knowing that your existence hinged on the presence of liquid in that cup, would you not pay the highest price? The dollar is but an object; a tool for the wise, a vice for the foolish. But, Coffee. Coffee is the symbol of our being. It is the sign that we have all been born of simple things. It is wisdom tangible.
JM: This has been a very eye-opening look into my own values system.
Yet, weren’t the film crew and actors all humans? Weren’t they all of the Age of Men? Why would they, who you argue value coffee so little, set aside such a large sum of money for it during the creation of this film?
Elorendora: We are all actors. We have a role, and we all see others as the extras. Through the story of Middle Earth there runs a theme. The story is not of Kings or Gold, but of Hobbits and humbleness. This money you speak of is merely paper in the air, forged of nothing but whimsy, valueless and vapid.
We Elves say: Panno i hul nin. Come, fill my cup. Which is to say, I wish for something deeper from you. Bring to me something of lasting beauty and value, and we will together be met with the inspiration of all creation, love itself.
* Interview ends *