Taking the military's coffee obsession to the next level

Coffee has always had an important place in the military.


World War II veterans recall sludge drunk out of a metal canteen cup. For Vietnam vets the memories might be of instant coffee heated up in individual rations can that once held peaches.


Times have changed. Two Marine veterans of Afghanistan have written an e-book about their own obsession with coffee, taking the military's history with coffee to another level.


We're not talking swill. The book explains how to identify the perfect beans, the proper grinder and the best way to brew coffee. It is not for the casual coffee drinker.


Michael Haft and Harrison Suarez met at Washington University in St. Louis, the only people in their class destined to be Marine officers. At Quantico, where they received officer training, they glugged coffee to stay awake in class after grueling training exercises in the field.


As newly minted infantry officers Suarez and Haft were assigned to the same battalion and deployed to Afghanistan. The coffee drinking continued at patrol bases in Helmand Province, a remote swath of Afghanistan where they helped train Afghan police and soldiers.


They wrote about their evolving relationship with coffee in a New York Times column.


When they returned to the United States, coffee became a way for them to reconnect with old friends, who wanted to know what it was like to be a Marine and fight in a war. Coffee had become more than a way to stay awake.


The two friends, who left active duty, determined they would learn as much as they could about coffee.


"It became an obsession, a hobby and now a book," Suarez said./livingstondaily