Coffee and epistolary culture sometimes intersect in meaningful ways. One way to make letters look old is to stain them with coffee, for instance, and many a letter reader has enjoyed his morning cup of coffee over a fresh stack of mail. Another recent example: The Indian government on Sunday unveiled a new line of coffee-scented stamps at Bangalore’s General Post Office. The stamps are available at all of India’s head post offices, and cost 100 rupees, or $1.55, each.
In order to give the stamps a coffee-ish scent, they are sprayed or embossed with “fine coffee granules that will retain the aroma for a long time,” according to the Twitter page of the Coffee Board of India, which put out the stamps in collaboration with India Post, the government’s postal system.
India isn’t the first country to make scented stamps. Back in 1973, Bhutan got there first when the country released a set of rose-scented stamps. And India’s coffee-scented stamp isn’t its first foray into the field of aromatic mail. In 2006, the country put out its first scented stamps, with hints of sandalwood, and in 2007 and 2008, taking a page from Bhutan’s book, India put out a series of scented stamps that were made to smell like a variety of flowers including jasmine.
While the coffee-scented stamps are a fun addition to the scented-stamp tradition, it seems as though the technology floating around these days should let us do something a little more innovative that would bring coffee and letter writing into the 21st century. Coffee-scented emails, anyone?