Ode to Coffee


Coffee lovers rarely leave their passion to themselves. We know what we love, and while some may be snobs compared to evangelicals, we can share a common ground with our passion for hot be water. Coffee only enhances, making the dull exciting and a dark morning filled with caffeinated passion. Some may argue that it’s the caffeine I love more than anything else; that the coffee is a clever cover up to get my next fix. For one I will argue that you can’t have one without the other, and two, although there may be some truth to your statement, and second even if coffee tends to be a favorite for energy desperate students, there is a much larger world of passion dedicated to it.

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You’re twelve years old. Your feet can barely touch the ground of the booth you’re sitting in, eating your breakfast with your dad. The clanking of dishes and silverware in your ear, you have to speak up and ask for a sip of coffee, having to repeat yourself. As if knowing fate before it unfolds, your father pushes it toward you with the knowing smile of adulthood, and you take a sip: the coffee instantly plagues your tongue with bitterness and you try your hardest to keep your composure, as if it would somehow increase his respect for you. My first memory with coffee wasn’t pleasant, but that sip was all it took to show my interest. Not only was coffee well loved by those close to me, it was popular in movies and cartoons, showing the panacea-like rejuvenation that occurred after you finish. I hadn’t even had a proper sip and I felt worse off than I started, which made me seriously doubt adult taste sensibility.

At one point my life was dedicated to coffee. At least I was dedicated part time. During my earlier years of college I prepared shredded coffee beans and poured thousands of gallons of hot water as I earned my living as a barista.  Situated in the corner of a Barnes and Noble, our café was popularized by the atmosphere and abundance of books. The combination has been one of my favorites for years, starting even before my first job there. The job gave me insight onto the grand scale that coffee has to it, being imported and roasted in countless different fashions, eventually entrusted to the baristas like me. The café had a constant aroma to it, the wafting combination of freshly baking cookies coupled with brewing coffee and espresso. Coffee, and conversely working with coffee taught me patience and a love for the process, similarly to the Japanese tea ceremony. The ritual of preparation is almost as important as the drink itself, or can at least be exalted on the same level. When drinking coffee and fully being mindful, we can pin point the acidity and choice flavors of Columbian or Nicaraguan blends (or so we believe). Indulgence shouldn’t be discriminatory and coffee acts as a bridge between the common man, having moved through the skilled and passionate hands of many people.

Coffee is a great unifier, whether it is through actual people or between a man and his cup of coffee. The entire experience is social, whether it is by ordering it or making a pot for yourself and anyone willing to share, the transaction involved is social. We share coffee, and through the shared experience the coffee itself is enhanced, sparking our dulled mind with another shot of caffeine. Coffee is a centerpiece of a conversation even if it’s not the focus, bringing people together through its incredible taste and uniqueness. The caffeine fuels the conversation no matter the time of day, acting as a social lubricant similarly to alcohol and cigarettes without any adverse health effects. In my adult life coffee has always been a part of my daily ritual, shepherding me through the hard times with one sip at a time.

But why is coffee special to me? I could say “everything”, but that would only leave you with more questions than answers. When I’m drinking a cup of coffee, I can say at least one thing is right within the world. I can feel the bitterness on the edges of my tongue, and more flavors reveal itself after each sip. I hadn’t always felt this way about it, and I remember a period of my life when I even hated it; rejecting the cup completely after one tiny sip. It was out of necessity that made me reacquaint myself with it, where many bookworms, students, and hard workers can vouch for me when I speak of its rejuvenating properties. Coffee is about meditation and alertness at once, indulgence and necessity. We take from coffee but also lay ourselves at its feet, accepting all it has to offer.


This entry was posted in Food Essays Spring 2016, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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