A Love Affair with Coffee

Okay, I know what you’re thinking: what meaningful thing could anyone possibly have to say about coffee? (Unless you’re a coffee fanatic like myself, in which case you’re probably thinking, “okay, it’s been 3 hours since my last cup so I can have another, like, now…right?”)

Yeah, I love coffee. I love the way it smells as its brewing in the pot before I even wake up in the morning; I love the way it washes you over with more of its delicious, comforting smell as you wait for it to cool down before that first sip; I love the way it counters a sweet breakfast pastry or an afternoon cookie; I love the bonds it creates — Let’s be friends! Want to meet for coffee tomorrow? — I love the friendship it restores — I miss you. Want to meet for coffee tomorrow? — I love the excitement it incites — Can I take you out for a coffee? — I love the way it brings me back to life every morning (ha…but really).

Speaking candidly, I’m not here to endorse a caffeine addiction. That is real, and you do suffer withdrawals when you go without — trust me, I know from personal experience.

But I am here to say that there’s no-harm-no-foul in drinking a cup or two in the morning when you wake up (and maybe a latte in the afternoon, too? Your call, I guess). There’s something that’s just right about a hot drink paired with breakfast food in the morning. It’s that act of sitting down, pausing, giving yourself an extra hour even to be still and welcome the day with something comforting in your hand.

No matter how hectic, or stressful, or terrible, or dreary, or maddening your day will be, that hour with you and coffee cannot be taken away from you. And, you can end the day knowing that you and coffee will be reunited once again in the morning.

I didn’t start drinking coffee till my senior year of high school. And even then, it wasn’t an every morning kind of thing. It was every once in a while, maybe twice a week. Freshman year? Some mornings…I drank black tea. I flat-out betrayed coffee. But that all changed the summer after my freshman year when I took the most exhausting job known to man: I was a camp counselor.

Coffee accompanied every breakfast…until coffee accompanied every breakfast and every lunch…until coffee accompanied every breakfast and every lunch and every dinner. I was desperate for the caffeine. Long days of nonstop activity in the hot sun which stretched into long nights of events under the stars meant I needed all the caffeine I could get (I was also only getting a few hours of sleep per night). After a while, I wasn’t just drinking it for the jolt of energy — I loved the taste. It was an “acquired taste,” as so many had told me for so long. And now I was the ultra-cool 19-year-old who had acquired a taste for coffee.

“Yes, I’m a real college kid now,” I pronounced proudly.

So began my love affair with coffee. I returned home to a Dallas I had never known until that July of 2013. A Dallas with so much untapped (to me) coffee territory. There’s Sip Stir, Houndstooth, Union, and Wild Detectives…there’s Local Press, Watermark’s coffee shop (trust me), and Coffee House Cafe. And it was all mine to sample and taste and have. And then I spent 4 months in Europe. You can probably guess what happened: I became a full-fledged addict. No turning back now.

Fast forward nearly 3 years after my abroad experience, and of course, I still love coffee. I don’t just want coffee in the morning — I expect it. Maybe that sounds a little bratty to you, but — hey! — at least I’m honest. This expectation, like most expectations, causes disappointment occasionally. Sometimes, I travel with friends and no one wants to stop at a coffee shop first thing in the morning when we wake up *insert annoyed / confused / not-alive-yet face here*. Yes, yes — I know — my life is very difficult *insert sarcasm here* *I promise I’m being sarcastic*.

You may be asking yourself, if you have made it this far, “what is the point of writing all of this down?” Well, part of it is simply for the purpose of allowing anyone who may be reading this just how much I really do love coffee. But the other purpose goes back to the beginning of this little mini-essay.

Coffee brings people together. At least, that has been my experience. Coffee is family breakfast at the kitchen table at 9:08 AM on a Saturday morning. Coffee is catching up with an old friend on a Friday afternoon. Coffee is ordering a decaf after dinner because you want to just sit and be in that moment with that person for just a little bit longer. Coffee is spending an hour alone in the morning before a hectic day. Coffee is reason for a break in the middle of a long workday. Coffee is hilarious, delirious nights in the library with friends during finals week. Coffee is a massive breakfast with a dear friend (c’mon, you know you want those fluffy, luxurious pancakes — there’s no shame in that).

Coffee is what it all comes back to for me.

So, can I take you out for a coffee?