What coffee taught me about deep living

Madhumitha Venkatesh

A lesson in experiencing the unadulterated life

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

My love for coffee began when I was about ten years old. When I used to sneakily try my grandmom’s coffee before I coaxed her to brew me my own cup every day. I’ve always drunk my coffee strong, with a splash of foamy milk and sugar. These three ingredients became my morning staples, fueling me for the day ahead and whenever I needed a pick me up.

Ever since, my love for the beverage has grown by leaps and bounds, strengthened by repeated communion. One of my favorite things to do when I travel is to find the best cup of joe in the city that I’m visiting. New roasteries and cafes in the city I live, are obsessively bookmarked to be tried.

On one such visit to a boutique roastery, I walked in, to the smell of aromatic coffee beans being ground. I chose my beans, placed an order for a cappuccino and sat down at a table. The place was minimally decorated, perhaps to not deter one’s attention from the experience of savoring the handcrafted coffee.

When my coffee arrived, there was no sugar that was brought with it nor could I find any sugar pots in the cafe. So, I asked the barista for some. The barista responded saying

“ The beans you chose are really special, and the coffee I brewed tries to captures all its fragrant notes. If you add sugar to it, you will not be able to taste it all. I highly recommend trying it without sugar.“

His reply caught me off-guard. Partly intrigued by his response, I decided to try the coffee without sweetening it. With each sip, my mouth and eventually my brain exploded with the spectrum of subtle yet complex notes of the coffee that I was tasting. The layered complexity of the aroma and notes had me enthralled until the last sip. The coffee wasn’t bitter at all as I had expected it to be, without sugar.

This incident got me thinking about how I live my life.

I was used to adding a protective layer around me to try and cushion myself from experiencing situations that I perceive would cause me pain or unpleasantness. Like adding sugar to avoid tasting the perceived bitterness of coffee. When in reality, what I was doing was shielding myself from experiencing all that life has to offer. Perhaps it shields me from experiencing bitterness and pain, but it is this that also prevents me from savoring all of life’s deliciousness. That was the day I stopped sweetening my coffee and discarded my protective cover to be able to embrace the unadulterated and wholesome life.

How do you drink your coffee?

Madhumitha Venkatesh

Written by

Lover of the abstract. Inspired by all things urban, my pieces are meant to spark individual thought and moments of zen.

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