The Meaning of Coffee

Anyone who knows me in real life knows that coffee is incredibly important to me, integral to my daily consciousness.

It started when I was a child. My mom had some health issues surrounding pregnancy, so I got shared with my grandparents, my mom’s mom and stepdad more so than my dad’s mom (his dad was already dead).

They always had a cup of coffee in their hands, all day, every day. (They also had Pall Malls and Camels too, but that wasn’t something they let me pick up.) Any adult that entered their house was handed a cup of that steaming, aromatic beverage.

Then they sat around the kitchen table and talked about “big people things.” I don’t know what they were because I was always shooed into the sitting room to color or play with plastic zoo animals.

I was incredibly excited when my pappy taught me how to make his coffee. Two rounded teaspoons of Nescafe, two tiny pink scoops of Sweet and Low, and one rounded teaspoon of Cremora. My mammy never let me make hers; it involved a coffee maker and a glass coffee pot, and I was all arms and knees and fell too frequently.

I was never allowed to have coffee with them because it “stunts your growth,” but I was allowed to sneak a sip here and there.

Years later, as an adult, I always had a cup of coffee with both grandmas until their deaths. I could cradle that mug in my hands, inhale the aroma that is so indescribable, and enjoy their company while it lasted.

Coffee is so central to me that for my daughters’ sixteenth birthdays we plan a “date” at a formal coffee shop to have their first official cup of coffee. We sometimes even fight to see who gets to make the day’s pot.

Lately, I’ve found myself enamored of French pressed made with hand-ground beans. I’m still learning to do it right though, and even now, I have the jitters from my first attempt. Actually, I’m really wondering if I made eight ounces of steaming espresso by accident.

So for me, the following are my mantras:

  • Coffee is life.
  • Coffee is connection.
  • Coffee is relationship.
  • Coffee is meaning.
  • Coffee is empathy and compassion.
  • Coffee is hospitality and good times for all involved.
  • Coffee just is.

So, if you’re in my neck of the woods, drop by. I’ll grind some fresh, we’ll brew some, and then who knows?

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