Everything I Know About Coffee
I have a love hate relationship with coffee. When I love it, I crave it. Rich, dark roast is my one and only desire. Two cream, two sweeteners; my wake-up in a cup.
My best friend will often bring me this liquid gold when I am feeling blue. Heck, she will bring me coffee when I am happy, sad, angry, or bored. Coffee is a key component in our relationship; it is what ties us together. We laugh over a coffee; we cry over a cappuccino; we sit silently and wait for conversation to come over our coffee of choice; we natter on and on for hours as our coffees grow cold in the bottom of our cups.
There are times, though, when I hate coffee. The thought of the tell-tale aroma of a roasted bean makes me physically ill. I don’t know what spawns this sudden change in taste, but for the life of me, I cannot bring myself to choke down one mouthful, let alone three or four cups. At the time, it tastes putrid, thick, and clotted with cream and chemical sweetness. I still try, though. I still go and stand in line at the local coffee shop. I still order the same size cup with the same essential condiments. I still open the lid the same way. But I am always disappointed when two hours later I am left with a soggy paper cup brimming with cold, creamy liquid - nauseating and horrendous. Perhaps this is because it reminds me of sharing coffee with the man who helped conceive me. Perhaps I am reminded of he way he slurps his coffee and smacks his lips together when it's a bit too hot for his liking.
I have another friend I have known for longer than I have loved (and hated) coffee. She, on the other hand, was born with an espresso in her hand. She only ever drinks her coffee black and always from a bucket. She refuses to order any size other than the largest available. She is impatient, urgently awaiting her caffeine fix, and orders hers with a little ice in it so she can drink it right away. And, while she drinks, she smokes. For the longest time, if she had a coffee and smoked, so did I. It never seemed to matter that I had given up smoking years before, and had no desire to light up again. If she lit a cigarette and sipped her coffee, I would too. Together, we would sit outside drinking coffee and reminiscing about old times.
Coffee often goes hand in hand with my relationships; it became an understanding, a gift of sorts, between friends. Perhaps that is why I was so pleasantly surprised one day, when my somewhat distant husband showed up at home with a gift just for me: a cup of coffee just the way I like it, piping hot and totally unexpected. The only other time he ever bought me coffee unprompted was on my 22nd birthday, almost six years prior. Maybe (not quite so surprising): we are now divorced.
By: T.J. Ruberto (c) 2017