Going through the Motions, a Romance with Coffee


I wonder sometimes if I even like the taste of coffee or if I’m just in love with the production of it all — as if I can’t start my day unless I ease into it with boiling water, milk, mugs, and sugar. As if I need something to compliment my toast or donut (it’s bread. It doesn’t need anything really.)

I posed the question to my fellow Poor Writers yesterday, “Did they ever feel like they used coffee to feel like an adult too?”

We all agreed. Yes. Yes, we did.

I had my first sip of coffee around seven or eight. My mom was drinking hers with old fashioned donuts and me being the donut fan that I am, I asked if I could have some too. I don’t think my mom thought twice about letting a little girl have her own cup of coffee to dunk donuts in, mainly because it was delicious, but it probably wasn’t a very good thing to do.

I sat at the kitchen table as my mom inducted me (unintentionally) into the coffee drinker’s club, showing me how to measure instant coffee with boiling water, the ratio of sugar, the milk. The smell was amazing. It reminded me of my parents’ in the morning and how they drank this stuff like true adults.

My mom let me at it to dunk at heart’s content, and happily I did, enjoying the soggy pastry, the sugar. Donuts don’t really soak up much coffee, so I had a good amount in my mug when I was done. I decided to sip it.

It was awful. What the hell were grown-ups thinking? Sure it was okay to eat as a flavor, but the stuff was vile. I didn’t understand.

Like a brat, I left the mostly filled mug on the table and went to my mom to tell her I didn’t like it anymore. Instead, I’d just wait until she poured herself a mug and come at her with a donut.

I don’t know what changed since then. I know my older sister became a coffee drinker in college. I know that I had occasional Starbucks orders in high school, before it became an appreciation in college. My mom bought a Keurig for the family eventually, and that only added to my growing enthusiasm for the drink. I needed it to work. I needed it to celebrate. Coffee became a better version of alcohol.

Better because I liked the taste and it was easily accessible. Better, because as Imani put it, it’s like cheaper alcohol.

coffeecatmugsBut is it even necessary as a drink? Or do I just love the production of it all?

I asked the Poor Writers because I had a feeling that I was just going through the motions, like “this is what adults do right? This is what I should do to get to that point at least?” Bang, smack, ding as I pretend to hit kitchenwares blindly and shuffle around my small kitchen for the accessories to make my favorite drink. Deedle, deedle, dee, I’m making coffee like my mom did!

It’s half utility and half taste for me. I admit that I do like the steps of it. I also have an entire personal arc, trying to solve how I like my coffee — because I have a feeling that once I solve this important life thing, I’ll get right down to the other nitty-gritty life things like insurance and career goals — and I experiment with creamers and sugars and real sugars. Sure, I feel like a poseur when I have a large Starbucks cup. Sure, sometimes I’ll just make a cup of coffee as a form of procrastination.

But it makes me happy. And it sort of acts as a timer and a balm to my day. A timer because I have the rings around the mug as I drink in doses. A balm because it’s soothing.

I’ve over thought it enough. I just like coffee.


3 thoughts on “Going through the Motions, a Romance with Coffee

  1. I really enjoyed reading this post. I started drinking coffee because I loved how it smelled, and I associated it with my Papa, who drank it every morning. He was the first person to give me a cup. I took it with just a little cream and sugar because that is the way he liked it. I thought it was awful, but just like sushi, it was something I practically forced myself to like. They say your pallet changes as you age, so it must just be a flavor that you grow to love.

  2. I really got addicted after I had my first baby. Now, I need my first cup in the morning, too. I notice when I don’t have it, I’m functioning like I’m under water. It’s also like my comfort food when I write. I’ve decided to stop beating myself up about it and just enjoy it 😉

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