An Ode to Coffee

I love breakfast – I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t, but I don’t necessarily eat it in the morning. After all, breakfast-all-hours was invented for a reason – lazy people like myself, who want all the joys and comforts of a hearty breakfast, but who also want to luxuriate beneath the sheets until the 10AM sun beckons.

While I am content to go without breakfast most days, coffee is a must.

My earliest obsessions with coffee date back to when I was five years old and living with my aunt. Those days, my uncle would come home from work nearby for lunch. There was always a good, strong cup of sugared black coffee waiting for him in the fridge, and five-year-old-me figured out that if I stood by the fridge and waited for him, he’d let me have a few sips.

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This went on for quite a while, and dear old uncle was always happy to share.

If I really think about it, I’ll remember that most experiences I treasure have to do with coffee and the people I share it with.

I think back to the early mornings of my high school years, when I would brew strong cups of coffee to be sipped in preparation for another dreadful day ahead. In the spirit of my uncle’s unfailing generosity, I’d laugh as mom stole sips from my mug, eventually returning it half-full.

I recall the grin of delight a close personal friend had lavished me with upon my handing her a cafe latte I’d made. With extra cream the way she liked, she’d said.

If I close my eyes and pretend hard enough, I go back to my then-paramour’s one-bedroom apartment. I can smell the coffee from his percolator in the kitchen, and any minute now, I would step out of the bathroom and he would hand me a towel and a cup of coffee, and we would lie together on the couch, reading newspapers and watching cat videos.

I’m a little older now – a little wiser, with an espresso machine of my own and the werewithal to make cold brew coffees if I so desire. But I still dream of the dark bitter roasts of my childhood, of the milky lattes I used to daily, and of the tepid, but strong percolator espressos of that one good year.

If it’s the smell of coffee that evokes these treasured memories, then I’ll gladly smell it for the rest of my days.

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