Ode to Coffee

By: Kylie Ponn

Vector_cup_of_coffee.svg“We want to do a lot of stuff; we’re not in great shape. We didn’t get a good night’s sleep. We’re a little depressed. Coffee solves all these problems in one delightful little cup.”

— Jerry Seinfeld

Coffee is widely known as the morning pick-me-up, the physical form of a breath of fresh, morning air; every cup is reminiscent of morning chats with loved ones on the front porch over a steaming cup of joe.

For as long as I can remember, I would wake up to the smell of coffee in my house: a strong, potent smell that never seemed to get old. I would beg to try the creamy, caramel-colored elixir that only adults seemed to be allowed to drink. My grandmother, a lover of all things caffeinated, referred to herself as a drug pusher when she would offer me “little sips” of her English breakfast tea and coffee when no one was looking. Only when I reached middle school age was I allowed to begin my love affair with the caffeinated beverage.

Vector_cup_of_coffee.svg“If it wasn’t for the coffee, I’d have no identifiable personality whatsoever.”

— David Letterman

I am not the first to be fascinated and entranced by these little, brown beans. The first credible, recorded evidence and knowledge of coffee was in the middle of the fifteenth century in Yemen, exported from Ethiopia. Yemeni traders brought coffee back home and began to cultivate the bean. The word “qahwa” originally referred to wine, in which Sufis in Yemen used the beverage as an aid to concentration and for a kind of spiritual intoxication. Since then, energy from coffee has been harnessed by people all over the world; in fact, 83 percent of adults in the U.S. drink coffee regularly.

Just as a person evolves over time, coffee does as well. A shape-shifter, trickster of sorts, it’s constantly morphing into new things. Taking on a different form and personality day by day, coffee is ever-changing and can be altered to your preference. Mocha, cold brew, frappé, cappuccino, frappucino, macchiato, café au lait, americano, café latte, the list goes on and on. Cream. Sugar. Half and half. Black with a shot.

My favorite thing about coffee is it is willing to adapt and be whatever I need. If you need a sweet treat, a creamy indulgence, a shot of espresso to shock your nerves, it will do as you say with no hesitation. Along with the bold, tart taste of a strong cup of coffee, there is something to be said about the almost sensual appeal of its physical form.

When mixed with cream and sugar, the creamer swirls around, dancing and taunting you until you can taste its splendor. This image has become so popular that lattés are being made with foam art, depicting basically anything you can think of and fit in a cup. Of course, with all these fancy options, there are certain ways coffee is made that are just flat-out better than others, to put it politely.

With all the options and variations of coffee, a stigma and stereotype has definitely developed of the infamous “coffee snob,” also known as someone who prefers a $5 cup of gourmet coffee, versus gas station sludge, also known as me. These snobs are the people we hate to love, or at least you should. I, at least, wish to spread the awareness and appreciation for a good cup of coffee, not keep my nose in the air with my expensive drink that you probably cannot pronounce. Give these snobs a chance; try the drink they ordered, and even try to strike up a conversation. You may be surprised.

 

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