A love letter to coffee

Dear Coffee,

You have been with me through much of my childhood and almost all of my adult life, and I foresee my love for you lasting a lifetime. Through all the late nights, the early mornings, the weeks that I’ve been forced to give you up and the days following where I’ve come back as if nothing had happened, you’ve always been a constant in my life, like the North Star in a cup.

Like any relationship over time, the way we appear and relate to each other has changed. I first met you around the age of seven through my mother. You came in a glass jar and were very easy for my child’s hands to handle. Your freeze-dried crystals dissolved instantly in hot water, and it gave me a lot of satisfaction to be tasked with the responsibility of making a cup for my mom. I glowed with pride when she said the coffee I made tasted good (though I suspect I probably added too much sugar!). Your aroma was something I found irresistible, and I began to enjoy small cups occasionally as a treat. I felt very grown-up.

During high school, when academic and musical pressures started building and I felt at times like I was drowning, I took breaks from my reality and entered yours in the form of Starbucks Frappuccinos and lattes. I wasn’t ready to try and experience your true self yet, so I dressed you up in lots of milk and sugar to make you into something you really weren’t at heart, but you had no complaints. You helped me through those hellish years with the promise that a better day was waiting at the bottom of every cup. You made me feel like the impossible might be possible, and I felt stronger with you around. I loved you for that, though I really didn’t know anything about you at all.

As an adult, I started to wean myself off of the sugar and milk. What I had once found alluring was now cloying; I started to want to get to know the real you, underneath the artifice. What a surprise and a joy to find such a complex, multi-dimensional explosion of flavor waiting patiently for me. In you, I taste the highs and lows of life. I taste the character of the places you’ve grown up, the way that people handled you as you matured. I taste the difference when you’re handled with care and loving attention, and when you’re uncaringly treated like a disposable commodity. I am embarrassed to think about all the years that we’ve spent together where I didn’t consider anyone but myself. Coffee, it used to be all about me – what can you do for me? How can you help me through the day? How can I get you when I need you?

Now, I am resolved to make this more than just about me. There are depths to you that I am only beginning to discover and that I want to share with the world! You still make me feel like the impossible is possible, but nowadays I’m not living as much in the future, constantly striving to get somewhere else. I am learning to appreciate living in the present, and as we spend time together each morning, I am reminded of what a blessing it is to savor life in the moment. Our time on earth is fleeting, and every moment that we have is precious. I am lucky to be able to spend as many moments as I do with you, who brings such joy and energy to so many people around the globe.

Thank you for always being there for me, and though you’ve never asked me for anything in return, I will show my appreciation by appreciating those people that treat you like you deserve to be treated, with care and respect. I will write about all that I see in you, from season to season. And most of all, I will give thanks every day that it is another day that we both exist in this world.


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