Like many, I can’t start my day without coffee. Of course, I wasn’t always that way. Coffee wasn’t a habit until I went to college.
For reasons that still aren’t clear to me, I decided one day to go into a coffeehouse on campus to study. Someone must have given me that little tip or maybe I overheard some fellow students talking about it. But, I went in, ordered a cappuccino, took a table, and unloaded my books and notebooks.
It turned out that I was super productive. I’m sure the caffeine played a part, but nonetheless, I was pleasantly surprised. Studying there became a regular thing. I would change up my drink order, depending on my mood. I’d have to sit at whatever table was available. But no matter what, I always got a lot done at my now beloved coffeehouse.
This was the early 1990s, the heyday of the coffeehouse. I loved that place, and it no doubt started my love affair with coffee and coffeehouses. Cup O’ Joe was the name. It had huge black and white tiled floors, orangey-red table tops, and random art by local artists on the walls. There was also a couch and a couple of oversized chairs that looked way past their prime. I never sat in those.
Even today, I am more productive when working at a coffeehouse. Besides the caffeine, I think it’s because of all the excellent white noise. I don’t like complete silence. I think silence makes it harder for me to concentrate. Coffeehouses are the best places for background noise. The grinding of the beans in the espresso machines, the constant chatter of conversation, and the clinking of spoons on ceramic coffee mugs make for a beautiful melodic symphony.
Although my two-cup-a-day coffee habit developed in college, my first memories of coffee are from when I was just a toddler. From the ages of about two to four, my grandfather would take me to diners and truck stops for breakfast. He would order coffee straight away, to which he would add cream and sugar.
I should tell you now that Papa (that’s what called him) would pretty much give me anything I wanted. I was his first grandchild, so he spoiled me. I guess that one day I asked him for a taste of his coffee. I liked it, and from then on, he would “share” his coffee with me. When the coffee had cooled a bit, he would put some in a spoon and feed it to me. I vividly remember those times with Papa.
He is no longer with us, but whenever I think about him, I think about how he introduced me to coffee. A lot of the time, when I drink coffee, I think of him.
Coffee isn’t just something to wake me up and start my day. It’s also connected with happy childhood memories of my Papa. Coffee is, and has been, an important part of my life.