One chilly damp May afternoon I was amused to find myself reading about coffee from a cool book by Tim Schenck titled Holy Grounds. For me, drinking coffee is hardly habitual. Almost to the end of my sixty-sixth year, I have infinitesimal coffee consumption compared to that of most adults. For more comic relief in my dismal kitchen on that dreary day, I pulled from the back of a bottom pantry shelf a coffee bean / spice grinder still in the box, purchased three or more years ago on an impulsive whim at the same time I purchased a coffee maker. I broke the coffee pot before its first use, thus the reason the grinder was stored away.
Fast forward to 2019. After enjoying coffee from a Keurig and realizing I could savor various flavors without wasting a drop, I purchased one. Several 2020 calendar pages were ripped away before I decided to use it. Having a morning cup is a marvelous coping tool, giving me moments to focus on ways to make my days productive. And I have discovered coffee naps. Not the contradiction it seems. In early afternoon, I wind down with another cup, then set a timer for a 20-minute power nap and wake rested and energized all at the same time!
Not drinking coffee wasn’t a conscious decision. My parents never failed to offer me some when I would pop in to say hello and visit for a few minutes. “Want a cup of coffee?” was always asked and my answer was always “No, thank you” as I opened the fridge hunting for a Diet Coke or the milk to make a glass of chocolate from the Nestle Quik in the cabinet. Years later I realized it wasn’t really an offer of refreshment. They were showing acceptance of and my graduation to the camaraderie of adulthood. It didn’t dawn on me till it was too late to enjoy a cup with either of them. Perhaps in my own mind I remained their kid as long as I drank pop or chocolate milk, a welcome mini-reprieve from being all grown up, which is not always what it’s cracked up to be. They did teach me to make it, though, in their Guardian Service percolator. Those sounds and scents will be forever nostalgic.
On a birthday trip to New Orleans (the birthday that qualified me for AARP membership), I savored cafe au lait with my beignets, and long before I sampled espresso on the banks of the Seine in Paris, making and serving it in an authentic demitasse was part of French class lesson plans late in my classroom tenure. Neither ever became routine in my household, though.
Coffee is in my cupboard now. Keurig is getting a workout. My first bag of coffee beans is on order from Equal Exchange and the coffee bean grinder is out of its box and instructions are read. Coffee drinking has gained a priority status in my household now. Does that mean I am finally all grown up?