O for a beaker full of the warm South
Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,
With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,
And purple-stained mouth;
That I might drink, and leave the world unseen,
And with thee fade away into the forest dim.
I so relate to these lines by Keats from his poem Ode to A nightingale, even though I am a teetotaler. For me it is not wine, but coffee.
Ok now, I drink coffee rather regularly and post pictures on FB each time. People know me as a coffee lover, most of them think I am an addict, though I mostly stick to one cup a day. Ok, you got me; it sometimes goes up to 2 or 3 cups, but never more. They say up to 5 cups are safe though it depends from person to person.
And this actually makes me spend a considerable amount of money as coffee at coffee shops is expensive. I have been asked why is that I am so much into coffee, what is about coffee that excites me. People have also expressed concern about me not getting sleep since I have too much of caffeine.
Here, I will try to explain my love story with coffee. It is a very personal story, one that is made out of myriad emotions and sentiments as any other love story. And trust me, the love is mutual.
- The experience: I love my coffee without sugar. The cappuccino or the latte and of course the espresso. There is something sweet about bitter, if you know what I mean. Human beings love coffee; they love dark chocolate and things bitter. While there has been a lot of debate about this, researchers even suggest that people who like bitter stuff score highly on parameters of psychopathy, sadism, and aggression. Phew! But hey, that’s not all. While bitterness might be the overwhelming flavour of coffee and might hit you at the back of your mouth with the first sip, a good cup of coffee has a variety of subtle flavours which could be nutty, fruity, citrus or floral. These are mostly not tasted but detected through the aroma. Once in your mouth, coffee could either taste of chocolate or caramel. Of course all this depends on the type of beans and how they are extracted. So here she is, not predictable, with an angry side that is actually sweet, with a variety of emotions which are delicate and kind of difficult to fathom but which make her all the more attractive!
2. The company: I am lucky to have some very good friends, but even then there are times when I am alone. I mean our routines do not match with each other. Having coffee with a friend is of course a great thing, but the thing about coffee is that you can have it alone, because it actually replaces a human being. In fact, coffee helps me not to feel alone or miss human company. That time you spend sipping on your coffee is as rewarding as that you would spend with her, when even conversations are not a necessity, when you can just look at her and wonder at how beautiful she is , when so many words are spoken even in silence. I have made coffee plans with people several times and when you expect to meet someone and it doesn’t happen for whatever reason, you feel bad. Coffee takes care of that. You can do without anyone else. And it never lets you down, leaves you or cancels a plan at the last moment. Who else can you say that about?
3. The ambience and the conversations: I have said this before, but I love the idea of coffee shops in general. As one walks into a coffee shop, some of the common scenes one sees are- a couple sipping coffee and looking into each other’s eyes, two people pouring over their laptops and discussing business, a bunch of young girls pouting and taking selfies, a mumma with her naughty kids and so on. A bunch of people doing their own thing, drinking their coffee and not bothered about what the other is doing. If only the world in general was more like this. Add to that the friendly staff serving the coffee and the snacks. More often than not I would strike up a conversation with someone at the next table and discuss common interests , at other times, when the cafe is not too busy, have a friendly chat with the staff, some of whom are good friends. I have made new friends at the cafe, lots of them, met people who are my FB friends but whom I have never met in person before and also bumped into old acquaintances after a long time.4. The book: A coffee and a book make excellent bedfellows. It is tough to catch up on one’s reading as our schedules are busy and your time out at a coffee shop can be used to catch up on your reading. A cup of coffee and a book kind of complement each other, you can enjoy your coffee while you read your book and one does not interrupt the other. I normally prefer a hard copy, but I love my Kindle along with my coffee too. You kind of know how much time you have, how much time you will take to drink your coffee and pace your reading accordingly. Often I plan to finish a couple of chapters, but end up reading much more. It helps to either switch off your phone so that you are not disturbed. It is just your coffee and your book and that pure me-time which nobody can interrupt.
5. The “I don’t give a damn attitude”: I kept this one for the last and I don’t know how many of you will relate to this. Well, the rest of the world is pretty busy, chasing their dreams and in the proverbial rat race. Especially on Monday mornings, right? I have a job to do, but I do prefer my me-time with my coffee. So on a weekday morning while the world may be chasing deadlines, heading to a meeting, talking to a client to make a deal or being a part of conference calls, all a part of their job to pay their bills and EMIs, I prefer to sit with a cup of coffee at my favourite cafe , sipping on my latte and reading my book, pondering over life’s questions, planning my next trip, or even making a list of what all to do in the day. Coffee here is a symbol of denial, a symbol of what I stand for, a symbol of the fact that I don’t really care, a symbol of a lazy ritual in a world that is too busy with itself.
Would close with a quote from another favourite author, T.S. Eliot. He might have meant it in some other way, but this sums it up nicely. “I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.” I really have.