Absence makes the heart grow fonder, an old adage that applies to affairs of the heart and the stomach. In an attempt to cut down my 6 cup a day coffee habit I decided to endure the pain and suffering associated with caffeine withdrawal and give up my daily java habit cold turkey. Once getting past the lack of energy and mind crushing headaches I discovered the sensory deprivation of life without coffee left me cold and miserable.
I love the taste coffee, the rich complexities of a fine bean brewed under perfect conditions. Coffee, when well made, does not need to be enhanced by flavors like milk or sugar but enjoyed for the pure strength and beauty contained within a steaming cup of black liquid. Coffee is a beverage that can be enjoyed both hot or cold making it the perfect beverage regardless of the season. Coffee beans, like wine grapes, take on different taste characteristics based on based upon bean type, soil conditions, weather, care and blending. Virginia Madsen’s monologue on wine in the movie Sideways can could easily convey the beauty of coffee; “I like how (coffee) continues to evolve, like if I opened a (bag of beans) today it would taste different than if I'd opened it on any other day, because (coffee) is actually alive. And it's constantly evolving and gaining complexity. That is, until it peaks. And then it begins its steady, inevitable decline.” A good cup of coffee is as beautiful as a fine glass of wine and takes more then just beans and water but true love from growers and roasters to be worth of vintage mention.
I love the sound of coffee, regardless to whether the sound comes from an espresso machine or a percolator it is like music to my ears; water heating, the first drop hitting the pot, a cup being filled. Especially melodic is the sound of beans being ground just seconds before their brewing; it is the sound of flavor.
I love the sight of coffee, people sitting around a table laughing and enjoying find conversation over a cup of java. Dark coffee shops with orange mood lighting perfect for a poetry reading. Bright and cheery shops, bursting with light from big windows, friends gathering over white ceramic mugs steaming with the drip of the day. Coffee brings people together and there is nothing that looks more beautiful then togetherness.
I love the smell of coffee; there is no other scent that evokes emotions of warmth and comfort like coffee brewing. The smell of coffee brings me back to family gatherings, adults sitting around the table for coffee and conversation while we all played games and eavesdropped. Once the smell of coffee wafted through the air we all knew that pie, cake and cookies were not far behind.
I love the way coffee makes me feel; what other beverage can be used to become more alert, awake and ready to take on the world or to lay back and relax in calming comfort. Comfort is also found in the routine of coffee; the morning ritual of brewing a pot to start the day, retrieving the large coffee urn from storage for large family gatherings, the way a long order like a Venti Half Caf Non Fat Extra Hot Sugar Free Caramel Latte just rolls off the tongue. From the time we are babies humans thrive in an environment of routine and structure and routine is still necessary in our adult years to provide a sense of calm and control that is lacking in so many of our lives.
Without coffee my senses are dulled, things do not taste, look, smell, sound or hear the same. I almost feel lost without my daily cup of coffee. This type of attachment to is synonymous with addition but mid-way through January it is time to admit failure on kicking the coffee habit and move on. With all the medical studies linked to the benefits of coffee consumption there are far worse addictions to have. Knowing you have an addictive personality is hard but finding something an addiction that can actually help my health and well being is priceless.