on coffee


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It happened. I fell off the wagon. I’m drinking coffee again.

For so long, I stayed away from coffee. I didn’t want to feel dependent on something every morning. I wanted the foods I was eating and the restful sleep I was getting to be enough to keep my energy levels high. That worked for a while.

And then I started drinking tea. At first it was herbal tea: no caffeine, lots of benefits; I felt good about it. Then green tea: tons of antioxidants, trendy superfood, low caffeine levels. And then I fell in love with black tea: chais, oolongs, blends, simple breakfast teas. My gateway drug. I fell in love with the brewing process, the loose leaf snobbery, the ritual of stumbling out of bed in the morning, brewing myself a hot cup of tea and sipping it cautiously as I began my morning ritual of attempting to meditate meditating before yoga class. The kick of the caffeine got me off my ass and onto my mat, and I appreciated the ability to wake up before class rather than mid-chaturanga.

For months I kept up my habit of drinking black tea first thing after waking up. I felt very grown-up, having my own morning ritual, shuffling around my kitchen in the pre-dawn darkness, using a tea kettle, gripping my artisan mug gratefully. I felt superior to those people who drank coffee: my addiction was classier, less intense, more healthy. I told myself that the caffeine in black tea was much less than that of coffee, so I wasn’t “hooked” on it like I used to be back in my coffee-drinking days. I could quit whenever I wanted. The classic addict’s phrase.

At my high school reunion in June, however, I broke my coffee-fast and allowed myself an iced latte (soy, duh) to caffeinate myself for a long night of partying reminiscing with old friends. And it tasted so good. I started treating coffee as a “treat”, something I allowed myself on the weekends or in preparation for an especially long day at work.

This once-a-week treat soon turned into twice a week, then daily – strolling into starbucks on my way to yoga, sipping the second half of my iced cappuccino as I drove home a sweaty, relaxed-yet-caffeinated mess. It just tasted too good to give up.

Here’s the thing: I think coffee gets a bad rap. Yes, it’s a diuretic, so you should drink extra water to compensate and try to limit your intake to one cup a day. But if you’re only drinking coffee once a day, and you’re not loading it up with heavy cream and loads of sugar (or, worse, artificial sweetener), it will most likely not a) kill you or b) make you obese. Some days I go without coffee and I’m okay. Some days I’m just not in the mood. But when the smell of roasted coffee beans wakes up my senses in the morning, and that first sip of foamed milk and delicious espresso touches my lips, I can’t help but smile. We can’t deny ourselves these little daily rituals that bring us such joy.

So today I proudly stand up and say, my name is Marian, and don’t talk to me until I’ve had my coffee.

Maybe this is what being an adult feels like?

4 thoughts on “on coffee

  1. I wish I weren’t as addicted to coffee as I am. I wish I had mornings where I just wasn’t in the mood. Well actually, I do have those mornings..except if I do skip my coffee, I have a RAGING headache all day. I’m addicted. It’s sad, but true. I guess drinking a cup of coffee every.single.morning for the past 4 years will do that to you. Oops. But we are definitely on the same page when it comes to ‘don’t talk to me until I’ve had my coffee’ ha.

I love it when you write to me.

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