Things that Confound Me: Coffee


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Found on Google images.

I don’t drink coffee. I know a lot of people who drink it every morning. Parents. Siblings. Various family and friends. Frankly, I don’t understand the fascination with coffee. It may be an upper, which I don’t need—I’m a morning person. But every sip is a vivid disappointment in the form of flavor…or the lack thereof. Coffee smells like bliss. But it never tastes anything like the way it smells. It may smell wondrous but it’s as bitter as a woman scorned. And nothing says downer like a bitter, jaded woman. (I can say that because I am a woman.)

Coffee culture is strange. I just don’t get it. People go to coffee shops at all hours of the day. Starbucks® has practically invented it’s own language for all the funky things you have to say to get what you want. Don’t get me wrong, I venture into coffee shops on occasion, but I’m a tea drinker myself. When I’m standing next to an avid coffee drinker at Starbucks® and they rattle off their order, it makes me feel like I need to go back to high school and take a different foreign language. Maybe this makes me sound crotchety. Maybe this makes me sound old. I’m neither. But there’s a strange mystery around the culture of coffee despite the fact that coffee has been known to mankind since Kaldi a goatherd in the Ethiopian highlands saw his goats eating berries and become “so spirited they did not want to sleep at night,” (The History of Coffee). The story is considered a folktale, but still. Unrelated, did you know that there’s a National Coffee Association? I sure didn’t.

Apparently there are other benefits to drinking coffee of which I wasn’t aware. A study published in 2012 claims that drinking 3-4 cups of coffee a day helps prevent Type 2 Diabetes by up to 25%. (Click here to read an article about the study.) I wonder if those people involved in the study were putting sugar in their coffee or not? I’m not a scientist but maybe it doesn’t matter. The study states that “chlorogenic acid, and trigonelline reduced early glucose and insulin responses, and contribute to the putative beneficial effect of coffee,” (ISIC Study article). The study was performed by the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee (ISIC). Maybe I’m being a bit too facetious, but with the prominence of Starbucks® and various other coffee shops in the United States, shouldn’t our chances of developing Type 2 Diabetes have lessened due to this consumptive habit?

Found on Google images.
Found on Google images.

And then there’s coffee art. Coffee art, well that’s something I can appreciate. When I worked as a bartender, I taught myself to make a clover in the foam as the Guinness poured out of the tap. But no matter whether it’s Guinness or coffee, beverage/barista art never sticks around very long. It gets slurped into oblivion. Coffee art is typically noticeable because of the color contrasts. It was rare that someone noticed my clover in the foam of their beer. Maybe that’s how a barista feels when someone puts a lid on their coffee cup and covers up their masterpiece. Se la vie.

Americans and humanity in general have a strange obsession with coffee. It’s not an obsession I share and as long as I’m a morning person and coffee tastes like crap, I won’t be joining you. But to those of you who drink this bitter beverage for necessity or pleasure, however you take your drink, I wish you many bright and alert mornings.

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5 thoughts on “Things that Confound Me: Coffee

  1. Well, as a guy from a UK colony, i guess I’m genetically modified to love tea and detest coffee.
    I ordered for mocca last week and couldn’t finish it cuz of the bitter taste. I rely on decaf Nescafé to keep me up especially now that I’m writing a new book. Even so, I do admire coffee a bit.
    Honest piece that was.

  2. Absolutely agree with you about the mystery of coffee. The sci-fi movie should focus on how the aliens take over the planet by taking away caffeine. 90% of the population would be rendered helpless. YAy for herb tea!!

  3. I believe that the taste for bitterness is acquired. I have always drunk my coffee black. I remember starting with cream and sugar in my coffee. I then cut out the cream, and not long after that the sugar. I like bitter beers and bitter vegetables. (Thais make a wonderful soup with a vegetable called Bitter Melon.) I may like bitter drinks and bitter foods, but I like my women sweet! 😉

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