Woke up today to a gloomy, rainy and thunderous morning and one of my first waking thoughts was “gotta stop by the Starbucks drive-through and pick up a latte… that will make it all better.” What is it about coffee that’s so exciting and comforting at the same time?
Coffee for coffee-drinkers is like the bell ringing for Pavlovian dogs – we are conditioned to feel that the day has not begun until we have our steaming mug (or paper cup) in hand. It’s the switch that flips our brains to the “on” position and signifies that it’s time to get productive. After I’ve had my coffee, I feel like superwoman who can take on anything.
Coffee is about connecting with others and forming social rituals. We get together for coffee with friends – for me, it’s a hazelnut latte every Saturday morning with my friend Deb. Coffee is also the perfect first-date activity. A fancy dinner is too much of a committment to someone you don’t know well. Cocktails are too “suggestive.” But coffee is friendly and laid back. It invites you to just relax and get to know each other with no pressure.
Finally, I think coffee represents something familiar and constant. If I am traveling, away from people I know, in a foreign country, and I don’t know where anything is – I always know that I can walk into a restaurant or cafe and order a coffee. And it will taste just as I know it. Not all cultures drink alcohol and not all cultures drink milk. But coffee is universal. No matter where I am, or how unpredictable things might be, I can always count on my cup o’joe to make me feel like the day is full of possibilities and everything will be OK.