The serenity of coffee
The aromatic brew
Most people are familiar with coffee. They know that it is made from ground coffee beans and can be caffeinated or decaffeinated. Most people also know it is available in a variety of strengths and flavors.
Many people all over the world enjoy at least one cup of coffee a day. In fact, for some of us, the day does not begin until after that first cup of Joe. If you are lucky enough to have a coffee maker that you can program, then you know how wonderful it is to wake up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee.
There is just something special about the aroma of freshly brewed coffee that speaks to all of the sensors, not just the nose. The aroma gives you a hint of what it will taste like. You can almost feel that warm mug in your hands. You can see the steam rising from the mug as you inhale deeply before savoring that first sip. Then that wonderful sound of "Ahh" after that first sip.
These wonderful experiences have nothing to do with caffeine or brew strength or brand of coffee. They have to do with the comfort factor. For the coffee lover, there is more to the dark brew than mere caffeine or status.
Coffee is a comfort
Most people have heard of comfort foods or places having a comforting effect like the beach or a garden. For some of us, coffee is both of those things poured into our favorite mug. Coffee warms the insides on a cold day, hits the spot after a stressful day and is there to help us wake up a little more cheerful.
I can't speak for any other coffee drinker, but as for myself, coffee made at home is the best and most comforting. I control how strong the brew is and how much caffeine I am consuming. I don't care for really strong or really weak coffee. I also don't care to be wired for sound (jitters from too much caffeine) after only one cup. These are not the main reasons I prefer coffee at home though.
The main reason for me is that it is my time for quiet relaxation. I don't have to get dressed up or even wear shoes. I sit down with my coffee and close my eyes for a few seconds and just inhale the aroma. My mind begins to settle down a bit and before I know it, I'm smiling contently. Coffee at home has a cozy quality about it that I love.
For other people, having coffee at their favorite cafe or coffeehouse is comforting. They can soak up the pleasant atmosphere and maybe read a book, get on the internet or socialize with friends. It is an added bonus when the baristas/waitstaff know your name and coffee preference. At their favorite haunt, they probably know some of the staff and patrons and it is always comforting to see friendly faces. Most cafes and coffeehouses are informal places that make their patrons feel right at home.
Whether enjoyed at home, a friend's house or a favorite coffeehouse, coffee offers a bit of serenity in an often chaotic world. Drinking coffee cannot make problems vanish, fight crime or solve mysteries. What it can do is warm the body, calm the mind and soothe the soul for a few precious minutes. That's all any coffee drinker can ask for.
Now you know why coffee breaks exist
Anyone who has ever had a job is familiar with "break time". Anyone who has children or lived with roommates is also familiar with the need to take a break. The origin of the workday coffee break is a little fuzzy, but has been commonplace since the 1950s. The coffee break was created to allow workers to take a breather from their tasks and get a quick energy boost from coffee. This came about due to the sluggishness of workers by midday. History lesson over.
Today, the phrase "coffee break" may hold some of its original intent. However, it has meaning beyond the workplace. I, for example, do not have functioning brain cells first thing in the morning. That is, not until I have had my first cup of coffee. Everyone that knows me personally, knows to just hand me the coffee silently and back away slowly. Oh, and for the love of all that is beautiful on this earth, do not greet me with any form of "Good morning!" If I do not get my wake up cup of coffee, no one is safe and my day goes very badly. I do not care about the accusations of being addicted to the caffeine, nor do I care about the high price of buying and brewing coffee at home. Coffee is my happy place early in the morning.
The point is that if you know of, or are a, coffee drinker then you understand why coffee breaks have been around for so long. Coffee comforts us much like tea comforts tea drinkers. You see it all the time on movies and television shows, during a stressful time people are offered a cup of herbal tea. Well, for us, coffee has that soothing effect.
Jitters, addiction and coffee myths
First off, I will not argue the fact that some people are sensitive to the caffeine in coffee. I feel bad for those poor folks. The associated headaches and nausea would not be a bit enjoyable. I also will not argue that some people can develop a jittery (headaches, blurry vision, can't sit still, etc.) feeling after consuming too much caffeinated coffee. That would not be an enjoyable experience either. Having said that, we move on.
Is coffee really addictive? The short answer is no. I can live without my coffee. I may not be very happy for the first half of the day, but I survive. In fact, I choose not to drink coffee quite often during the summer months. Hot coffee, hot weather...not appealing. The longer answer is not so simple. People can suffer from side effects if they do not have their regular coffee. Effects like headaches, the shakes (different from the jitters) and a sluggish feeling. So, in theory, people keep drinking coffee to avoid these uncomfortable side effects.
I know people that can drink a pot or two of coffee each day and not have any sort of negative side effects. I also know people, including myself, who can drink coffee right before bed and sleep like the dead. We do not suffer from caffeine induced insomnia, poor eating habits nor bite the heads off of bats if deprived of our coffee. Some of the silliest coffee myths can be found by a simple internet search. Some health conscious folks would have us believe that the devil himself is responsible for the existence of coffee and its evil forms.
I make a few quips about non coffee drinkers but I do not harbor any ill will towards any of you. That just means more coffee for me! Coffee is a comfort for many people and there isn't a thing wrong with that.
© 2014 Tammy Cramblett