Post 3: The Importance of Coffee

I have a confession to make. I love coffee. Now, I’m not one of those people who goes out and drops $6 on a fancy one every day. I would rather make a ten-cup pot at home and sip my way through that instead of spending my hard earned money on something that’s going to go cold by the time I can get back home to shut out humanity.

“But Astrid,” you might be saying. “I read your About section and it clearly says you like tea. Not Coffee.” And you would be correct. I do like tea. But I also really like coffee. If you think about it, coffee is just a type of tea. Ground up, dried beans contained in some sort of filter? Crunched up dried leaves and herbs contained in some sort of filter? There’s really not much of a difference. Coffee is just the ultimate black tea.

With all that being said, I also tend to “ruin” my coffee by loading it up with creamer and sugar. Without these two ingredients, I would never have started drinking coffee. These days, I don’t need as much as I used to; I can enjoy a darker taste when I want.

But why is coffee important? It certainly doesn’t provide anything particularly healthy to my system. If I drink too much, I feel gross. It sometimes acts as a laxative and gives my intestines an audible voice that Hephaestus doesn’t like, especially when he’s using me as a pillow during his break. If I go a full day without drinking at least a cup of coffee, I will sometimes end up with a headache the following morning. That’s definitely a sign I don’t have a healthy relationship with this beverage. So why is it so important?

Routine. Without a routine, I would not be proactively productive. If I put “Get coffee” as step one of my “Get your butt writing” routine, I am much more likely to actually sit down and write. Without coffee, I putter around doing things like chores, trip over Hephaestus, or nap (Hephaestus is a big supporter of those). While coffee is brewing, I can get some of that out of the way. The laundry, unfortunately, won’t do itself. But once the bean juice is done, I can sit down and sling ink.

If I said there was a mental aspect to it, you would say “Of course, you ninny. You’ve already told us that you’ve trained yourself to have a Pavlovian response to coffee.” And you would be correct. That’s exactly what I’ve done. But I think it’s a little bit more than that. Coffee forces me to take breaks. Potty breaks, refill breaks, this-needs-more-creamer breaks. Now that sounds pretty physical, but there’s more to it. If I weren’t forced to take these breaks, I would eventually come to a frustrated grinding halt during writing and would continue to try to force more words onto the page when they just aren’t there. Breaks make me reset and breathe. My brain needs a rest sometimes, even if it’s only a couple minutes.

There is also an emotional side to coffee for me. Many people in my family drink coffee. By drinking coffee, I sometimes feel like I’m carrying on some age-old family tradition. Obviously my family is not the only one which drinks coffee; many families do. But a lot of my mugs have a story. This one was dear old Dad’s. This one used to be Grandpa’s. Mom got me that one for Christmas 3 years ago. Etc. Coffee gives me an excuse to use these wonderful vessels that carry much more than just hot bean water. Using them makes me happy and that is an emotion I will always welcome.

And that, dear readers, is the importance of coffee.

A Grandpa mug. A three-generation mug. A mug with three lifetimes of stories.

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