an incomplete list of some versions of love
Night coffee is the best coffee, even if it's bad coffee. It's so illicit. It's a treat. And it often accompanies a dessert, which is its own kind of pleasurable sin. It's saying "I don't care how I feel in two hours when I'm inexplicably in bed, staring at the ceiling and I can't think of anything except lists of tasks I could probably get up and do right now if it weren't so late, and emails I could be writing, but it's after midnight and those emails would be total gibberish. But I'm not tired, and I'm just lying here, and today was utterly meaningless and I shouldn't ever eat dessert after 8pm and I have accomplished nothing with my life."
Okay, so yeah, it's like drugs. But I still find it so romantic to drink coffee at night.
Somehow I think I've also written the exact sentence "I do believe in a bunch of people together in a room drinking bad coffee." The other day I joked to one of my divinity school classmates that everyone who goes to church is annoying, that's why we're there. Despite church being full of the most annoying people on earth and the weakest coffee I have ever drank I still go every week because unfortunately I think God is here for the annoying people, of which I am the worst.
I have nothing clever or witty or insightful to share, except that I loved this SO MUCH.
Oh thank you so much for this line, "For three minutes I fully love and respect myself, and for the next three minutes I hate everyone I have ever met including myself." I'm going to use it the next time someone asks me how I am. You are genius.
Also, I'm a coffee snob to the very end. Beyond sweets, beyond protein, beyond fat and salt I need coffee to survive so reading each one of these coffees made me wince in recognition. I had to take a cleansing sip of my coffee right here <------ before moving onto the next. My own mother's coffee from the percolator that sat on the counter for 10 hours a day is definitely bittersweet, but the only other coffee I might offer to your taxonomy is the funeral reception coffee. Maybe you add something from your own flask. Maybe it's even good. You just can't tell.
Gorgeous essay. Turned me into a subscriber.
I have so much to say about Dunkin coffee. It's "the glory of the passenger seat," my husband driving while I curl up and watch the traffic go by the way I used to when I was a child. The windshield wipers snicker-snacking the droplets away while I sip. We have a newborn now and it's such a comfort to be able to "get out of the house" and go through the nearby Dunkin drive-thru. He's in the backseat watching the trees go by the way I used to, and I'm the adult in the driver's seat now - me, the city girl who was too anxious to drive for most of her adult life - now calm as can be, ordering my coffee and doing my best to pull up as close as possible to the drive-thru window so my short arms can reach. It's the ritual, it's the taste of freedom, a moment under my control when so much isn't.
Something that once was: rest area coffee. You could get a small styrofoam cup of it for a donation. I remember it from a time when I didn't have my license and had only begun to drink coffee.
Now whenever I pull off the freeway, the first thing I do is walk to the window where the volunteers used to stand and hand out coffee. There's always a small hope it'll be back, and I will drink a free adventitious coffee while taking the air in the middle of nowhere.
It was bad coffee, weak, second ingredient styrofoam. Ever after I would describe coffee whose flavor never fully showed up as "rest area coffee," until a foray into coffee geekery taught me the term, "under-extracted."
Coffee is an ego-syntonic activity for me, and here at least I live a posh life now. I am pleased with myself when I brew a nice cup, and that "cocoa" or "plum" from the tasting notes shows up.
Years ago someone repeated a fact he'd overheard on NPR, about how coffee is meant to be a sweet drink. He was fierce and defensive about it as he felt me judging the sugar packets he emptied into his cup, pure and virtuous with my cup of bitterness.
He wasn't wrong though. There is a sweetness to black coffee well roasted and brewed, which after all my years spent with coffee (cup-pops-out-first vending machine coffee, community college coffee cart coffee, Amtrak train coffee, visiting with Mom at the kitchen table coffee, visiting with Dad at the kitchen table coffee), I've only just begun to appreciate.
The instant coffee at my parents' house that tastes like 16 going on 32. The best.
This reminds me of something my dad used to say--“the only thing worse than church coffee is no coffee.”
The best coffee out of all of those is/was the church coffee of my childhood - which I didn't drink much of because I was young and didn't know about its wonders - because my grandmother was in the "Ladies Club" and in charge of kitchen stuff, and would in turn usually be the one to supervise the giant percolators they would serve the coffee out of.
Also, Circle K/Valero Texas Pecan coffee is the best. ;)
(I'll never be accepted into the Coffee Snob Elite Club.)
I try all the gas station coffee and my partner drinks morning after coffee. We make a great pair.
Loved this - so witty and insightful!
“Another way to say nobody deserves anything is everyone deserves everything”
I don't like coffee but I loved this