Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Coffee is Coffee

Once, I wondered. Or once, I did wonder, how can such a simple beverage be so attractive, day after day after day. Coffee is always attractive to me. For others, many of my older friends (40-70) the same is true - and over the long-term. Which makes methink that there is something to this coffee addiction. It is not the caffeine. I may be young, but I am wise enough, and have recently become physically aware of the nuanced chemical changes always occurring in my body, to know that it is not the caffeine that makes us smile morning after morning as we awake to that steaming cup of joe. Doubtless, our attraction to coffee is similar to the lure of cigarettes or, I suppose, most anything addictive. Environmental circumstances. 

As it is with cigarettes, so it is with coffee; the chemical dependencies built on the these substances is only a piece of the addiction puzzle. Set and setting, that is, our environment, constitutes a majority of the pieces of that puzzle that brings us back to the pot (coffee pot) day after day. Some of those pieces:

1) A social string. A common enjoyment that connects us to others. Imagine if there were "sitting shops" where you literally just went and sat - no beverages, no food, just a blank table. Lame. Coffee bridges our social insecurities or reinforces our social strengths when sipped in company.

2) A healthy step from water. Though the jury remains hung, trial after trial, as coffee is put under the miscroscope, on the health ramifications of coffee drinking, the general verdict that slips out of the chambers is that coffee, in moderation (3-4 cups a day), is a component of a healthy lifestyle, providing valuable flavanols and stuff. In this way, coffee is a healthy step from water - and exponentially more interesting.

3) Variety. Mochas, lattes, specialty drinks (ah syrups), cappuccinos, standard joe, sweetened joe, creamed and sweetened joe, et al. Frickin a, the possibilities literally number in the 10,000s for coffee drinks. Though not created equal in healthfulness, tastiness is a wonderful theme. No day need to be the same while drinking coffee.

4) Pattern and routine. We, us humans, are creatures of habit and to have the above mentioned points on a regular basis brings us the comfort and consistency that keeps us hopeful day-to-day.

Anyways, coffee is coffee and it is incredible to me that such a basic drink can provide joy day after day after day after day... I am coming to the close of my 5th year of coffee drinking and my passion for the drink is only growing. Thanks be to the Lord for simple and wonderful joys.

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