Coffee is by far my favourite beverage. I don’t really know when I came to love it this much. I remember when I was really young I found coffee bitter and strong. I never thought I’d grow up to enjoy it the way I do now. I begin my day with coffee, it restores life in me and is my go-to when in need of comfort. From coffee ice cream to coffee cakes I love it all. Coffee in some ways reflects my personality. It’s my soul drink I would say if such a thing exists.
Coffee is an acquired taste and it’s not for everyone. Some say it’s too strong others think it could negatively impact your health. I don’t know much about the science but coffee elevates my mood and makes the day slightly more bearable. Coffee might taste bitter at first but the real impact of coffee comes after you swallow, the sweetness and the aroma that instantly wakes you up. It’s such a versatile ingredient and has a really long history.
I belong to a place where coffee is more than a drink, it’s a livelihood. My summer holidays were spent following my father through coffee plantations watching my parents as they worked for the up-keep of the plantation which goes back to the time of kings. Coffee isn’t just the drink topped with whipped cream you buy at Starbucks for me. Whenever I have good coffee, the strong aroma reminds me of the beans drying in the sun in front of my grandparents’ home. For me, a good cup of coffee will always mean the filter coffee made in Southern India which you can purchase for 20- 25 rupees at any outlet. It’s divine.
Unlike tea, coffee is much louder in terms of taste. That’s what I feel. People complain that coffee is too bitter, but to me, that’s the beauty of it. Coffee was always meant to be bitter if you pay attention there’s a sweetness that you can only taste after you’ve made it through the bitterness. Much like people, there are layers to coffee. You can’t get rid of the bitterness because that’s what makes coffee what it is. I think it’s like people who come with a hard exterior.
Many people have told me that coffee isn’t too healthy, it can have lasting effects in the long run. I believe that philosophy holds good for everything you eat and drink. The popular notion is that coffee is used to keep oneself awake. But there are so many people who have coffee before they sleep. What should we make of it? New research has come out in defense of the drink that has so far always gotten mixed reviews. It has been shown to decrease chances of heart problems, Type 2 Diabetes, liver cancer and even depression! It’s the same with any food or drink, becoming dependent on coffee is never a good idea.
I never consciously made an effort to drink coffee. As a child, my mother didn’t let me have coffee so I always thought it was an adult’s drink. Even as a teenager she refrained from letting me have coffee. I would slyly have a cup at weddings or other functions and in my twenties, it became a regular part of my day. Cold coffee, while I am ok with it, doesn’t impress me like a hot cup of steaming coffee. There’s something refreshing about hot coffee whereas cold coffee is more of a display, it tries too hard. Cold coffee doesn’t really generate any emotion. I order it during meetings just as an excuse, it doesn’t serve any purpose. Although I do enjoy it every once in a while when made well.
I have met people who like coffee, who hate it and those who are indifferent, I’ve always found more takers for tea than coffee in my experience. I don’t know why that is. I have always found tea to be an underwhelming drink. It comes in so many varieties that I don’t know which one is good for my palette. I haven’t been able to find the distinct taste that tea carries. There is no signature that tea has, it ends up allowing the flavour of the other ingredients to take centre stage. I am not saying tea doesn’t taste good or that it’s lacking in comparison to coffee but I feel like coffee is underappreciated while tea is so popular and I just can’t see why.
What does tea have that coffee doesn’t? One reason is that people are scared of caffeine, and tea tends to have a lower amount of it. But you can control how much coffee you’d like in your drink just like tea. Thanks to this statistic people have four to five cups of tea a day sometimes more, doesn’t it amount to the same thing? On the contrary, if you know coffee has more caffeine you’ll restrict yourself from drinking too much of it. Those who just don’t like the taste of coffee, therefore, don’t have it, I feel they make a valid point. I mean to each his own right? The others are believing in perceptions, it’s not an active choice. It’s like not liking a person just because somebody told you a false rumour about them which you haven’t clarified.
There are people who only drink coffee because they want something to energise them not because they enjoy it and that breaks my heart. You need to have a lot of coffee to give yourself that kind of boost, it won’t happen in one or two cups. Like quirky people, coffee too is a misunderstood beverage. People don’t know what to make of it so they don’t know whether they should try it or not. All these popular notions work as bad press, people think that coffee is a highly addictive substance.
It becomes confusing especially when people say that it’s bad for you and that it can cause many health problems. I’ve met people who’ve told me that coffee can cause brain damage. I don’t think this is fair on coffee or caffeine. I find it hypocritical when people still continue to get drunk and drink despite knowing that alcohol is dangerous. People still eat fast food and fried snacks. How come those foods don’t generate doubt and instead become a ‘guilty pleasure’? I know there are people who avoid it but there are so many who don’t care too.
Coffee is really that person who nobody knows anything about. The people who genuinely enjoy it are the ones who’ve had a long relationship with coffee, whose memories are associated with it and those who’ve looked beyond the bitterness beyond the negative side. They are sure of who coffee is and have embraced coffee without being addicted to it. They don’t care for the frills, coffee doesn’t need ‘lemon’ or ‘green’ or ‘rose’ or ‘chamomile’ in front of its name to be loved by its fans, coffee is loved as is. I guess I like coffee because it reminds me of myself. We should look beyond what we see like Rafiki said.