People often wonder why I have such a fixation on coffee — it’s in nearly all of my photos, I talk about it all the time, I plan my vacations around lattes, and of course, I drink it everyday. Coffee is my first love.
I remember the first time I fell in love with coffee. I was just a child visiting my grandparents for the weekend in their sunlit condo, filled with old books about socialism and the arts. They’d wake up early and sit at the kitchen table with their ceramic mugs and newspaper. I was barely six years old then, so a heaping scoop of vanilla ice cream into a warm ceramic mug filled with black gold felt like an invitation into the adult world. I sipped with excitement while I watched Saturday morning cartoons.
From high school at 6am with my dad, sipping coffee while he read the newspaper. After school rendezvous with classmates took place at Starbucks instead of soccer fields. Coffee was there for me in college, where I brewed my own coffee for the first time — I waited patiently while my freshly ground coffee brewed to steaming perfection. Early morning classes dispersed to coffee shops for afternoon study sessions that turned into late night gatherings.
Coffee was there for me while I fell in love.
I fell in love with the aroma and the ambiance a cafe can create; from budding romance to building friendships and telling secrets over steamed milk.
Countless mornings and endless evenings spent in cafe chairs, gossiping and confessing secrets with new acquaintances and friends from the past. I went on dates in coffee houses with black coffee (as to appear low maintenance, obviously), I studied for finals in chatty groups while sipping caramel macchiatos, I sat in front while my coworkers-turned-friends smoked cigarettes and drank iced Americanos the summer of the recession when we weren’t getting paid. I’ve read countless books, typed hundreds of articles, and fallen in love over and over in the confines of cafes— the best seat is always a the corner.
When my husband (a coffee aficionado) was still a stranger to me, he gifted me an Aeropress to brew my own single cups of coffee. We bonded over him explaining different brewing methods to me — I batted my eyelashes in adornment as he explained the difference between Chemex brewing and pour over. Our second kiss happened as he pulled espresso shots for me on his several-thousand-dollar commercial-grade Italian espresso maker. He met me in coffee shops to study, brought me coffee at the library, and later at Verve Coffee Roasters in Santa Cruz where I felt myself (awkwardly) fall in love with him over late morning cappuccinos. We return to the same Santa Cruz coffee shop year after year, sitting at the same white table we first sat at
From Bali to Boston, I’ve traveled to cafes and roasteries, tiny alleyway street carts with pour over drip coffee to siphon-brewed cups in grand hotel lobbies. I follow the aroma, the jolt of caffeine, the culture, but mostly I follow the feeling it gives me. The memories. The moment of warmth that fills my soul as the first sip fills my insides, like a warm hug. A familiar taste — yet somehow different every time it passes over my lips. I wake up every morning longing for it — sometimes I’m even excited about the cup of coffee I’m going to drink the next morning.
Sometimes it feels too good — the headache, the jitters, the increased heart rate — worthy side effects for the elixir of life. I attribute coffee’s unconditional support to my successes — it’s the elixir that turns me into a functioning human being every morning.
In this unpredictable world, I know that there’s always a cup of coffee waiting. Through breakups, breakdowns, breakthroughs and the happiest moments of my life — it’s always been there for me. Black coffee, espresso, cappuccinos, americanos, macchiatos, and, of course, with a splash of milk. I keep falling in love over and over — I can’t wait to see what our future holds.