I have a full cup of coffee in my car, and my “coffee mug” carries a little bit more coffee than a venti at Starbucks. Yet, this rainy kind of dreary Saturday afternoon, I find myself inside a homey little coffee shop, with a new cup of coffee in front of me. Coffee shops have always kind of brought me a little pleasure in life, even before I really liked coffee. There was the Starbucks we went to in Vienna, the little coffee shop we visited on our walking tour of Dublin, the “coffee bar” at burning man and so many more. There is a calming quality that a good coffee shop can give you, it is amazing.
Coffee shops have always been a place where people gather and catch up. They may gather with a group of people or one other person. They may gather with themselves and get work done. (That is generally what I do.) The walls of any coffee shop probably hold so many secrets, what fun it would be if the walls really could talk. Some people get together to just “catch up” on life, but some people go to a coffee shop to have meetings or work without the distractions of the office. Either way, a coffee shop is a gathering place and is almost always filled with warmth, love, and kindness.
I remember the first time I discovered coffee. You have already read about this, the coffee that was more milk and sugar than anything. Those are great memories at the end of a dark time in my life. Since my first “coffee,” I have spent a lot of time in coffee shops and diners and had a lot of coffee and other drinks in those places. (I didn’t always truly enjoy coffee as I do now, and drank many other things, Chai tea being my favorite.) I remember the first time I think I ever truly enjoyed coffee was in Jamaica.
I went to Jamaica with my mom for the first time a couple of years ago. We went to a little “diner” (it was really more of a restaurant I guess that served breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and I discovered sweet cream for the first time ever. It was amazing. It was thick yet creamy and the mix of sugar to cream was perfect. It made the blue mountain coffee that much better and I loved it. (I later learned that it was sweetened condensed milk and I could buy it in any grocery store in the states.) I have still never bought or used sweetened condensed milk except in Jamaica. For me, that is where it belongs.
There was the discovery of the “dirty hippie” about 5 years ago, Does anyone know what I am talking about? It is a gentle mix of chai tea and espresso. So delicious when made right. I remember learning about this drink and becoming slightly addicted to it. A friend took me out for coffee at the coffee shop where I discovered the dirty hippie and then we took his dogs to run and play. (He kind of kidnapped me from work that day.) That was a great lazy afternoon. Does anybody else have a coffee they drink everyday and then a coffee they get on special occasions. For me, the dirty hippie is my special occasion coffee. (FYI, if you try to get it at Starbucks, you have to order a chai tea, no water, with 2 shots of espresso. The no water is key though.)
There is a super cute coffee shop in Elkhart I believe that I spent some time with my cousins at. Then he made me fancy coffee for the drive home that day. (When I say fancy coffee, it had foamy stuff on top.) I have always used lots of cream and sugar in my coffee, up until recently. Coffee was used by me for a long time as a way to add caffeine to my system after a night of not much sleep. But to be able to drink it, I had to put a lot of cream and sugar in it. As I got older, I wanted to continue drinking coffee but wanted to get rid of all of the sugar. So I gradually started cutting back on the amount of coffee and cream I would put it, mostly the sugar though. Soon, I got to the point where I didn’t really need the sugar and started working on the cream. I didn’t want to need the cream either.
It didn’t take long and I was able to start drinking coffee without the cream as well. Now I can drink coffee black and I actually prefer it that way, as long as it is halfway decent coffee. (The coffee shop I am at right now has a good blend of coffee that I really like.) And one of my favorite things to do is have a cup of coffee with a friend or by myself, as I most often am when I go to a coffee shop. Sitting in a good coffee shop and wasting away the afternoon is as high on my list of fun things to do as going to see a show, discovering a new place to take pictures, or hanging out with friends. There is just something about a coffee shop in the middle of a rainy Saturday that makes me smile.