First, I select a nook and wish for the best. My judgment of a coffee spot is typically based on convenience, ambience, space and required silence. I then approach the barista while eyeing the menu and admiring their delectable breads and pastries in fancy glass shelves.
I go over their selection of coffees, skip the prices and cute doodled advertisements, and feel even more anxious about making my order. I stand awkwardly and stupidly in front of the counter for a few minutes, pretending I know what I’m doing. Then out of sheer nervousness and embarrassment, a name or label to a coffee would stand out. The way something is spelled and supposedly sounds usually gets me interested. To appear more human and communicative I ask the barista some questions regarding ingredients and tastes and whatnots. I sound weird and my questions often seem unnecessary but who cares?!
Finally, when all my efforts are spent, I feign understanding of the barista’s suggestions and simply go with my gut (as always, Cappuccino!). I go on tapping my card, getting a wooden stirrer and a napkin, and awaiting my chosen cup.
It’s always a tricky business getting coffee but with high hopes, I always make the purchase. I commit to one cup the quality of my day, my life. I hold it with my hands and believe it’s a ball of energy, a sliver of hope, a source of pure joy. I raise my cup to a beautiful beginning, to making the right choice, to setting aside wrongs made in the past, to basking in the sad and the happy and the sweet and the bitter and that magnificent froth.
Once my name’s called or my number comes up, I quickly grab my poison. I find a corner where I can wallow in all the goodness one coffee makes. The chair can’t be too high and my table has to face a window and allow me to watch people amble though their ordinary lives. Can’t be any other way.
Once settled, I look at my cup and observe what it is about—the smells, the colors, the textures, the cup’s design itself. I take in and notice the little intricacies of the mix—the caramel glazes, chocolate shavings, vanilla powder… I whisper its name before the rim touches my patient lips. I take a tiny sip, allowing the precious liquid to to merry with the very juices in my very mouth. I take one more sip and let the flavours entice me before taking a big, determined gulp. I study the taste, compare it with previous coffee experiences, and attempt to determine what deems it unique.
I continue this exploration until none of the drink is left. Sometimes the coffee goes cold before I realize I hated it. Sometimes I need to put more sugar to concoct a more agreeable mix for my tongue to revel in. Other days, it’s milk that pulls me in. Most days, it’s three creams. I’ve never really tried it black for it scares the wimp out of me. But each cup, no matter the taste or smell or flavour or price, will be savoured without regret until the last drop.
I guess every coffee cup is indeed different. Each experience arouses memories in my head. Each drip will leave me wanting until I know or find that exact mix. I want to believe I know what it is that I’m looking for. I want to convince myself that when it hits my mouth I will be a hundred percent certain. But people caution it’s wrong to assume anything unless I finally chance upon it or find it. You’ll never know what hits you and when and where and how, they say.
And they’re probably right. Maybe I’d be better off with cinnamon though I find it detestable at the moment. Maybe I’ll value economy and convenience and stick to 3-in-1s. Maybe I’ll get to that one coffee shop and find my blend when it is not expected. Maybe there is no right blend, maybe it’s just a protective illusion. Maybe everything’s relative and it’s not the mix I should be after. Maybe it’s my taste that has to be realistically adjusted. Maybe in the end, I will just pick the drink that goes well with a blueberry bagel or my favourite buttery croissant. Maybe I’ll ditch coffee after all the ruckus and stick to tea. But then again, should my tea be steeped, French-pressed or be taken with milk and honey?
All these maybes to ponder on over a marvellous coffee cup. So cheers, to coffee and love! ❤