“How’s the coffee?” I tentatively asked the guy behind the counter.
“It’s hot, brown, and there’s plenty of it,” he replied with a hint of irony.
Not exactly a ringing endorsement, but I smiled because his reference to the movie City Slickers wasn’t lost on me.
“I’ll have a small one.”
“You’ll be back for more,” he warned.
How’d he know I come from a family of java junkies? That my dad’s addicted to his Keurig? That my grandmother always started her day with a pot of espresso? She’d say it wasn’t strong enough unless the spoon stood up by itself. As for me, I started drinking coffee for medicinal purposes. The caffeine was my first line of defense when a migraine hit. Now, of course, I’m hooked.
As I drank what was, at best, a serviceable cup of joe, I recalled the luncheonettes of the forties and fifties where patrons sat at a counter with a proper cup and saucer and a piece of pie, and the smoked filled coffee houses of the sixties where young people congregated to talk politics and listen to folk music. When did cars start coming equipped with cup holders so commuters could drive-through their favorite coffee chain in the morning on their way to work? Today, teenagers are more apt to hang out at Starbucks than to try and get into a bar and, for most of us, “let’s meet for drinks” has been replaced by the “coffee date.”
The coffee culture is not only thriving – it’s taken over. Did our 24/7 mentality cause it? Maybe it’s because caffeine is an acceptable and legal drug. Or because coffee just tastes and smells so damn good.
There are 30 coffee shops within an eight-block radius of my apartment. Seriously. I’ve counted them. And I’m not complaining. After all, it’s nice to have options. So whether you like French roast, espresso, or Turkish coffee, prefer it hot or iced, frequent one of the big chains or a small indie like Thinking Cup or Wired Puppy – coffee is a must.