The self-proclaimed elitists of society.
Scoffing at those who indulge in the dark magic of coffee.
They chuckle through a not so innocent smile as they explain to you the various benefits of their beloved drink.
They’ve most likely spent the past weekend brewing their own kombucha while reading the works of Proust for the third time.
But coffee drinkers…
Coffee drinkers are the modern-day cigarette smokers.
There’s no hiding the effects and harms the of the lustrous sin. Coffee drunks will give up full meals before skipping a brew. They’ll eye the dropping digits in their bank accounts whilst sipping on the luxurious liquid.
I find myself at the far end of the latter’s scale. So far in the chasm, there’s no chance of swimming out alive, metaphorically. Coffee is a catalyst: a physical enhancer, a social exchange, a part of society so ingrained in culture that to not engage is to not live.
The landscape of the bean varies city to city and likewise culture to culture with one consistent factor, its presence. Coffee culture rules our social interactions.
A Tuscan barista is left speechless when asked what espresso machine she used – the querier interested in purchasing one for her home. Much like Danes cannot box ‘hygge’ into a simple definition, Italians can’t process the act of making coffee at home.
The coffee is an act, your cafe is your religion, and your allegiance is your faith. You marry your barista, and don’t let them see you cheat. The espresso pours with your emotions. The benefactress sees you at your happiest, and likewise at your most depraved as your daily visits turn therapy sessions.
The Cubans take it straight. The Czech love lattes. Viennese coffee house culture is rich, drowned in literature, and will have you staying put for the next four hours and countless rounds of coffee. New Yorker’s are mobile, efficient, and in constant need of demitasse. They run in and out of coffee shops in caffeinated choreography – their dedication piercing through their wallets as they ring up their third coffee purchase of the day at twelve past two.
The coffee… the java, joe, juice, battery acid, is so much more than an addiction. It’s an adult’s comfort object. It’s a common ground, a conversation piece. It feeds creativity and fuels innovation. It is the last strain of human interaction we seek in a world of self-checkout, home delivery and Amazon dominance.
So drink your coffee, your tea, your matcha, and your horchata.
All images by Nicole Stankus