Jerry Seinfeld was featured in NPR for his new found love of coffee, despite not understanding coffee for the longest time. It is a good thing I found coffee even as a kid, in a love affair that lasted as long as I remember.
Remember a drink Postum by Kraft? It was a coffee substitute that has no caffeine, made from wheat, molasses and corn. It did not really taste like coffee, but for some who had reasons not to drink coffee, it would make a hot, comforting drink nonetheless.
Coffee is for many people, a part of life. Many people who drink at least 2 cups a day, once in the morning to get going at work, and one in the early to mid-afternoon to sustain through the rest of the work day. When I was working for Citibank in the 1980s, my boss, a brilliant and energetic American, had 8 cups of coffee a day. For me, I usually have around 3 cups a day, once during breakfast, once in late morning before lunch, and one in mid-afternoon. Sometimes, I have one in the evening.
Coffee is nothing like tea. I do drink tea, but tea is for me, more like a complementary drink designated to certain foods, like rich cakes and pastry. Tea to me has an almost “cleansing” taste that fits well after the consumption of some rich foods. But coffee, well, it is just a whole different universe altogether.
Coffee is a feisty, dark, mysterious and enigmatic creature – it can complement other ingredients like milk, honey and sugar, and it stands proudly alone. It tastes different when mixed with others and when alone, such as when you dash a little powdered cinnamon into black coffee, or drink black coffee alone.
And coffee from different beans create such a myriad blossom of tastes and smells. Although, did you know coffee beans aren’t really beans but are seeds? But I digress.
The two most abundantly produced coffee beans are Arabica and Robusta, with Arabica producing less caffeine and Robusta more caffeine. Most of those coffee varieties in cafes with beautiful names like “Blue Mountain”, Ethiopian, Colombian, Java, and so on, are simply varieties of the Arabica beans. I prefer the Arabica coffee, because of its variance and smoother taste, and I tend to choose coffee with less acidity (better on my stomach). Robusta beans are usually used in local coffee shops, because of the “kick” the coffee provides for many people in the morning.
Some studies have suggested that coffee may have adverse effects in some people, but seriously, coffee does not bother me. Some other studies have suggested that coffee has quite many health benefits, which I would nod happily to.
The very successful and very funny Jerry Seinfeld, of the same namesake in the long running TV comedy series, was recently interviewed by NPR, and he confessed his new found understanding of coffee and why coffee is a unique drink and a unique social platform. You can fit in a social interaction with someone, whether a friend, a family member, a business associate, or a customer, almost anywhere, at any time, for a short period of time, unlike a full meal meeting.
For me, that is exactly the same experience. Time is often not on our side, and we would still desire to share a nice conversation with someone. And coffee has a nice aroma and taste that takes away the “sting” of the rigors of the average day, and people can begin to relax and converse with gusto (blame the caffeine).
Ah, and life… is all good, because the rough edges of the average day can be smoothed over by the subtle blending of the comforting rich aroma, the deep, dark, and mysterious taste of full black coffee, and whether alone or with someone, a certain happiness of simply being.