Coffee is an emotion. It’s what wakes you up and keeps you up all day. From where I am, typical coffee is a milk-laden sugar-infused chicory-blended concoction no one can live without. Although I don’t take my coffee that way, I do know its value in Indian homes. Coffee for Indians is what tea is for British. We’re snobby about our proportions and always willing for more. Having lived through all the drama that revolves around coffee, I felt prepared for what I’d experience in the US. At least I thought so.
On my first day in the US, my colleague showed me around, introducing me to the concept that is the K cup. I’d heard about and read about K cups before, but it was the first time I saw how it looked and learned how it worked. As my colleague picked up a fresh cup, flipped the machine open, inserted the cup and pressed the lid shut, I looked in wonderment at the amount of plastic waste that a one cup of coffee entails. I knew from a long-lost article that K cups aren’t recyclable, and wondered how much wastage that created. I could use up to five cups a day, and I was just one of the many hundreds at work. The math of how it’d magnify stumped me into silence.
Although at that moment I felt I should give up coffee altogether, when I saw the fresh black essence drip from the machine into my coffee cup, I felt little guilt. I felt more elated. Eight ounces of steaming black liquid waited for me to gulp down. Cupping the cup in my hands, I inhaled the scent of well-roasted beans wafting through the tall cup right into my nostrils. From there it travelled to my left and right brain spreading wakefulness all over my being. I sipped. Warmth rushed down my throat plummeting to fill up my empty stomach.
I ran about high in energy and joy. I’d experienced the real kick of coffee. I’d read about it before and I’d raised eyebrows at articles that claimed coffee disrupts sleep. None of the coffee I’d had so far had the such an invigorating effect on me. It wasn’t until I tasted the drip coffee that I understood the real power of it. It didn’t take me long to get addicted.
In Seattle I fell in love with fresh brewed coffee. My host’s medium-roasted coffee felt rich and yet less toasty in my throat. Portland gave me the taste of the bitter and sour Colombian coffee. Both were far different from the dark-roasted K cups I’d had in Pleasanton, and they were both comforting. I’ve no idea how many cups of coffee or kinds of coffee I tried while in the US. The only thing I do know, however, is that every cup delivered its promise. Every time I needed something to lift my spirits, coffee came to my rescue.