Whenever I think of home, I think of the rich, warm scent of the filter coffee that my mother would wake us up with. The three of us — my mother, my brother and I — would sit around the dining table savouring our mugs of coffee and poring over different sections of the newspaper. There was something about that coffee which bound us together in such contented companionship, which I sorely miss in my hostel life. As a stereotypical South Indian, I love my coffee… I savour it… I drown in its depths…To me, coffee isn’t just a drink — it is an experience. It is heaven in a porcelain mug.
Coffee has a multi-faceted personality — in the morning, it invigorates your senses with its delightful scent, mellows you down and puts you on your feet to face the world. When things are going badly and frustration mounts, it soothes your nerves and carries you through the day. A mug of coffee lightens up conversation with friends and chuckles quietly as confidences are exchanged over its brim. On cool evenings out on the balcony, it gives you quiet company and lets you ponder over life.
Coffee has the remarkable ability to set your mood for the day. The best example of this phenomenon is my better half. His normal reaction to my coffee is a subtle pursing of the lips and a stoic look. But if he actually looks up from the paper and says in a pleased-as-punch tone, “Good coffee!” I know I’ve done it justice. Later in the day, when we are both reading, he would suddenly say wistfully, “It was good, you know!” and I would ask, non-plussed, “What?” His eyes would widen, “The coffee of course”. Yes, of course. That is when I realise how much it has meant to him all day.
Experiments with coffee can bring out all your latent creativity. Coffee with a dash of cocoa, topped with vanilla ice cream, Cappuccino with slabs of dark chocolate, Latte with cream, Espresso with cinnamon… the possibilities are endless. There is also something incredibly romantic about coffee — how many romances have blossomed during coffee breaks and grown over coffee dates! No candle-lit dinner could beat a late-night conversation over steaming mugs of coffee with a loved one. Such is its scope of influence that coffee mugs (inscribed with all sorts of sweet nothings) bask in the reflected glory of the beverage they hold and have achieved cult status as gift items!
Perhaps most of all, coffee gives you a sense of identity — it defines who you are, exactly as Tom Hanks says in You’ve Got Mail. The way we want our coffee is usually the way we want our life. My father, for instance, used to drink milky coffee with no sugar — it was a sort of representation of his comfortable little soul. I like my coffee strong with lots of milk and sugar — which echoes my love for the finer things in life. On the other hand, my brother drinks coffee in any form — even the most revolting vending machine brew. And he is exactly like that — carefree and easy going with not an iota of fussiness in him.
Even as I write this, I am already daydreaming of a cradling a warm coffee mug between my hands, inhaling the frothy scent… I seem to have measured out my life with coffee spoons.