September 24, 2010

A little less talk, a lot more coffee

What is it about coffee?

It is more than a hot drink. It's a culture with an international following. It's good for breakfast and for thinking. At home, at the office, or--dare I say it--in the coffee shop, coffee is an essential part of those who drink it.

I don't think coffee's appeal comes from the taste. Certainly boiling water poured through roasted, bitter, ground up beans sounds less than delicious. The aroma of fresh coffee is much better than the taste, but we don't just smell it. We drink the stuff. For many people, the caffeine in coffee is the most important part of the morning. I admit that I'm not really myself until cup number two is halfway gone.

But it's not just a drink--it's also something to do. Going for coffee is a great excuse to meet friends, get to know a stranger, or take someone from friend (or stranger) to something more. "Let's go for coffee". It's one of those troublesome and noncommittal suggestions. It's a step up from Facebook-friending someone, but not quite an invitation for dirty martinis in a bar with mood-lighting. The trouble with going on a "coffee date"--no matter the ratio of coffee to date--is the surge of caffiene. Any existing jitters magnify into distracting twitches. It's the inverse of alcohol: instead of sleepy and relaxed, coffee makes you feel deer-in-the-headlights awake. You might just jump onto the hood of a car by accident--a real buzzkill. That's why you should stick with decaf if you haven't eaten or if you have any intention of persuing a real relationship. Until the phrase "That's the coffee talking" becomes an acceptable excuse for trash-talking or ridiculous bouts of laughter, after sunset, I'm sticking to one cup.