I did not grow up in a coffee house. Neither of my parents drank coffee and I don’t even recall ever seeing a coffee jar of any kind in our pantry. But I did have many opportunities to inhale the delicious aroma of coffee. My very dear childhood friend, who lived directly across the street, did grow up in a coffee house and we had many sleepovers. Besides the countless hours of preparing and performing award-deserving shows, playing Risk, Racko, and Rummikub (the three R’s), trading stationery, and engaging in whispered conversations and giggles late into the night, I also relished the scent (first C, and yes, I’m allowing myself the use poetic license) of freshly brewed coffee wafting up the stairs even before we opened our eyes and rolled out of bed. It was paradise. I hope my friend never finds out my true motivation for our sleepovers.
I did marry a coffee drinker. His coffee habit is one of function as opposed to one of leisurely recreation. Although he does enjoy the taste, more important to him is the efficient way he can inject himself with caffeine (second C) boosts throughout the day in order to keep his engine going. Being a clever and dutiful wife, I quickly learned not to automatically skip the coffee aisle in the supermarket and would buy a jar every so often. This jar would last a good long time.
Over time I absorbed the fact that coffee is an important part of the lives of many. I would graciously offer guests who visited our home a cup of coffee, but I would secretly hope they would decline my offer because I actually didn’t know how to make coffee. The first time someone accepted, I sheepishly asked him how to make it. He stated his request: one coffee and one sugar. But one what? One teaspoon? One tablespoon? One pound? How was I supposed to know? I’m a quick learner and I did manage to add coffee making to my long list of talents.
Although some studies of coffee suggest that it could lead to health problems, there is much research coming out about the health benefits of coffee. Coffee contains healthful antioxidants which can burn fat, improve physical performance, and lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, some cancers, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Usually, healthy foods like spinach, kale, and flax seed don’t taste quite as good as unhealthy choices like milk chocolate, cake, cookies, chocolate, chocolate covered nuts, chocolate chip cookies, Yodels, Devil Dogs, and plain chocolate. But here we have something that many people find to be yummy that may actually help us maintain a clean bill (third C) of health. It’s almost too good to be true.
My personal coffee turning point came when we moved from our old neighborhood to our current home over nine years ago. In order to maintain contact with my old neighbors, I would meet them for a “coffee klatch with a friendly touch.” Merriam Webster defines a coffee klatch as “an informal social gathering for coffee and conversation. The gatherings usually consist of a group of friends at someone’s house. The term ‘coffee klatch’ comes from the German word ‘kaffeeklatsch,’ which translates to coffee (kaffee) + gossip (klatch).” Yup. Sounds right. We would meet in my home and also at local cafes. I suppose we could have arranged to meet for hot chocolate, but as much as I love chocolate (think very), and as young as I am (think very very), coffee seemed to be the more sophisticated and age-appropriate beverage. I appreciated the rich flavor and would put off drinking in order to delay messing up that cute foamy design on top for as long as possible. Coffee became a nice treat as well as a means to form a connection (fourth C).
With all of this, my taste in coffee is rather simple. Just about all of my friends have served me flavored coffee from their Keurig machines, but I much prefer my instant coffee from a glass jar, regular classic flavor. Nothing fancy. Osher Ad displays a nice selection of pods, but for me Taster’s Choice really personifies “k’shmo kein hu,” “as its name implies.” It’s my favorite choice. I recently invested in a frothing machine that perfects my cup, although I’m still wondering how I can make those cute floating designs.
It seems that my kids are slowly beginning to develop their own tastes for coffee. My daughter has become a real coffee connoisseur and has a major coffee situation going on with special equipment, exotic flavors, cold brew, hot brew, and who knows what else. I have no idea what I’m talking about but she is definitely enjoying herself. One son prefers Turkish coffee, which I don’t get exactly. Why are we paying for mud and also messing up the sink? The rest of us who imbibe just drink plain ol’ coffee. But we do go through jars rather quickly these days.
One of my boys once ordered a coffee on a date. Due to the (lack of) coffee chinuch he received at home, he had no knowledge regarding the various types of coffee. I myself am clueless about the difference between a latte, espresso, cappuccino, or macchiato, which is why I couldn’t mechanech him properly. He randomly picked an espresso off the menu. He wasn’t quite sure what to make of the tiny cup with the black liquid that the waitress had brought to his table. He had expected his cup of coffee to actually look like a cup of coffee. The girl he was with had similar chinuch and didn’t understand what was going on either. When, shortly afterwards, the waitress came out carrying a cup of the kind of coffee they were familiar with, they figured that the cup she was then carrying came with the coffee he had ordered but that it had been too much for the waitress to carry them both out at once. But the waitress walked right past their table to another customer. When my son came home, he received an informative shiur about the different types of coffee.
Of all the C’s, my favorite is Connection. I love to chat and bond with others over a steaming cup of aromatic coffee. I even do coffee with my grandson. I get the Taster’s Choice and he gets the formula in a sippy cup. While I may not have given my kids proper coffee chinuch, I can still give them loving Coffee Connection.