I will probably go into raptures in the future about one amazing cup or another, but for now I'll pare it down to the essentials: coffee smells like roasted autumn, my mother, and comfort. It tastes like home, walking under a red umbrella through a drizzle, and bitter perfection. I'll order it in place of dessert, or to moderate the sweetness of chocolate cake. Heck, I'll order it to warm my hands or make a pot to procrastinate. But enough...many thousands must have blogged already about the amazing properties of coffee.
In light of said addiction, I still can't quite believe that I gave it up for Lent. But I did. My church here in Atlanta (Trinity Vineyard) asked us to seriously consider sacrificing something 'good' in our lives during this season and to experience that in community and as a personal effort to prepare for the coming of Easter. So while sitting in church, I turned to my friend and said something along the lines of, "I could never give up coffee." My fate was sealed. After a week of wrestling with my conscience I acceded the point, and spent the Lenten season without my favorite beverage.
Did I mention that I love coffee? That tea is a poor substitute? That I made this decision in the midst of my first year in a Ph.D. program? That I am obviously insane? (well, you'll have figured that last one out already, but still...) In an attempt to mitigate the effects of coffee-deprivation I did in fact turn to tea. I bought four boxes of black, in different varieties (English Breakfast, Irish Breakfast, Darjeeling, Imperial Orange Pekoe), and spent the last 40 days with two or three teabags in each mug. Tea is not really my scene. Which isn't to say I don't enjoy a cup now and then (alright, when I'm reading British authors mostly, and the characters keep making cups of tea in the midst of stories), but the passion is missing from the picture.
That said, it's Easter! and I decided that the occasion of first coffee in far too long deserved public attention. Or at least documentation. Since it was 1:08am when I decided that I desperately needed said cup, I made due with decaf. Cue realization that the only decaf in my apartment is INSTANT. And although instant serves its purposes admirably (I hardly ever drink decaf, so it's strictly 'emergencies only' and maybe I have a guest who doesn't drink coffee thick like sludge?), I was a bit horrified that said important moment in time would be spent with mediocre product. Eh well, I got over that pretty quick. So I boiled some water, added a bit of whole milk, stirred a tad, and took that sip...
it was RANCID.
Whereupon I promptly spit it out, drained the cup, laughed at myself, and set about to find out what was wrong. Which was just that the 'emergencies only' decaf had been sitting there for too long (40 days too long!) and had gone bad. BUT! I had another package. So I got more water, added the fresh instant decaf (oxymoron?), and repeated the process...to success this time! Well, as much as you can hope for with instant coffee, but still. And I savored it, dipped in a double chocolate Milano cookie, and sniffed the air with pleasure.
I'll leave the deluxe brewing and whatnot for the morning, and wish you a Happy Easter. Christ is Risen!