December 14: Coffee
Normally, I would argue that coffee shouldn’t necessarily be a part of an advent calendar because for many it’s a non-event; a simple beverage that catapults you into your day. Or worse, I worry that I’m creating more caricature fodder for Portlandia by hailing the amazing properties of this beverage. “Oh wow! Someone in Portland likes coffee…” But winter would not be winter in this town without it and it seems a fitting entry for my return to the digital advent.
I’ve always had a complicated relationship with coffee. I’ve had an espresso machine in my house since I was 12. When I was in college wanting to pull all-nighters, I would drink a pot of coffee and still fall asleep by 10:00 PM. One of my fondest memories is hitting the coffee drive-thru with my mom and ordering hazelnut lattes at 16 (which is a secret guilty pleasure for me, still). I love getting amped up on coffee and answering 50 emails in a half-hour. It’s the greatest of short burst productivity tools. And now, the acidity of coffee kind of kills my insides.
To say I live in Coffee Shangri-La really doesn’t sum it up. Everywhere I go, I can find a perfect, honey-sweet shot of espresso. Like many people in this town, my partner works for Stumptown, which gives me carte-blanche for free coffee anywhere I go. Coffee is the focal point of social gatherings, personal or professional, as well as my #1 Excuse For Leaving The House. Coffee makes a great gift. It is also the most versatile of beverages, ingratiating itself to varying tastes – cream, sugar, alcohol, straight black. A lot of jerks in this town will try to make you feel bad for putting anything in a cup heralding the adjectives of “single origin”, “fair trade”, “organic”, and “shade-grown”. But I don’t give a shit and neither should you. The multitude of ways one can drink coffee converge on the same end goal. Personal comfort.
I’ve gone weeks and months without alcohol, sugar, and just about any other moderately-bad habit I’ve formed over my adult life. But coffee is by far the toughest to quit (or even cut down on) and it has nothing to do with the caffeine. It’s the ritual – incidentally, one of the only rituals I’ve ever been able to stick with – and I think that’s pretty much worthy of any public praise. Sometimes people forget to state the obvious. All hail coffee.