What is it about Coffee? This black liquid substance makes us jump out of bed in the morning, smile, and stirs our motors. The caffeine provided in it, of course, is a proven stimulant; however, I feel there is something more, something intrinsic to humanity that drives our urge for coffee. It’s not just about the drink itself. It goes much, much deeper. Humanity’s quest for companionship and connection dates back to the first man and woman. God created Eve so that Adam would not live alone. Then He encouraged them to populate the new earth with children. Thus we have mankind’s beginnings.
I wonder if Adam enjoyed a cup of joe with his wife at evening’s end. Or maybe it was a different beverage. Tea, for instance, has been popular for ages as a soothing, comforting beverage that brings people together. When I lived in Germany, the afternoon time between 2 p.m and 5 p.m was called “Kaffeezeit”. One stopped whatever they were doing at home or at work, set the pot to brew, and took time out of the day for chitchat and connection. This was a daily ritual. One that I became accustomed from my childhood into my young adult years. My first encourters with Kaffeezeit happened around age 13. Our next door neighbors were Romanian Germans who believed good coffee was accompanied by rich food. Helga assumed that I didn’t drink coffee and always served me fruit tea. I had to attend weekly coffee for a long time before I finally graduated to coffee. It felt like stepping up in the world, like I’d joined the ranks of the humans who could truly connect, mind to mind, heart to heart, history to history.
Our other neighbors, Friedl and Gretl–sisters from the Czech Republic–believed coffee need a pack of cards to go with it. One had to sit at their table for two to three hours, downing the strong brew, playing “Rummi”, and stumbling along in collequal German. I learned valuable things during those Kaffee times, though. Stuff that a 14 year old girl wouldn’t necessarily need to know.
1. Always wear make-up, otherwise you look “blass und krank”, or “pale and sickly.”
2.Wear “Strumpfen,” or stockings.
3. Never be afraid to share about your past.
4. Cheating in a friendly card game is acceptable. It’s not if you play for change.
5. If you don’t know something, open your mouth and ask.
Good stuff to put inside a crazy teenagers’s head. It stuck with me as I ventured out on my own. Imagine my surprise when my American employer didn’t allow for this 2 to 3 hour window to be granted. I have found ways to adapt, though, to allow myself the love of coffee and companionship at other times. When I’m not at work, I enjoy the afternoon drink. I invite a friend, at least once a week, for a “cup of coffee”. The interesting thing is that sometimes we don’t even drink the stuff. Sometimes we opt for tea. Other times, we eat and talk. The point just being getting together and sharing. “grabbing the coffee” is part of the experience. I think coffee shops foster this sense of community. Most shops allow one to sit and sip for hours.
When I first joined the college group at my church, I was delighted to find that everyone would journey out for coffee after the Bible study. We would take over the local coffee joint and hang out for hours. Some of the people didn’t even order the black liquid. (like my future husband, for instance, who only ever ordered a large iced water) Here, among the smells of cinnamon and vanilla and sugar, relationships were formed. Closing down the coffee shop, driving home at 2 am, always losing sleep—those are the memories that I cherish and that have shaped me to be the human being I am today. Funny how a simple liquid could provide so much. It fostered a sense of community that otherwise wouldn’t necessarily have been felt.
Of course, all this talk about coffee could be applicable to beer as well. But that’s an entirely different blog posting. Whatever your beverage of choice, happy drinking.