Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Why I Love Coffee

When I paint a picture of happiness in my head, the image involves a cup of coffee. It's as if holding a steaming mug slows times for the sipper while the rest of the world whirls around her. I've had so many lovely mornings cup in hand, sometimes with friends nearby, sometimes with just a pen and paper, sometimes just staring out the window watching the sun slide from hazy morning to brilliant day. If I could have my way, every morning people would come into my kitchen to drink coffee or tea, my only job would be to make sure the coffee was always hot. I could do that.

Life with coffee is slow and peaceful; I've always been such a romantic, idealizing the simple. There are people who slam espresso like they would a shot of whiskey; people who screech through Starbucks driveups and are always later to things than they mean to be.

In Spain, the cafes buzz softly with noise: the clanking of spoons against dishes, the whizzing of a steam wand in a canister of milk, and the smooth repetition of Castillian Spanish, which is so easy to tune out when you don't quite understand it. And the smell, oh the smell; inhaling the aroma of finely roasted beans is just as good as imbibing it.

All the cafes in Seville were al fresco for most of the year. In deep, rainy winter, they pull closed the windows. We're indoors too much here, choked by air conditioning and lulled quiet with florescent lighting. We also put too much whipped cream and French vanilla flavoring in our cheap coffee, but that's neither hear nor there. Wouldn't you rather be lulled to peace with a frothy cappuccino while staring at people walking by on the sidewalk?

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