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The Love of Coffee

I’m writing this morning about one of my loves. Something that touches my heart on a daily basis, something that transcends borders and boundaries, something that regularly permeates my socmed, something that brings me warmth and happiness, especially when I can share it with friends and dear ones.

I’m writing, of course, about coffee.

I have a love affair with the black gold that dates back to my childhood days, when my sister and I would fight over the cold dregs of our father’s first cup. (He took it triple-triple, so I think we actually preferred the sugary-cream rather than the coffee, but nonetheless.) My first full cup of the bitter black delight was at the base of the Blue Mountains in Jamaica – with beans that had been recently picked and roasted that morning. (Blue Mountain coffee is recognised as a premium coffee). It was delicious!

Since then, I’ve had many, MANY cups of coffee, in many venues. I’ve had some of the best coffee in the world, and I’ve had some of the worst. I try not to be too much of a coffee snob (I can’t blind taste test a Robusta from an Arabica), but I do know what I like and how I like it. So, I make my coffee choices accordingly – at home I grind my own beans (presently I have 4 varieties) and prepare how I choose (presently I have 4 devices). I prefer to drink coffee that’s been fairly traded (at home or not); I try to choose shade-grown and organic.

For me, coffee is not just about the taste, or the calming clarity the caffeine brings. It’s not just about grabbing whatever is handy, or boasting the most expensive roasts, it’s about the experience. For me, every cup of coffee is to be enjoyed and appreciated. A cup of coffee is something we do with friends, where we can engage in conversation. It’s a time of retreat from the day’s busy-ness, when we can just be present and reflect. It’s a transport to memories of people and places and adventures.

I’ve tried Kopi Luwak (the world’s most expensive coffee) and remember it not just as the worst tasting coffee I’ve ever had but for the laughter I shared with friends as we tried to describe the taste and mouth feel (we came up with ‘dirt trapped in cottony sandpaper’). I remember the unremarkable cups of church hall coffee because of the people I was with and the conversations we shared. I remember cups of hospital coffee (if it was coffee!) because I was there saying goodbye to loved ones or meeting my godson for the first time.

I love coffee. I love it because for me, it’s about relationship. It’s a daily invitation to reengage with folks that are dear to me, to recall memories that are important to me. I know that coffee is a part of routine for most people, and I wonder if we can challenge ourselves to enhance this routine. I wonder if it might be possible to change our habit into something more. Imagine if we offered a quick prayer before we drank each cup of coffee. Imagine if we took a moment to bring God into our lives as easily and as regularly as we do our caffeine. Imagine if we all focused on relationship – with one another and with God – every time we filled our cups. Maybe not every prayer experience would be profound or inspirational, but then again not every cup of coffee is inspiring! But I think the consistency could do us all some good. It could remind us of relationship as a primary purpose of our lives. It could remind us of our call to go out to love and serve. It could act as a means to bring us even closer to God.

Maybe it’s time for another cup – anyone care to join me?

About Laura Marie Piotrowicz

I’m a high-energy priest, now serving in the Diocese of Niagara, catching glimpses of the kingdom in daily life. I consider church to be a verb, and I’m passionate about prayer, eco-theology, and social justice. I love travel, reading, canoeing, camping, gardening and cooking, playing with my dogs, and drinking good coffee.

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3 Responses to The Love of Coffee

  1. Seems to me both of you have picked up on something Leonard Sweet seems to think is important for us to grasp in ministry. Coffee=relationship. (Insert beverage or food of choice here). Somehow, I think we skip over that important element of Jesus’ ministry pattern: time alone with God, meal with others; time alone with God, meal with others…

    If you’re looking for some reflective texts to support the idea, Sweet’s The Gospel According to Starbucks has some good things to say about hospitality, and A Cup of Coffee for the Soul Cafe observes the importance of slowing down to think (with coffee).

  2. Kyle Norman

    Sweet’s book is a fabulous look at not just coffee, but the whole notion of coffee culture.  I often tell people, who like to criticize my coffee snobery or suggest that going to Starbucks is some how ‘bad’, that Starbucks changed how people viewed coffee by offering an experience.  It created a place for relationships, connections, conversations to occur in a welcome and comfortable environment.

    I like LauraMarie’s suggestion that what is more important than coffee is the relationships and memories, and the challnge to focus on those things instead of some of the other stuff that gets in the way.

  3. Sweet does have a lot to say – and also goes into the language of coffee as per St. Arbuck’s as a means to force people into a type of community (likening it to our church-speak).

    I think part of the reality of shared experience over shared beverage or meal also reflects our lack of snobbery about our preferences… I know we all make our own choices for good-tasting coffees, but I also know we’ve all choked down the rough stuff because we’re with the right people at the time. We accept the hospitality and choices of whoever we’re with because we put relationship ahead of preference. Sometimes glimpses of the Kingdom are found over a cup of REALLY horrible coffee.

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