I hope you’re enjoying the winter days as we edge closer to Spring. While you’re waiting, grab your coffee and enjoy.
THE ART OF SIPPING COFFEE
The sign in the café window announced a well-known coffee connoisseur would be there Saturday morning to share The Richness of Naked Coffee. Of course, that got a lot of attention. It piqued my interest, and come Saturday morning I made sure I had a front-row seat to hear what he had to say.
The little coffee shop was usually busy, especially on weekends, but today was an understatement with standing room only. I hadn’t always drank coffee and I wasn’t familiar with the myriad coffee types. Coffee was coffee to me, but I had a feeling I was about to be embarrassed by my lack of knowledge.
The coffee connoisseur began by sharing the coffee process, from the richness of the soil for cultivating the best coffee, to the best areas in the world to grow it, to the process of roasting the beans, and finally to the production of the coffee you drink. He really pushed the point of enjoying what he termed naked coffee, coffee without sweeteners, creamers, or flavors. “When you add all those other ingredients you really only have a sweetened drink that’s not pure coffee,” he explained. “You need to learn to embrace coffee’s purity and richness so you can enjoy it in its caffeinated or decaffeinated form.”
The speaker wasn’t without his props because after his introduction he passed out small cups and a carafe of his favorite coffee. We could try a taste if we wanted. I was game so I poured a little and passed it on. He had told us to swish it around in the cup, and hold it close to your nose to enjoy its aroma. Then we were to take a sip and let your palate envelop the distinct tastes as you swallowed it.
I tried it, and my first taste told my taste buds it was much too strong and left a bitter taste in my mouth. I guess I was a coffee novice for sure. After we’d tried three different types of coffee, I had decided I like what I usually order, and determined I wasn’t a coffee connoisseur. Oh, well, there could be worse things, right?
Obviously, there were definitely some coffee connoisseurs in attendance because when he finished his lecture, the bags of coffee dramatically disappeared from the shelves. My only thought was I hoped the management had another order of coffee due to arrive on Monday.
After consuming more coffee than I needed, I headed home to handle my usual Saturday morning chores. With all the caffeine I’d consumed, you’d think I’d have energy to spare but after two hours, I was ready for a nap. However, before I dozed off, my thoughts went back again to coffee.
Regardless of the coffee types, I realized that the coffee connoisseur was right to say that coffee is a lot like life. You can enjoy life the way it is and ride the bumps along the way, or you can try to color it something that it’s not which only covers up the things that don’t make you happy. Now I was getting philosophical on myself. When we can’t enjoy life in the simplest way, we can’t enjoy living, and there’s a difference. Adding too many other things to our coffee is the same as adding too many other, non-important things in our lives. Doing so keeps us wanting more and looking for more when all that we have is all that we really need. I decided it’s best to keep our lives uncluttered from the non-essential things that only attempt to fill a void but never do. Let’s enjoy the life God’s given us and embrace each day with newness, simplicity, and love. After preaching to myself I decided I’d enjoy drinking my coffee black.
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A dear friend of mine enjoys her food and coffee HOT, HOT, and HOT. I could never understand that. The instant something too hot hits my tongue I’m reaching for an ice-cube to cool my taste buds.
This particular Saturday I stopped into my coffee café for my morning coffee before I dug into taking care of my errands and weekly chores that had waited for me all week. It wasn’t that I needed the coffee to wake me up. I just enjoyed relaxing and starting my day with a cup of coffee.
At least when I entered my favorite café, it wasn’t crowded, although I recognized the nice looking gentleman I’d first met when I arrived in town. He was once again busy on his laptop. I ordered my HOT coffee and took a seat by the window. He glanced up as I sat down, smiled, and raised his cup in greeting. I nodded in return.
After pulling out my cell phone to check social media and removing the lid from my coffee cup, I took a drink and realized I’d just burnt my tongue—again. I knew it was hot, and yet I still drank it when I should have waited a bit longer. My reaction caused the man to look up, and somehow I knew he’d be telling me another story.
He smiled before he spoke. “Getting burnt is not the best way to start your day.” He stated the fact rather rudely, I thought. “There are times in life when it’s best not to jump right into the first thing you see.” He continued hitting the laptop keys.
I cautiously took a little sip while he continued. “I recall a time in South Carolina when I was a youth. I wasn’t necessarily shy but if I thought something was worthy of my time, I’d go all in. Sometimes it worked in my favor but other times, it didn’t. I realized later on as I matured that jumping into something I wasn’t very sure about was like taking a big gulp of HOT coffee. I might survive the initial jolt of the burning hot liquid going down my throat but more likely I’d definitely burn some of my taste buds.” He paused and I thought that was the end of the lesson when he continued.
“One must monitor themselves when making decisions. Weigh in on every aspect of what you’re contemplating. You don’t want a hurried action to result in a less-than-favorable reaction. That’d be the same as burning your tongue or throat with extremely hot coffee.” Again, another pause. By this time I’d drank half of my coffee because it was finally at the ‘drinkable’ stage, hot enough not to burn my tongue but still hot enough to enjoy the warmth going down.
“I believe, my dear,” he began, “that you indeed have a tendency to decide on things quickly. You really don’t like to wait too long,” he looked up and smiled. I could only nod.
“My advice is just don’t rush into anything. If it’s worth going for, it’s worth waiting for. Just remember that every time you take a sip of your coffee. Enjoy the flavor, the day, the moment you’re in, and don’t be so busy to rush through life. You don’t want one bad, rushed decision to cloud over the rest of your life.”
I could see what he was talking about, and I was surprised because he pretty much nailed me on my reaction to life. I realized I’d done many things where I just jumped into the circumstances. I hadn’t avoided the pitfalls, and I had the burn scars to prove it. Wow—and all from burning my tongue on hot, hot coffee. Who knew?
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(to be continued next month)
Originally published 2017