What My Coffee Habit Taught Me About Memories
By: Peggy Willms
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I am doing something today that I have not done before. I am piggybacking off one of my Guest Blogger’s blogs. Catch Andee Scarantino’s “What My Coffee Habit Taught Me About Mindless Consumerism.” Andee’s blog makes you stop and think about the who, what, where, why, and when of a habit.
If you know me just a bit, you know one of my biggest addictions, other than being addicted to mania and human behavior, is coffee. Her blog gave me pause.
Over the years, I have made several references to my attachment to coffee going back to childhood. I even named my first radio show Coach, Couch, and Coffee.
But first, since I am a learner, I wanted to “go back” before I share my revelation from Andee’s blog and my addiction to coffee.
As I looked up the history of coffee, I was most fascinated by this tidbit: “Legends state an Arab goatherder investigated the chaotic behavior of his goats only to find the consumption of berries on an evergreen caused them to experience exhilaration.” It goes on to say that coffee has been touted as a healing potion at times and considered crazy juice (oooh, I agree with the latter). Until the 17th Century, most coffees came from Arabia, eventually making their way to Hawaii in 1825. In the 1900s, Brazil, Africa, and other countries ramped up production as coffee was quickly determined an excellent resource for trade. 
I believe coffee goes back to the beginning of mankind. How else could a cavewoman deal with her barefooted partner grunting around camp, carrying a bat, and smelling like buffalo unless she was sipping coffee all day?
Coffee was a staple in our family. Nearly every day of my life since birth has begun with a whiff of the brewed grinds. I can still hear the spewing of the percolator. In the mid-morning or afternoon, the cover of a jar of Maxwell House Instant Coffee spun off. My mother and grandmother would chat over their iced coffee. When “the men” returned from their day shift at the local paper mill, they were greeted with a fresh pot of java. Dinner (supper, as I called it back then) was completed with dessert and another dabble of brew. And if company came over to visit, another pot was brewed. How did anyone sleep being all revved up?
Back then, there wasn’t the variety of coffee condiments today. Every family I knew had a sugar bowl on their table. One to two teaspoons of sugar and a dabble of whole milk were added, or if you grew up near a farm as I did, the milk was fresh. There were also endless jars of powdered Coffee Mate as a backup.
When I close my eyes, I can still hear the spoon swirling and clanging on the cup’s edge. I can see the patchwork Formica tabletop with its aluminum edge. There is a sense of warmth with the paneled walls. My great-grandmother is wearing a lime-green apron, my grandmother in her lime-green printed smock, and my mother in her orange bell bottoms. Lime and Orange – so 70s. As I hear the stirrer thunk the counter, I feel a smile form on my lips, and I exhale with a sense of comfort. WTH. All brought on with a vision of coffee. Is this normal? It is brown water for heaven’s sake.
To this day, I love the smell and taste of coffee. I begged more for the beverage than I did for my first pair of gaucho boots. Why didn’t they just shut me up with decaf? Back then, I wouldn’t have known the difference.
It wasn’t just hot or cold coffee beverages consumed by the “adults,” there were coffee nip candies and Mr. Schwann’s coffee ice-cream buckets in the cellar freezer. We loved our coffee. Newspapers were read, and TV shows were viewed accompanying cups of coffee. Diners served coffee from opening hours to close.
For we kiddos, coffee – the beverage – was a rite of passage. Headed into my pre-teen years, my grandmother would let me swig a bit of hers. You would think I was chasing an ounce of Brandy from a gruff gambling Uncle. We weren’t allowed to have coffee until we were “older.” If they had just put coffee in my bottle, I probably would have had fewer migraines, understood my left brain more clearly and had fewer temper tantrums.
Those who love the liquid squeezed from God’s magic bean are attracted to different densities, appearances, aromas, and colors. My favorite is Tim Horton’s, which has been at the top of my list since 2011 when my Canadian boyfriend turned me into this pure gift of life. And I use my seafoam green Yeti mug the most. Though I love my Boss Babe and Wonder Woman cups quite a bit.
My morning routine begins by opening the living room blinds, grabbing my laptop or phone and reading glasses (yes, I am now one of those), a protein bar, and waiting for my Keurig to spit out my first 12 ounces of the day. I am not a foo-foo coffee drinker. I don’t want fake syrupy crap drowning out my coffee or a mountain of whip cream. I add my Premier protein drink (vanilla or cafe java flavor).
I then head out to the lanai to take in the morning and see what all the wild animals are up to. After about 30 minutes, I begin my workday. I have another 12 ounces in the late morning when I have my second meal, usually egg whites and fruit. Most days, around 3 p.m. I slide down about 10 ounces in one of my 50 favorite mugs and grab a treat of a small piece of caramel chocolate, cookie, or whatever, and I take a break on the deck, taking in nature. I used to drink coffee until 7 or 8 PM, but I have decided to dial it back. I also consume 64 ounces of water throughout the day.
When I began typing this blog, I suspected I would conclude I had brought forward yet another mindless family habit simply because it was what everyone else did. I figured I would back up my addiction with how difficult it has been to fight the powers of commercialization, which makes me want to chop my brain up in a grinder. Companies that start with an S and have the word bucks in it, and others with a P and rhymes with beets have taken a bean and priced a cup of coffee higher than two dozen eggs or a tank of gas. Abominable.
Anyhow. What fell out of my writing today is how coffee is attached to my family legacy and memories. I am connected to all the good times accompanied by this beverage. There were no fights when coffee was brewing or being consumed. There was only laughter, conversation, love, peace, and excitement. There were parties, holidays, camping trips, and just the simple joys of starting a brand-new day with a simple beverage available to mankind in a pure, natural form.
I recognize that I could not carry on my addiction to coffee without my true love for its flavor. If I were chasing the high of caffeine, I could find it in many other forms, such as pills, drops, powders, and even creams. Those are not for me. I want my coffee.
Human behavior, in this case – habits- prompted my thoughts after reading Andee’s blog. People and animals love habits. We adapt so quickly whether they are healthy or unhealthy habits, so I thought surely that was my gig. Still, I realized my addiction to coffee was more significant than just an inherited, mindless behavior.
Coffee has become a part of my who, what, where, why, when, and how. Coffee is the focal point when I complete many tasks, conduct my videos or lives, radio shows, TikToks, and visit with family and friends. It affects all my senses. Hearing coffee brew, smelling the aroma, tasting its divine flavor, and feeling the ambiance of calmness, joy, and focus in my life.
Every time I have a sip of coffee from here on out, I will focus on all the laughter and memories I have experienced since I whiffed its essence from my crib over 56 years ago. Coffee Rules.
All Things Wellness, LLC
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