Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sweet Helps the Bitter Go Down

On an application to a job I once had (you can guess), one of the questions it asked was, "What is your favorite thing about coffee?" Sure, I could answer the typical, "The taste!" "The smell!" or, "The way I'm addicted to it!"
But moreso, I like the way coffee can bring people together.
To me, coffee means community. Yes, billions* of people are addicted to coffee and go out of their way for it each day. They'll drink it by themselves at 6:00 in the morning. Decaf even. I've seen it. That's true addiction. To them, coffee means life.
But there are also a good amount of people who go out for coffee in order to share good conversation, to spend time together, to have human interaction. Even those who are addicted so much that they go to a coffee shop every day get some sort of human interaction, even if it is for only a minute. Sadly it may be the best conversation they'll have all day.
And it's not just limited to coffee. Tea can bring people together too. One of my goals for 2009 is to develop a taste for tea. One of the ways I've been doing that is to say "yes" every time someone offers me tea (I've also watched the movie "Yes Man" in 2009). Trust me, I get offered tea a lot. It's a cultural thing.
Ironically I like tend to like the more fruity, herbal teas best. Which is saying a lot. I don't mind green tea. And I still need to choke down black tea. I don't know what it is about black tea, makes my throat close.
But how great is the feeling of community when you are able to partake in someone else's hospitality? To be able to say, "yes" when they offer you tea, and then to share the conversation that is likely to ensue.
When we visited Turkey, we drank a lot of coffee and tea. Turkish coffee is very strong and sometimes reminiscent of mud. They serve it in very small mugs, because that is all you need (can handle, in my case). But I learned to like it. Two things that helped were:
1. I immensely enjoyed the company of those offering the coffee (or tea. But mostly coffee),
and
2. More often than not, the coffee was served with a small bit of chocolate.
Early on I discovered that if I held the chocolate in my mouth while drinking the coffee (it's possible to keep it there for the entire cup, I've found), it makes the coffee taste so good. It really helps.
And the same is with community. To share both the sweet and the bitter together makes life so much better.
I don't care if it's cheesy. I believe it to be true.



*rough estimate.

Apparently there is a tradition that when you're done with your coffee, you're supposed to turn the cup over onto the saucer and let all the mud slowly make its way down. The design it leaves on the cup will tell you your fortune, according to tradition. With this cup, if you turned it upside down, you will see a city-scape. My guess is Izmir.

8 comments:

cutewatergirl said...

Laura~

I am very much so enjoying the new blog, please keep the insights coming. Love ya, miss ya, praying for ya both.

Jess Kuhn

Warren MacLeod said...

I'm glad you included tea in the drinks-that-help-to-bring-community-even-though-they're-just-hot-flavored-water category with coffee.

Agree with Jess, I'm enjoying the new blog :)

Josh Koehn said...

Addicts often overestimate the number of people that share in their addiction.

Laura said...

I'm not addicted, I can quit any time I want!

Also, Josh, even though I follow your blog, I don't know why it wasn't showing up on my list (on the side of this page...not on my reader). So I took the whole list off, and then readded it, and suddenly you and six others are back on the list. This story is not nearly as exciting as I imagined it to be.

Laura said...

and

Jess, thanks. When are you going to start a blog? It's only a matter of time.

Warren, you're welcome. I've had way more tea in 2009 than coffee, you'll be glad to know. Trivia: the fact that they are warmed up flavored water is one of the reasons it took me so long to like either one. I'm kind of a purist when it comes to water. I love it the way it is.

Steve said...

Do you know what else coffee brings together? Steve + Laura. I served so many small mochas to a girl named Laura that she fell in love with me.

Put that in your french press and brew it and then drink it!






also the word verification is "prenis"...it is a good day.

cutewatergirl said...

Laura~

I have contemplated it, but haven't decided whether I would be able to come up with anything entertaining enough or insightful enough for my readers to use their valuable time reading.

Laura said...

Jess, I think you would. I would read it.

Steve, one of my favorite stories.

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