What is it about coffee that is so compelling? I remember sitting in a summer school class at college a few years ago and hearing the instructor say, “I refuse to pay $4.50 for a gallon of gas, but I go to Starbucks every morning and pay that much for a cup of coffee.” I was thinking about that statement recently and trying to justify it in my mind. I told myself, “gasoline is a necessity; not something to be enjoyed.” Yet, how would most people describe their morning cup of coffee? as a luxury?, or as a necessity? I would venture to guess that most would consider it much more a necessity than a luxury, so how is it different from gas?
Then I think, “Gasoline is a means to an end (to get me to where I want/need to go), and not an end in and of itself.” But isn’t that true of coffee as well. For many coffee drinkers coffee is the means to an end. For many it is the “fuel” that gets them going and keeps them going throughout the day. I have been drinking coffee since I was a child, but it became a “habit” while I was in law school and I would have to admit, it was a necessity, it was fuel, it was what got me going and kept me going. It was in law school that I developed my two-to-three pots of coffee a day habit. So if I need coffee like I need gasoline, why should I complain so much about the one and not about the other?
Coffee is quite visceral. Coffee is a “trigger” that affects us in a real and individual way. For some it reminds them of a special time in their life, for others: a special place, and for yet others it brings memories of special people or events in their life. It really doesn’t matter that much why you drink coffee; it just matters that you do and that you have your reasons for drinking it. If that is the case then you undoubtedly have opinions about coffee and those opinions are likely quite deep-seated.
What I would like to know is: why do you drink coffee? Is it a luxury or a necessity? Will you grumble about $3.00 – $4.00 a gallon gasoline prices and yet head like a lamb to the slaughter to your coffee vendor of choice and mindlessly fork over exorbitant prices for coffee because either you “just have to have it” or it is your “guilty pleasure”? What is it – for you personally – that compels you to start each and every day in the very same way: with that closest and most intimate of friends – your morning cup of coffee.
photo credit: futureatlas