At Sunday night dinners, Poppy would mix a teaspoon of decaf with plenty of sugar and the cream in the creamer cup. I remember my grandfather’s paper-white thumb and forefinger as he handed me the thimble of coffee. I remember his smile as I turned to clink my cup against his larger mug. I remember his blue blue eyes as he looked at me over his cup as we both sipped.
It would be years before I started brewing my own cup in the mornings or late at night over my college textbooks. But every cup I’ve ever brewed has held that promise of connection, that promise that something more than ground beans mixed with water to make a cup of something that tastes really good.
Coffee creates a connection. It brings people together. We meet friends for coffee. Have first dates over coffee. Dinners are prolonged by steaming cups of dark roast on white tablecloths.
Today, I drink coffee out of huge mugs, and I prefer caffeinated over un, but I still appreciate the faces I see over the cups. The smiles I share.
Coffee is clearly common ground. It’s equal footing for us all to stand on when we meet face to face. It’s not snobby or pretentious like wine sometimes seems to be, and it’s more decadent than soda or water.
Plus when you meet over a small table with your palms warming against the sides of a hot mug, there’s a shift. It’s a movement away from computer screens and iPhones. Shoulders relax. There are gestures and leaning. And smiles. Visible, wide, toothy smiles that can be seen through more than pixels and emoji.