Coffees I Have Loved

coffee2I have to give up coffee, either temporarily or permanently, I don’t know which–it’s an autoimmune thing. But really–it’s ok. No need to fix it or Match.com fix-me-up with Yerba Mate/green tea/herbal supplements. This is a kind of elegy, and I’m just going through old photographs, remembering the hot kisses from the one who pushed my shoulders back in my chair and made my hair stand on end. Here is a list (inspired by Daniel Nester’s lists) of coffees I have loved.

  1. Making Maxwell House for my dad’s office every morning, scoops into the filter, a nickel a pot
  2. Mom’s coffee and a cigarette after a meal, mom’s morning McDonald’s coffee, Dad’s bitter black
  3. My first iced coffee in October at a campus bar: I thought it was a Halloween joke like backwards day
  4. Latte in Germany in a bowl-like cup, drinking milky breakfast
  5. Coffee in my first coffeeshop at college, Goodbye Blue Monday, and my first espresso and mocha in a blue mug, sitting with orange-haired Sol, like another kid’s LSD trip
  6. Strong Italian, Ethiopian, every kind of bean served at the coffeeshop where I became a daily coffee drinker
  7. Lattes at Muddy Waters coffeehouse on Lyndale in Minneapolis
  8. Meeting Steve for mochas at Cafe Mocha near the U of M to talk about bands and our weirdnesses and our sadnesses
  9. Flat anonymous coffees in paper cups at bakeries with lots of cream and sugar
  10. Boston Dunky regular: cream and lots of sugar in styrofoam like a tureen of strength
  11. Corner store coffee in Dorchester on the way to the train, early morning cold, Hazelnut sometimes, a watery yet bitter bracing taste.
  12. Dunky iced coffee hazelnut burned my guts
  13. Midnight Sanka working third shift, reminded me of a That’s Incredible episode of a guy who ate a bicycle
  14. Morning fancier coffee I’d make from a bag as part of my job for the day shift
  15. Restaurant near my house that served coffee with chicory, burnt warm taste that to me meant I was middle class somehow
  16. Coffee at home: Maxwell House with half and half
  17. Stepping up to Maxwell House “Special Blend” or something like that, which I thought was snooty of me
  18. Espresso on a road trip over a camp stove with half and half, bitter clarity and leaving a relationship as always
  19. Chicago coffeeshops, smoky regular coffee with cream in thick-lipped diner cups
  20. Starbucks at my parents’ house, oily sheen that came off one’s skin and ate a hole in the gallbladder, a buzz that immediately jacked me up past smart into stupid
  21. Experimenting with grocery store coffees: Quarter After Eight, White Castle, anything in a bag not a can
  22. Cup o Joe’s in Columbus, bizarre flavors like pumpkin always disappointing and burnt like drinking air freshener
  23. The travel mug that meant my soul was ready to go out the door with me
  24. Soy latte after my son was born to try to treat his colic, taste like rubber and tapioca
  25. French press at Yeah Me Too, a gritty warm buzz in a paper cup I nursed all day
  26. Espresso grounds in the pot at home to carry me like a laser
  27. Organic coffee in Georgia when I finally got a job with retirement
  28. Small Starbucks on campus to lull me into a few more hours of work, and I refuse to say Venti ever for no clear reason
  29. Two travel mugs I’d fill for work every morning, double fisting to punch through another day
  30. French press at home with soy creamer when I gave up milk, and half and half’s strange sour aftertaste faded like the touch of a moon I’d never see again
  31. French press at home with Hershey’s Special Dark powder and honey when I had to give up soy, like a revelation of my craftiness
  32. That was it. That was the last coffee, and a coffee stain on my desk that I briefly considered licking just for one last taste.