Column: Perfect blend

“I started drinking coffee for the same reasons as everyone else: to stay awake and focused. But it has become so much more than that. Coffee has become a love language.” (Brooke Luther)

Getting into my best friend’s red convertible was a daily occurrence during spring semester last school year. She always let me play my music on the way, no matter how many times I made her listen to “Breezeblocks” by alt-J on repeat. We ended up at Starbucks almost every day after school, and our order was always the same: two venti cold brews, light ice.

We’d spend hours sitting there and watching the world go by, surrounded by the smell of slightly burnt coffee beans as we pretended to do homework, convincing ourselves that staying until the cafe closed was at least a little productive. We talked about our days, our background, our futures and everything in between.

It wasn’t just after school though. We got coffee almost every time we saw each other. We drank cold brew while catching up with friends at the lake or before going to hang out at the park. We got caffeinated to do everything in our lives, and somehow it always made it so much better. Even if it was a group event, getting drinks first was something that was just ours. Not only did I get one of my favorite things in the entire world — coffee — but I got to spend more time with my best friend before she had to move away for college.

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But I don’t just drink coffee with my friends. My mom and I always get a peppermint mocha and an iced gingerbread coffee with oat milk. We order them ahead and go in to pick them up together. We drink them while driving home, talking about what my sisters are up to at college, what’s going on with school or what we hope to do for the holidays.

Sometimes we get coffee because it’s been a hard day. Sometimes we’re celebrating the good days. Sometimes it just makes sense.

We always end up sending a picture or rating of each flavor to my sisters. Most of the time the oldest will reply with a picture of herself drinking coffee too. It’s such a small thing that we never think much about it, but it’s nice to connect over something as insignificant as a drink, even when we’re hours apart.

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I started drinking coffee for the same reasons as everyone else: to stay awake and focused. But it has become so much more than that. Coffee has become a love language. If I know one of my friends is having a bad day, I’ll bring them a drink before class. If my mom is stressed, I’ll make us coffee to drink together. If my sister has spent a little too long doing homework, we’ll take a break and go grab Starbucks.

Coffee is such a convenient way to show someone that you care and connect with them before life gets busy. Things as small as having a friend’s order memorized, getting them a new mug for Christmas, or making them a cup when they seem overworked can make a big difference.

If I had known that I would love coffee for a reason completely unrelated to the caffeine when I started drinking it, I would think it was ridiculous. Spending $5 on a coffee used to seem absurd, but now I get it. It’s not always about the actual drink. It’s about getting to know the people around you and spending time together without having to worry about the details and plan in advance.
As silly as it sounds, coffee is a lifeline. It bonds people in such a unique way, and of course, the caffeine is a nice perk.