Black, liquid hope sold here.* Coffee has been in my life since the caffeinated trio who raised me finally acquiesced and allowed me to join them in their marvelous morning routine. My “coffee” was mostly milk, of course, but the milk-to-coffee ratio gradually reversed – with the coffee increasing as my height did. Black coffee was my drink of choice by the time I was well over five feet tall and the pain-relieving, happy-making escape that each mug provided was no longer reserved just for mornings. Not only did this miraculous hot beverage provide myriad “me” moments, it was clearly good for not just my mental wellbeing but my physical health as well. My chronic pain and coffee’s caffeine made us a good fit yet that’s only part of its allure.
An essential element of coffee’s goodness is its aroma, which is enhanced by warmth. A nice spot of tea also provides that comforting combination. I had a well-rounded upbringing thanks to my anglophile mum, who properly follows her morning coffee with afternoon tea. One of the benefits of tea is its variety, making it possible to opt for less caffeine without compromising flavor. Between the bean and leaf, there’s bound to be a caffeine-flavor combo to suit everyone and there’s nothing like a hot beverage when you need a moment to yourself. Cold drinks work yet savoring helps us slow down for a bit, and the sipping a hot beverage requires has a centering effect. A hot drink is beneficial year-round too as it’s scrumptious if you’re cold and helps you adapt to the heat if you’re hot.
Find moments throughout your day – whatever the drink and whatever you’re doing – as we all need a breather, or ten. You don’t have to be still with your beverage for it to be therapeutic but you’ll be better off for every pause you let it create. Coffee really is a great way to start the day, especially if you take that time for yourself before getting caught up in the day’s busyness. While my beloved bean provides a pick-me-up when needed, tea can provide a curative calm. Tea comes with its own rich history. The simplest of tea ceremonies are powerful in action and intention. It’s the intention behind an action that gives it meaning which is why taking a coffee or tea break offers the most return for the least effort. Each equally wondrous in its own right, coffee or tea is therapy in a mug.
Then there are the health benefits:
Coffee in moderation and tea reduce heart disease risk.
Coffee protects against gallstones and kidney stones.
Coffee aids in fiber intake and fighting asthma.
Coffee & tea reduce the risk of Type 2 Diabetes.
Coffee & tea protect against liver disease.
Coffee & tea have powerful antioxidants.
Tea promotes alertness and relaxation.
Tea helps prevent tooth decay.
Coffee & tea are hydrating.
Coffee protects the brain.
Caffeine reduces pain.
Given my lifelong love affair with coffee, my “coffeesister” moniker is no surprise but there’s more to it. From the fellowship my family’s always shared over hot beverages to the friends found sharing a cuppa with someone, I believe in the ritual of it. I consider coffee and tea tangible friendship.. Science fiction guru, Robert A. Heinlein, created the concept of “water brothers” in his book Stranger in a Strange Land. Those who “share water” affirm mutual trust, understanding, and acceptance. Imagine feeling that way about ourselves, much less someone else. What better way to start than by opening our hearts, filling our mugs, and taking the time to simply be? As a coffeesister; I believe in sharing water, the aromatherapy of a hot brew, and the importance of being kind to each other – starting with ourselves:
“Coffee [or tea] is real good when you drink it, it gives you time to think. It’s a lot more than just a drink; it’s something happening. Not as in hip, but like an event, a place to be, but not like a location, but like somewhere within yourself. It gives you time, but not actual hours or minutes, but a chance to be, like be yourself, and have a second cup.”
— Gertrude Stein
*This is proposed as a coffee house name in the Gilmore Girls episode “I Solemnly Swear”