Back in middle school, I woke up every morning to the smell of hazelnut coffee. My mom loved hazelnut coffee. She exclusively bought hazelnut creamer for years, to the point that I thought all coffee was hazelnut-flavored.
Every morning, I knew Iíd find a half-empty cup of hazelnut coffee on the bathroom counter when I brushed my teeth. Mom would move the cup to the kitchen before leaving for work. Iíll never forget coming home from school and cleaning her dark red lipstick stain off the cup. Mom is a creature of habit. She loved hazelnut coffee, and she loved drinking it while wearing red lipstick.
Thanks to her, Iíve developed a healthy, loving relationship with coffee over the years. Iíd work on schoolwork at bookstores in high school and college, which always required a vanilla latte. ďGrande vanilla latte no whip,Ē Iíd tell the barista in one exasperated breath, the way you do when ordering coffee or running really hard up the stairs. Then Iíd load that baby up with sugar and nutmeg, as if it wasnít already infused with diabetes. Mostly I wanted to mask the taste of the coffee while receiving all the amazing benefits of caffeine.
After all, who doesnít love caffeine? It starts your day. It keeps you awake. It gives you those good jitters, like the feeling you have before boarding a roller coaster or giving a big speech. Iíve never known anything to snap me back to reality quite like caffeine. On Mondays and Tuesdays, indulging in caffeine is even worth not sleeping much at night. I mean, you canít get through a busy day without 20 pots of coffee, right? Oh, youíre right Ö itís more like 30 pots.
Thereís plenty of ways to get caffeine. You can drink tea or energy drinks, or shoot it directly into your eyes. (Thatís a joke. Please donít shoot caffeine into your eyes!) I am constantly drinking tea and, in turn, constantly running to the bathroom, but nothing is quite as satisfying as pouring a big cup of coffee on Monday morning.
My love affair with coffee deepened when I started working at Carroll County News in 2014, when I realized coffee doesnít need all that creamer and sugar to be worthy of swimming down my gullet. For so long, I had treated coffee like it needed something extra to make the grade. Now I realize how crazy that was. At long last, I love coffee for its true self Ö strong, tall and black.
Our office manager, Cindy, makes amazing coffee every day. Most mornings, coffee will be ready when I get in. If itís not, itíll be ready soon. In this chaotic world, itís nice to have that constant. I may not know what the future holds, but I know the immediate future involves a huge, glistening mug of hot bean water. Do you know how comforting that is? Imagine sleeping on a huge pile of pillows and blankets while eating an endless bowl of mac and cheese. Somehow, itís even more comforting than that.
This column is for you, coffee. May our relationship last longer than my career, friendships and marriage. So long as youíre by my side, I know good things will be brewing.
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Samantha Jones is associate editor for Carroll County Newspapers. Her email address is Citizen.Editor.Eureka@gmail.com