It’s a daily experience shared by millions of people around the world. An experience that may only last 5 minutes but has the ability to make or break your day.
The morning coffee.
It starts when you approach your favourite cafe. Before setting foot inside you hear the sound of grinding fresh coffee beans churning through the grinder into the portafilter (or ‘giant spoon’, as I like to call it). There’s a gentle humming sound coming from behind the counter as the machine (worth more than your car) slowly releases a steady stream of hot liquid gold into the awaiting cup. As you reach the entrance the noise of milk being gently heated and frothed can be heard* amongst the low murmur of people exchanging grumbled pleasantries, as they wait anxiously for their caffeine fix.
*if this noise is more like a high pitched squeal resembling a small kitten being strangled, then back away, slowly from this cafe and never return.
Once inside, your nostrils flare as the familiar, welcoming smell of your favourite coffee fills your nose. The smell triggers a message to the rest of your body propelling a sea of anxiousness and excitement. You’re close to the elixir of life. You can hear it. You can smell it. You scurry into line and join the other pre-caffeinated, seemingly lifeless souls, waiting to be served.
Raising your head to scope out the familiar surroundings of this converted old building, you smile at the sight of the friendly, bearded hipsters with their curly moustaches and misfitting, mismatching, yet strangely cool clothes. They’re huddled over beakers, cups and jugs like mad, deranged scientists. The only thing missing is white lab coats. “Remember that time someone ordered a mystical filter coffee from Rwanda?!” you think to yourself. You’re pretty certain that involved scales, a bunsen burner and safety goggles and cost the customer $12. Madness.
You’re called to order and you mumble something, barely audible, to the overenthusiastic (probably caffeinated) young worker before shuffling over to wait in the dedicated empty space. You wait. And you wait. It feels like an eternity so, naturally, you grab your phone from your pocket and start the endless loop. You check Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Email, LinkedIn, Messenger, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat before realising you already looked at these and there was nothing to see (except that annoying notification telling you it’s Steve’s birthday). You don’t even know who Steve is, but you’re pretty sure you met at a house party a few years ago.
It’s been 90 seconds now, meaning you’re probably starting to get bored. You take an arty picture of the cafe and caption it something witty and original like “#givemestrength” and send it to your 25 followers. “People love photos of cafes” you reassure yourself.
Eventually, you hear your name called and scuttle forward, receiving the cup with welcoming yet desperate hands. It’s like a scene from Oliver Twist. You mutter a quick “thanks” and immediately feel the warmth move through your fingers up your arms and into your body. “It’s all going to be okay” you reassure yourself, raising the cup to your soft, trembling lips. You close your eyes, take that magical first sip and taste the bold, strong flavours of pure Ethiopian single roast. Or is it this the Colombian blend? Who can remember?
As you lower the cup and open your eyes you notice for the first time today, that the sun is shining. You smile and feel your body come to life. In this moment, with your coffee clasped firmly in your hands, nothing can bother you. That is, of course, until you realise you only have 1 like on your impulse Instagram photo. And that 1 like is from your mother.