Coffee brings warmth and comfort to my life. Part ritual, part relationship, part hope, having a cup in my hand feels as natural as holding a pencil. It stirs up memories and gratitude inside me.
My grandmother Audrey introduced me to coffee. She would make me coffee-milk in the morning before anyone else got up. I must have been four or five, holding my current favorite stuffed companion and still sucking my thumb. I would pad, sleepy-eyed, into the kitchen, where the kettle was simmering. The only light in the room was the one on the stove, and my grandmother would be sitting on a stool next to the counter, sipping coffee. She would glide across the floor in green nylon slippers and fix me a little cup of coffee-milk. Sweet and warm beyond compare. Sharing a little cup became our secret ritual. I thought it was my reward for waking up early.
Years later would find me in junior high, sitting around a huge table of family, observing the coffee ritual, but not participating yet, as I wasn’t old enough. My father’s brothers and sisters need nothing more than a coffeepot for celebration. Okay, one of Grandma’s caramel cakes helped, and they would sit for hours with coffee and with one another. I would take it all in, learning what “coffee” meant to them: love, sharing, and connection.
Coffee is an invitation. When someone invites you to get coffee, it isn’t because he or she is thirsty; more likely, that person just wants to spend time with you. Coffee calls us out of hiding. In the midst of our busy lives, we still manage time for coffee.
When someone puts on a pot of coffee, people come from everywhere. It draws us out of our usual hangouts into the center of activity.
Coffee is a universal sharing and sign of welcome. Whichever country we live in or visit, whatever language we speak—we can almost always find a cup of coffee or community cafe. I’m figuring I’ve have had coffee in forty-eight of the fifty states and in at least fifteen different countries. The message is always the same: Here is a cup of friendship and warmth; you are welcome here.
Coffee has a wonderful aroma. People who don’t even like coffee usually enjoy the smell and/or experience of it. I have friends who don’t drink coffee but never pass up an opportunity to “get coffee” together. Although they order hot chocolate or a smoothie or some other beverage, they want to embrace the invitation to get together and sit for a while in a place that smells so good.
Coffee is a wake-up call. The coffee bean contains caffeine, a mild stimulant found naturally in the berries—also found in tealeaves and cocoa beans. In small to moderate amounts, caffeine can promote wakefulness and has been shown to increase brain activity (for short periods, not for life, unfortunately). Coffee can also produce feelings of wellbeing and greater awareness of one’s surroundings. This makes sense to me, as I find I pay much closer attention when my eyes are open.
Coffee serves as a deep metaphor for life. The process of making a cup of fresh-brewed coffee has given me words and insight as to what has made a fresh-brewed life for me, and what can make a fresh-brewed life for anyone. The coffee part is fairly simple: a whole coffee bean goes into the fire, emerges richer and darker, is ground up into tiny pieces, and when hot water pours over those grinds, a magical aroma and flavor are released, and a remarkable drink is created.
What does it take to create a fresh brewed life? Let’s journey together over the next many weeks and find out. You’re invited to begin stirring your soul to wake up the slumbering parts and throw out the two-day-old, stale stuff in the bottom of the glass carafe. This is not freeze-dried life, like the Sanka your grandmother drank. We’re going after the real McCoy—authentic, energizing, stimulating, robust life.
I hope you’ll keep coming back for cup after cup.
For more encouragement, you may enjoy Love Covers
A bestselling author, performer, and motivational speaker, and FOUNDER of SEASONS WEEKEND, Nicole Johnson has been making audiences laugh and cry for over 25 years. With humor, compassion and wisdom, Nicole communicates using her unique blend of drama and speaking skills. She addresses issues drawn from the comedic struggles of our daily lives to the deeper questions that arise from our personal tragedies. Whether she is performing one of her original sketches on motherhood or breast cancer or sharing simple lessons from her own life, Nicole leaves each cup filled with a Fresh-Brewed perspective that brings Hope to the Daily Grind. Nicole lives in Santa Monica, CA with her husband Roy, and their two children.
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