Cappuccino Soul

Cappuccino Soul

Monday, March 26, 2007

Confession Time: I’m a Coffee Fiend

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The name of this blog, Cappuccino Soul, points to my love for coffee. Yes, I am a coffee fiend. Cappuccino Soul beat out some other names, including Geechee Girl Soul, which I really like, but as my husband says, I’m not really a Geechee girl. But I do have ancestors from the Gullah/Geechee traditions and the older I get, the more they speak to me.

One of my aunties, who is from the Gullah area in South Carolina (you should hear her speak—-she has the most beautiful accent), used to pull out the percolator every time I’d visit her in Queens. I was living in New York City, but because of my schedule and hers, I didn’t get out to Queens that much. But when I did, Aunt Margaret would place our mugs on the table and get the coffee to percolatin’. We would sit and talk about the family members from Buffalo to South Carolina. The more coffee we drank, the more we’d laugh.

I’ve already told my daughter, who has frequently eyed my cups of black coffee and licked her lips, that coffee is for adults only. I told her that when she turns 18 she can start drinking coffee. She’s already trying to shave off some of those years. She’ll say, “Children don’t drink coffee, but when I’m 16, I can drink coffee too, right mommy?” Then I’ll remind her that I said “18,” not “16.”

Then she says “Okay,” with a sly look on her face.

I haven’t told her yet about the time period during my early teenage years when I would slip and drink a cup of coffee when I arrived home from school. Mom and dad were still at work, so I figured, why not try a cup. My mom had already told me that I wasn’t supposed to drink coffee until I became an adult. But I had to have some of that strong percolated coffee that my mom would make on the stove. By the time I got to it in the afternoon, it had sat long enough to really pack a jolt. It didn’t take me long to realize that the reason I was dancing around, singing, jumping on the sofa, and making nonsensical noises while I was alone in the house, was because the caffeine was making me a little crazy. The high was extraordinary, but the fall was depressing. I guess children can’t handle the effects of coffee like adults. That’s probably why many parents forbid their children from drinking coffee. It’s a drug y'all! After about a week, I stopped sneaking those cups of coffee and waited until I was 24 to become a regular coffee drinker.

I wonder if my daughter senses that coffee is a guilty pleasure for me. Although I’ve heard good and bad research study results about coffee, I try to only think about the good ones—most of the time. If anyone knows of a good reason why I should drink coffee everyday, please feel free to write me a note. I promise I’ll consider what you say.

Legend has it that over a thousand years ago, an Ethiopian goatherd named Kaldi spotted some of his goats having a funky good time, merrily dancing around a bush with dark green leaves and bright red berries. Kaldi wanted to feel the jolt of joviality that the beans gave to his goats, so he ate some of the berries and did his own version of the goat dance.

I guess I’ll always be searching for that cup of coffee that will inspire me to do my own dance around the berries. Maybe one day I’ll find it.

Some interesting facts about coffee:

Coffee is an 18 billion dollar a year industry.

Over 400 million cups of coffee are consumed in the U.S. each day.

Have you had your cup of café today?

6 comments:

Anne said...

Your daughter sounds clever and curious, and adorable. I like coffee too. In fact the lovely cup of coffee on your blog always makes me thirsty.

When I was about ten years old my mother finally gave in to my requests and started giving me an occasional cup of coffee. It was always a tiny bit of coffee with a lot of milk. As the years went on, the coffee to milk ratio slowly increased. My older son (now 18 years old) drinks coffee just once a year, on New Year's Eve, to stay awake. Luckily the little one (age 7) has no interest in it. He has so much natural energy already, I'm afraid he'd be like a hyperactive squirrel with a little caffeine in his system.

For what it's worth, I like the name of your blog. It sounds beautiful.

Alicia Benjamin-Samuels said...

Anne,
We'll have to see how Gigi's interest in coffee goes. Maybe she'll lose interest, or maybe when she finally gets a taste, she won't like it. She already loves tea--green, chamomile, red raspberry (decaffeinated, of course).
I'm afraid my husband and I have made coffee seem like such a tasty and stimulating treat.

anabel said...

I've come to your blog by way of Anne's last blog entry. I got tagged by her too. I still have to make my list.

Nice post. I'm 45 and still haven't acquired a taste for coffee. It smells to me like burnt toast. I know I'm in the minority here.

Alicia Benjamin-Samuels said...

Anabel,
Consider yourself lucky that you don't like coffee. Now there's no way that you can become addicted to it!
Thanks for commenting.
Peace,
alicia

Sugar said...

I used to be a coffee fiend, but now, I only drink it occasionally, and I don't even miss it. Maybe because I've replaced it with hot tea, but it hasn't been a big deal like I thought that it would. Even the smell sometimes gets on my nerve now....but, I will put a hurtin' on some coffee ice cream!!

When I was a little girl, my granddad drank Sanka instant coffee and he would always make me a cup when my parents weren't around. I think Sanka is caffeine free anyway, but I just loved the taste!

And, speaking of Geechee! Girl, I'm originally from South Carolina, about an hour west of Charleston! Isn't it a small world!? I was just reading a book last night that a co-worker gave t me about St. Helena Island down that way. Well, it's a picture book called "Face of an Island" and it includes photos that were taken back in the early 20th century by a photographer from the Hampton Institute, of those "gullah" people. The photos are amazing, but the captions made me a little sad. Stuff like, "This man is displaying his basket weaving skills. Skills that he learned as a boy in Africa." A chilling thought that those people had memories of having once been in the motherland before being snatched up.

Alicia Benjamin-Samuels said...

Sugar,
We've got some similar roots then because my Dad's side of the family is from South Carolina, also about an hour from Charleston! Like I said, my dad remembers people speaking the Gullah language and I've heard the accent in some of my relatives and other people from South Carolina. Yes it is a small world! You live in D.C. don't you? I was born there and have many many relatives there.

I would really like to read that book that you mention, "Face of an Island." Who wrote or edited it and which company published it?
Thanks girl!
Peace,
Alicia