While touring Munich, Germany last year, I visited the oldest coffeehouse in Munich founded in 1775. The Cafe Tambosi boasts an ornate, luxurious charm with a dark wooden bar, small marble tables and mismatched plush armchairs mixed in with wood-backed, faded red cushioned chairs. It was a cold, cloudy day that threatened to pour rain at any minute. Not exactly the kind of day that invites people to walk around the nearby Hofgarten park or mill about the Odeonplatz square, so my people watching opportunities were low. After I finished my good but unidentifiable coffee (I don’t speak German so I just pointed to the menu when ordering), I walked around the corner to a Starbucks that was bustling with people and dogs that lounged on ottomans.
I am not a coffee connoisseur. French fries, yes; coffee, no. To me, coffee is not a special treat to be desperately sought after while on vacation in Europe, but instead, it is an integral part of a very comfortable morning routine. My relationship with coffee certainly evolved over the course of time, and it did not start out smooth.
Age five: I called my mother’s cup of coffee “smelly, dirty water.” To be fair, she drinks her coffee black with just one pack of sugar, which I will only do under desperate circumstances.
Age sixteen: I started drinking coffee in the morning, because I thought I was cool and grown up. Of course, I added a lot of the super sugary, fat-filled creamers that make coffee more like a warm-version of milkshake.
Age eighteen to twenty-two: I hit college and become well-acquainted with the all-nighter. Even when I wasn’t pulling a true all-nighter, coffee was a great study buddy for those nights I was up until the wee hours of the morning cramming for a midterm or hopelessly trying to write a 15-page paper in a single sitting. This is also the time period where I researched the relative caffeine content in soda and tea, so I could accurately keep myself awake for exactly the amount of time that I needed to study and fall asleep immediately after.
Age twenty-three: In my post-grad life, I found myself in an office with a Keurig machine and seemingly limitless amount of pods. I’m not going to name an exact number but let’s say some days I was mainlining coffee. I decided I needed to cut back (read: cut out) and tried to go cold turkey off of caffeine. That lasted about a day until the migraines set in, but after this episode, I decided on a two-cup-a-day limit. One at home while getting ready, and one at the office when catching up on emails.
Age twenty-five: The a two-cup-a-day habit is still going strong today, with a few exceptions for super early mornings or days following incredibly late nights. Coffee and I have fallen into a normal, routine every morning. Some may call it boring, but aside from family and a few close friends, it’s probably my longest, most consistent relationship in a while, and I can’t imagine breaking up anytime soon. For the foreseeable future, the schedule for each day will be first coffee, then everything else.