“Mama, did you stop drinking coffee when you were pregnant with me or my sister?”
“No, but I should have, look how you two turned out.”
Hi, my name is Youmna El Halabi, and I’m addicted to coffee. Cue the unanimous chants one gets when at a self-help group.
In pop-culture terms, if Spencer Hastings from Pretty Little Liars and Lorelai Gilmore from Gilmore Girls were to have a love child, it would be me.
However, these shows always emphasized on the amount of coffee consumed, whereas yours truly focuses more on the quality of this bitter, yet indispensable beverage.
Growing up in a Lebanese household, the smell of Arabic coffee was ever-present. And let me tell you one thing: one rakwa (coffee pot for Arabs) is worth 10 of your Americanos, and might just teach you a thing or two about good coffee.
As per my introduction, I genuinely believe my love for coffee is hereditary. Although she might deny it if you ask, my mother is just as bad as I am, if not worse. You know how lent is supposed to be a time where you fast on one thing that brings you joy? You can bet my mother never fasted on her morning coffee. Why? “I just can’t handle the headaches.” But god forbid I go over my three-cup-a-day limit. Mothers are weirdly paradoxical.
But I can’t say I don’t understand where she is coming from. Whenever someone claims to have stopped drinking coffee, boasting about how much it improved their quality of life, I applaud them for taking these steps — because I could never do it.
Sure, the possibility of waking up in the morning without a headache, or any other obvious signs of caffeine dependency, sounds delightful. It might even sound like heaven to some.
But what about the old saying about not knowing what ‘good’ is until you’ve seen the ‘bad’? What could possibly be better than the smell of freshly brewed coffee in the morning, or afternoon caffeine fixes when you’ve struck out during an assignment? The warmth you’re filled with as you sip that hot liquid full of ephemeral productivity and energy?
Coffee might come in all shapes and forms, and I am not about to call out anyone who enjoys sipping on caramel frappuccinos throughout the year, but fellow coffee connoisseurs will attest to the fact that those unicorn drinks never satiate us. To put it plainly: coarse and black, or don’t even bother.
Graphic by @sundaeghost