They told me that when I first began university that it was inevitable; I was doomed to be a coffee-drinker. “Accept your fate, Caitlin,” they would say. “You’re going to need that brown nectar to survive the next few years.”
But I resisted it for all it was worth. I didn’t like the way its bitter flavour would nip at my tongue or the way one tiny sip would pollute my mouth for upwards of an hour after. I especially didn’t like the dependency that it plagued people with.
And I sure showed them. Coffee doesn’t get you through those long all-nighters and assignments that every college student seems to pull. You know what does? Time management. That’s right. I made it all the way through and maintained a bedtime of 10:30pm. This girl needs sleep, not coffee.
My very first cup of it was in Nice, France. My cousin and I were backpacking Europe, and we had woken up at 3:00 that morning to catch our flight from Amsterdam. When we arrived at our AirBnB far too early, our host was gracious to take us in, let her on her private verandah and provide us with a coffee and croissant. I didn’t want to reject her kindness, so I accepted the coffee.
That was the moment my life changed forever.
Maybe it was the running through downtown Amsterdam at a terrifyingly early hour that did me in. Maybe it was the exhilaration of landing in a Mediterranean paradise that built me up. Maybe it was the fact that the coffee flowing in that white mug was truly and actually an elixir from another magical realm. Whatever it was, it was precious enough to convert me. I became one of them. I became a coffee-drinker.
With the ecstatic encouragement of my coffee-obsessed fiancé (now husband!), I learned to draw from the power of a good ‘cuppa joe’ and channel it’s cognitive-enhancing energy into productivity.
There’s a Bridgehead coffee shop right across the road from the apartment I recently moved from, and when I returned from my trip to Malawi and began my book, it quickly became part of my morning routine. My alarm would sing to me at 6:00am, and I’d be at the shop fifteen minutes later, notebook in one hand, coffee in the other. An hour and a half would cruise by before I had to scurry off to my job.
That creative hour was my favourite time of every day. I became a Bridgehead regular – I knew the baristas, I made friends with the other regular cafe visitors, I even earned my right to a free refill every so often. When I moved from the city, one of my morning Bridgehead coffee friends even gave me a going-away gift.
All the while, I managed to keep the coffee stains off my notebooks and pens. As the desire for that morning brain-brew grew, so my creative juices flowed. I never thought that my book would contain an acknowledgement to coffee of all things, but alas, here we stand.
I must have had over a thousand cups between my trip to Malawi and all the pages of my book. Though I was resistant at first, I humbly admit my error as I proudly say that coffee is one of the reasons I can announce that my book is finally complete!
It’s far from available to purchase (it must first stagger through the long road of publishing), but the sentences are down, the chapters are complete, and the stories are captured.
There’s so many things to be thankful for in this process, but I will be the first to say that coffee is certainly one of them.