I love a hot cup of pure, black coffee. On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, I eschew my morning coffee concoction (“bulletproof,” with MCT oil, collagen, and Nutpod creamer) and drink my coffee how I’ve always preferred it. These are my intermittent fasting days, but I never feel like I’m depriving myself when I have a steaming vessel of damn fine coffee in my paw.
I read somewhere that in the Pacific Northwest the cloudy weather makes us crave bitterness: black coffee, dark chocolate, hoppy beers. It’s no wonder that the global coffee empire started here in Seattle in 1971, the same year I was born a few hundred miles away.
When I moved to Seattle in 1990, there was a Starbucks a few blocks down Pine Street from my first apartment. A grande Pike roast felt like a real indulgence for only a buck or two back then. I was used to Folger’s crystals and late night Denny’s brew.
That’s what we did back in the late eighties and early nineties, before I was old enough to go to bars. We went for coffee at 24-hour diners. Goth kids fitting in among the truck drivers and drunks. Sharing fries and living for hours on free refills.
I stopped drinking coffee once, for a tragic year or two. In my mid-twenties, I started having panic attacks. Now, this may have been related to my very brief experimentation with meth. Or it may have been associated with my undiagnosed thyroid dysfunction. Or maybe it was my unresolved childhood trauma bubbling up.
Of course my doctor said to cut out caffeine. At the time, I drank coffee all day work—making fresh pots in the dingy kitchen at my office, or walking over to the little cafe on the corner (with fresh strawberry scones and rich Hungarian mushroom soup). I was on 8-10 cups a day, so I saw the logic and bought some fancy herbal teas.
My thyroid condition was medicated, I stopped taking all stimulants, and I got used to being a tea drinker. Thankfully, my anxiety issues went into remission, and I brought back coffee in the morning, and only in the morning. That was about 25 years ago, and I’ve rarely taken a break from coffee since.
For years, I was an unapologetic Starbucks patron. Every day on my way to work I would grab a coffee (or later, a green tea latte) to drink at my desk. It took me back to the treat of discovering real coffee when I moved to Seattle.
The pandemic changed all that. Working from home now, my morning routine has crystallized: meditation, yoga, shower, brew coffee, journal, drink coffee and write. Coffee is a cornerstone for my day, and a pleasure I feel very little guilt about.
I am addicted, but so what? A few cups of coffee have very little negative impact on my health, and as long as I stop before noon, it doesn’t mess with my sleep. Plus, a dose of a stimulant helps me focus and start my day.