Last Day

I have given up coffee for a while for Lent. I have no desire to discuss religion, I am not even that religious. But I do have a spiritual side, that makes me give up coffee. Coffee is given up because I know I can, and because it is something that I remember I have given up every day. Thus my relationship with coffee is more than just reaching for a cup first thing in the morning, it is more layered and involved.

My mother actually used to give me coffee in the morning when I was a little girl. Mine had milk, and hers was black. I cannot drink black coffee even to this day it makes me jumpy. When I was a teenager, I drank it because the boy I had a crush on at the time did, coffee with milk–a lot of it–and sugar–a lot of it too. I stopped after I didn’t like the boy anymore. I picked it up again when I was in college, because boys always bought coffee for me when we would sit in the cafeteria to be philosophical like you think you are when you are in college.

I never made a decision to have a cup of coffee because I wanted it on my own, just had a desire for it until I was out of college. It was then I would end up in a cafe to have coffee. I liked it at that point large, with half and half and a ton of sugar. Once in a Starbucks, someone said I liked a little coffee with my cream and sugar. There is a dear cafe in Brooklyn called The Tea Lounge, that made Turkish lattes…I bow to that greatness. I drank coffee at this point more as not a social thing, but something I did while writing. Coffee meant my solitude.

The decision to give it up was made because I just felt like it seemed like something to give up, to build character. To say I can do this. I cannot remember really giving anything up when I was in Catholic school, but this decision was made as an adult and I have stuck to it. One torturous year, I was drinking coffee with multiple shots of espresso, lost track of Lent and had a headache for the whole of it. To be clear, I do not give up caffeine, just coffee and coffee-flavored things. But not even cups and cups of black tea could soothe the headache I had for the entire of Lent.

This year was not so bad, I was very disciplined. I am not a cheater, if I say I am not going to do something I don’t. I will not waver in my decision, I am very faithful…There have been some points where I just drank water because any thought of another tea or chai made me almost nauseous.

My chosen cup tomorrow, I have not decided yet. There will likely be two. Half and half has been replaced with soy milk–which I learned how to say in French during my last trip to Paris–and I might add a flavored syrup but no sugar. I like simple cafe au laits for the most point, no weird concoctions. Half the time I even choose decaf. I like the flavor of coffee, the mug or take-away cup held between my hands warm, the warm fluid savored on my tongue for its every nuance and its warming me inside as it goes down. In the summer, I can be prone to milky iced coffee if it is really hot, then I like its cool sensation best on my tongue.

Knowing I give up coffee for 46 days every year (it looks so little when I type it, but feels so big when I do it), makes every bit I have over the rest of the year feel precious and almost exotic. I will hopefully be sipping a cup tomorrow, and not even feel like I missed a day…

photo by f dot leonora



  1. I started drinking coffee when I was a little girl, too, always with cream and sugar because that’s how my dad drank his. Reading this brought back so many sweet memories.

  2. Giving up coffee doesn’t have to be a religious experience. In your case it seems more like mindfulness. That’s a good thing. I’m such a coffee snob I have to grind my own beans and I won’t drink it if it’s not fresh. I have always been a cream guy though. Coffee is best with something sweet and buttery. My mouth was watering when you were describing the cinnamon rolls the other day. I have pretty much parted ways with the daily doughnut. I do have my most creative surges when the caffeine and blood sugar levels are rising.

    1. for me it is definitely connected with religion, but i don’t really like to have religious conversations. to
      me that should be private. i’m not such a coffee snob but i like it a certain way and if it is not that way i cannot deal. coffee can stand alone for me, i don’t need anything with it…i cannot wait for tomorrow…btw we still have leftover buns at my desk at work…

      1. Left over sticky buns are down on the list for me. Fresh is the best. I grew up a block away from an old fashioned bakery. My dad always had a buck, if I would run and get us a couple of long johns.

        Tomorrow I’ll be feeding my black jelly bean jones.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s