Growing up, my dad always had coffee in hand. Each morning, he would shuffle down the hallway, his eyes barely open, boil water and wait. Then, gingerly, he would add it to his heaping teaspoon of instant coffee that had been plopped at the bottom of his overly loved cup. Milk, no sugar, strong — perfect.

I, on the other hand, couldn’t swallow the stuff, and I was not one of the 83 percent of American adults who consumed the popular drink. I managed to make it through college, waitressing late nights, grad school and the terrible toddler years times two boys without it, until I was pregnant with my third son. Now, I know, I know — coffee and pregnancy don’t really mix, but, when you are a pregnant momma craving something you couldn’t stand your whole life, you give in (decaf of course).

And, that was that; I was hooked. They know my order at Starbucks. In fact, I even had my own drink for a bit … grande iced coffee, half and half, and two raw sugars, melted at the bottom (raw sugar doesn’t melt as easy in cold coffee, and there is nothing worse than chewing your coffee sugar with a client). I’ve weaned off the sugar, but I am now one of those Americans who consume an average of three cups a day, which averages to about 587 million cups, according to a USA Today report. So, what is it about this dark, rich drink that has all of us hooked? Could it be that we are a culture of over doers, overachievers and workaholics who so often push the barriers of no return that we need to find the only legal and logical course of energy? Or, is there something powerful about walking up to a counter and having the choice to order anything you want for a relatively low investment? Is it just the perfect partner for doughnuts, the newspaper, a meeting with friends or a rainy day? Or, have we become so addicted to the 95 grams of caffeine that sits in a typical cup that we can’t seem to function without it? It’s probably a combination of all of these factors.

Somehow, we have become a culture so fixated that we plan our routes and days around our neighborhood coffee house. So, as I type this, grande iced coffee nestled next to the phone, I will leave you with one question … room for cream and sugar?

Coffee

By Nicole Irving