It’s 3 o’clock in the afternoon, and I am one with my kindred kind in this cafe, hunched over a laptop and absentmindedly sipping from a deliciously cold giant cup of mocha. There really is nothing like a great cup of coffee. Although I have to admit; coffee is an expensive habit, especially for one as addicted as I am. For a girl who relishes in bargain treasures and refuses to spend more than ten dollars on foundation, it can be pretty difficult to justify this lifestyle.
Because when you’ve fallen for something, when that small hook tugs at your heartstrings, there really is no other logical follow up action but to get more of it.
Instant coffee was a staple in my home; I practically learned how to make coffee for my parents before I even knew how to tie my own shoelaces. (In my defense, shoelaces are tricky beings.) Being a curious child, I tried the coffee one day on a whim, and wondered if my parents had been lying to me this whole time when they said they loved the coffee I made for them, as I spluttered and struggled to get rid of the bitterness. My formative years of schooling were devoid of any coffee consumption from then on. In the first two years of university, all the caffeine I needed pretty much came from guzzling Coca-Cola and Red Bull.
It really wasn’t until I went for a training with my colleague as we spent two weeks together in Kuala Lumpur in the summer of 2013 that I would encounter coffee once again. Our newfound friends cheerfully introduced us to cafe hopping, as well as the late night ‘Mamak’ culture. For some reason, we’d agreed to a small cup of hot latte for a nightcap at the third cafe we had ended up after dinner, and were treated to the most sleepless night we could have ever dreamed up. Except those long hours were real and we miraculously survived the next day on merely two hours of restless, caffeine-laden sleep. And yet, a seed was planted. Or perhaps more accurately, a bean.
However, as someone with a sweet tooth and formidable long-term memory abilities, getting over my own less-than-stellar first experience wasn’t easy. I started with a mocha drink, because everything goes with chocolate, right? And over a lot of experimentation as I figured out what my taste buds liked and vehemently rejected, I came to realise that my interest in coffee was an investment in of itself.
Even as I’m typing this with a drink that’s slowly warming, I don’t claim to be a connoisseur of the much-beloved beverage. Neither can I say that I’ve tried any infamous coffees like the highly-raved (and highly priced) ‘Kopi Luwak’, which is made from partly digested coffee cherries eaten and subsequently defecated by the Asian palm civet. Perhaps I’ll have enough courage to try it one day. At the moment, I cannot even stomach a straight espresso, but maybe I will if I find the right one for me.
This conversion was gradual, painstaking, and of the heart. My tolerance of the effects slowly built up as I grew accustomed to drinking coffee regularly. And yet, even as my tolerance increased, so did my desire to know and partake in more flavours, the unknown nuances that I had yet to come across. Familiarity breeds contempt? I don’t ascribe to that notion. Because when you’ve fallen for something, when that small hook tugs at your heartstrings, there really is no other logical follow up action but to get more of it.
And that’s really how it should be in other areas of life. You can only fall deeper in love with something when you are genuinely interested in it. Perhaps a mild obsession with coffee isn’t the best metaphor for advice about overcoming relationship obstacles, or hurdles in your career, or a distance from the Almighty One. And yet, it sort of makes sense, doesn’t it? That first sip as your tongue encounters a new world. That first look as your eyes meet. That first note of satisfaction as you complete a difficult task. The first time you truly felt at peace in the presence of God. And it’s possible to relive those experiences over and over again.
All it takes is a bit of effort, practice, and maybe a friend or two to share some coffee together.