I was asked to explain my relationship to coffee by and to a friend.
ON the way to the kitchen I anticipate the smell, the taste and the feeling of the coffee. It is not my first coffee of the day, it will not be my last - but it is one of the most important cups I will fix today. The reason for my walk to the kitchen may be that I finished an important and difficult piece of work, performed a routine and boring act or simply have come in from the cold and wet. It does not matter. This coffee is a celebration of life, of taste and of tactile feeling, the feeling of a hot cup in your hands. This is possibly the most important aspect of this cup of coffee. When I fill the kettle, no - already when I see the kettle sitting there, waiting for me in its black and silver sleekness. Dirt or stains are almost an insult in this moment and have to be removed before I fill the kettle with fresh water. Never previously sitting there water for this cup - no, for this cup it needs to be fresh.
Whilst waiting for the water to boil I wash the mug. It is not precisely a special mug, just the mug I use for all my coffees. It is larger than other mugs and its shape is high rather than wide. I use it for all my coffee cups during the day and one of the things that make it special to me is this particular coffee I am preparing just now. Here and now I do not add the instant powder carelessness, I do not measure the mild absentmindedly or thoughtlessly add the sweeter; here and now I do all this consciously, ritually. I do not save energy by heating the water to only 90 degrees Celsius - but I wait for the beep that tells me that it is boiling. I do not even insist on using the real coffee and the percolator. This coffee is special because of the moment, the meaning I give it - not in any other way and whilst filling the mug I move my face over the steaming ambrosia in anticipation what is to come.
I breathe in the taste, the smell, the emotion of coffee as I fold my hand around the hot mug. This is my guilty pleasure: it is not the coffee, or possibly not only the coffee, I crave. It is the feeling of the hot mug between my hands, the heat that travels through my skin and flesh in a sentiment akin to pain that reaches throughout my whole body and lets my eyes flutter closed. I can feel how the warmth, almost - but only almost- unbreakably hot on the inside of my hands, travels slowly through outwards and inwards at the same time. My whole body tightens at the same time as I lift the mug to my lips and take the first sip. All my senses are engaged in this one second, this one action which I would love to extend to all eternity. It is almost a sexual pleasure - and I am honest enough to admit that it teaches me something about myself I never knew over and over again. The fine line between pleasure and pain my senses love to walk in secret.