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May 22, 2017 | by  | in Opinion |
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Coffee Thoughts

According to the NZ History website, “Wellington’s café culture is today an integral part of its identity as a city.” It’s true, everyone in this city seems to love coffee and we have an ample amount of cafes to keep the love brewing. I have been aware of this for as long as I have lived in Wellington, but I never cared or wanted to join in on the coffee love. I didn’t care because coffee is bitter and yuck.

I resisted the pull of Wellington’s coffee culture for six strong years before caving; I feel like I am late to the coffee game. In the short period of time that I have been drinking coffee I have become aware that people have a complicated relationship with their coffee. They need it and they love it, but they also hate it and don’t want it. I am starting my very own complicated relationship with coffee and I am unsure if I want to keep it up, but it seems like consciously I’m having less and less say in the matter the more coffee I drink.

This summer I drank a sweet milky cold brew out of curiosity because it seemed to be the hip drink of the summer and I wanted to be hip. It helped me talk to people and it made me faster and more productive. I remember thinking “is this how people feel everyday?!” I had to wander round town feeling giddy and weird a few times before I had calmed down enough to be able to drive home. It was horrible, but I kept drinking it, and now I drink it almost everyday.

I feel like a baby entering this new world of coffee. I don’t even really know if I like coffee, and I am trying to work out whether or not I should continue my relationship with coffee; here are my thoughts so far.


Do I even like coffee?


Being a coffee drinker is like having horrible a crush on someone. It sucks, you think you hate it but also you love it. When you have coffee you are thinking about your feelings toward it, and when you don’t have coffee you are thinking “maybe I should have a coffee.”


How do I order a coffee? How do I know the barista is not judging me for my coffee order? There seems to be a lot of rules when it comes to ordering a proper coffee. Is it worth learning these rules? I used to get really nervous going into a “serious” coffee shop. There are some parts of Wellington coffee culture that seem weird and elitist. Even though I know heaps of lovely people who are really into coffee, that vibe still exists and I still feel uncomfortable sometimes in coffee shops.


I get so much more done when I have a coffee. Will I be more successful if I continue to have it? There is a scene in Fern Gully that I sometimes think about when thinking about coffee. The wise grandma fairy gives the young plucky fairy the glowing magical seed, and she says, “every seed holds the magic and power for creation, so too do you.” And then the plucky fairy goes on to conquer her demons, trap the villain in a tree, and be the hero she truly was all along. I think the old fairy was talking about coffee and that the glowing magic seed was actually a coffee bean.

Coffee breath makes me think people are tired. I remember being young and smelling coffee on my parents’ breath, I remember thinking that it smelt like they were tired. I have smelt my own coffee breath and it makes me feel gross and sad.


I can really relate to the legend of how coffee was discovered. An Ethiopian man named Kaldi saw some goats doing some really intense frolicking in the field. He looked at them and thought, what the heck, why are these goats so filled with energy? This is how I used to look at people who drank coffee.

Kaldi saw that these goats were eating some berries on a bush and he decided to try these berries to see what would happen. Kaldi ate these berries and he suddenly understood the goat’s energy. I am like Kaldi. I tried the berries on the bush and now I am part of the frolicking goat herd. It is nice to not feel left out.


A big reason I had my first few coffees is because it seemed funny. Coffee is funny. It is funny to drink coffee. I am funny when I drink coffee, and it feels good to be funny.


Coffee is not funny when you are alone all day. It is like a really unreliable friend; really helpful one moment, and then the next making you doubt every decision you have ever made.


It is nice to remember that coffee has always made people happy and has been part of human routine for a long time. It is also comforting to know that coffee has always made people feel weird and conflicted. Feeling like you are taking part in a regular human activity is reassuring.


These are my thoughts to add to Wellington’s vast collection of articles about coffee. I still think coffee is bitter and yuck but I will probably continue to drink it now that I have started.

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