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Coffee, Tea, Hot Chocolate?

My morning ritual is making coffee: a café latte for Jennifer, a black pour-over for myself. It’s especially delicious, these bright sunny mornings, the blue sky, the birdsong, the clouds tinged a delicate pink. And the smells and sounds of the coffee-making.

It’s a way of ordering the mind, an awakening, a meditative and pleasurable task with each step. And there’s the reward of those blissful first sips: savouring the taste, the fruitiness, the acidity, the aroma, the warmth.

I know people who are equally devoted to making tea in the morning. We may do it for similar reasons; the steps move toward the same end. The tastes are different, but the pleasures are identical.

There is nothing mystical in this. You’re present when pouring water, observing the process, timing things well … making a beautiful cup of coffee or tea.

How it tastes and feels

I’m reminded of a poem by the U.S. poet Andrea Hollander. “Ex” is about hot chocolate. It isn’t about the rituals of making it or how it ushers us from sleep in the morning. But the words the poet uses to describe hot chocolate’s flavour have a significance far greater than how it tastes and feels on her tongue.

In the poem, a woman and an ex-lover run into each other in the street. It’s been years since they’d separated. They’re amazed to see each other and decide to duck into a café to catch up on their lives. She orders a hot chocolate. What he orders doesn’t matter.

In the years since they parted ways, they’ve each married other people. The ex-lover’s marriage is not so happy, and he wants to tell the woman all the ways it is imperfect. The woman, on the other hand, is uninterested. She’s too busy noticing how delicious her hot chocolate is.

It isn’t what she usually orders in a café. She describes the hot chocolate as “your drink.” It’s “dark and dense the way you take it.”

Paying attention to the use of personal pronouns, you gather there are three people at the table: the woman, her ex-lover, and the woman’s current husband, who is invisible. But he’s all she’s thinking about.

Three at the table

Ex

By Andrea Hollander

Long after I married you, I found myself
in his city and heard him call my name.
Each of us amazed, we headed to the café
we used to haunt in our days together.
We sat by a window across the panelled room
from the table that had witnessed hours
of our clipped voices and sharp silences.
Instead of coffee, my old habit in those days,
I ordered hot chocolate, your drink,
dark and dense the way you take it,
without the swirl of frothy cream I like.
He told me of his troubled marriage, his two
difficult daughters, their spiteful mother, how
she’d tricked him and turned into someone
he didn’t really know. I listened and listened,
glad all over again to be rid of him, and sipped
the thick, brown sweetness slowly as I could,
licking my lips, making it last.

Copyright © 2011 by Andrea Hollander from Landscape with Female Figure: new and selected poems, 1982-2012 (Autumn House Press, 2013).

By the end of the poem, you may see that the words she uses to describe hot chocolate are also for her husband: sipping “the thick, brown sweetness slowly as I could, licking my lips, making it last.”  

A lucky man he is!


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Morning coffee ritual, Saturday morning. Drinking Moving Coffee, eating Happy Monk Sprouted Einkorn Sourdough bread, and spending a lot of time setting up this photo. Thanks for the coffee tip, @jomosenpai, it’s really good!
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#coffeelover #coffee #pourovercoffee #pourover #coffeetime #coffeelover  #coffeecoffeecoffee #ceramiccoffeecup #ceramiccoffeemug #coffeeaddict #einkornsourdough #einkornbread #einkornsourdoughbread #einkornbaking

Morning coffee ritual, Saturday morning. Drinking Moving Coffee, eating Happy Monk Sprouted Einkorn Sourdough bread, and spending a lot of time setting up this photo. Thanks for the coffee tip, @jomosenpai, it’s really good!
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#coffeelover #coffee #pourovercoffee #pourover #coffeetime #coffeelover #coffeecoffeecoffee #ceramiccoffeecup #ceramiccoffeemug #coffeeaddict #einkornsourdough #einkornbread #einkornsourdoughbread #einkornbaking
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It’s been a long time since I baked with Einkorn flour, the most ancient of the ancient grains. It’s called “Farro Piccolo” in Italian, or ‘little farro’. A later variety of Einkorn is called “Farro Grande” (large farro)… otherwise known as Spelt. (Einkorn left, Spelt right) Here endeth the lesson. 
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#einkorn #einkorngrain #einkornbread #einkornbaking #tasteofeinkorn #spelt #speltgrain #speltflour #ancientgrain #ancientgrains #ancientgrainbaking #ancientgrainflours

It’s been a long time since I baked with Einkorn flour, the most ancient of the ancient grains. It’s called “Farro Piccolo” in Italian, or ‘little farro’. A later variety of Einkorn is called “Farro Grande” (large farro)… otherwise known as Spelt. (Einkorn left, Spelt right) Here endeth the lesson.

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#einkorn #einkorngrain #einkornbread #einkornbaking #tasteofeinkorn #spelt #speltgrain #speltflour #ancientgrain #ancientgrains #ancientgrainbaking #ancientgrainflours
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1 thought on “Coffee, Tea, Hot Chocolate?

  1. 5 a.m.
    A beautiful story. Thank you for sharing. I read and muse as morning dawns over the water, birds trill their joy to be alive and vigorous another day and the coffee is just right.

    Leslie Knight

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