It’s a lifestyle. Assume I’m exaggerating? Picture mugs littering your room – two on the desk, one on the windowsill, a few on the shelves and even a straggler in the sock drawer (don’t question it). Study notes flaunt warped, brown edges and coffee rings, and stain remover is a staple that runs out too fast. The alarm clock is set 15 minutes early to account for the required meditative sipping time, and mints and gum lurk in every corner and purse to conceal the inevitable odor. And on top of it all exists the stubborn conviction that, no, caffeine does not run my life.
Well, I have news for you – it does. But what more benevolent and rewarding a dictator could you ask for?
If you have yet to experience the love/hate relationship that is caffeine dependency, allow me to provide step-by-step instruction on how it begins – and if you're a fellow captive to this omnipresent temptress, then the following should sound very familiar.
Step 1: First Exposure
For the real newbies, this is that anticlimactic moment when you taste your first caramel latte, cappuccino or iced mocha. Words of reverence from the world’s coffee fanatics echo in the back of your mind, whispering tales of enlightenment achieved upon this sip of earthly nectar. All you taste, though, is an excess of sweet syrup or foam making a failed attempt at masking the wince-worthy bitterness of espresso. Patience, grasshopper – only those who are truly gifted enjoy palates that can immediately recognize such a delicacy.
Step 2: Resilience
Convinced that you must be missing something (which you are), you find yourself at the Starbucks drive-thru the very next week, despite having sworn off all attempts to acquire such a cash-depleting habit (well, can’t argue the facts). Although you order a completely different beverage, it tastes the same as your first experience. Still, in the months that follow, you begin soliciting sips of friends’ drinks, being drawn to the macchiato on the menu at your favorite place for lunch, even noticing an almost imperceptible craving for a frappuccino instead of a smoothie on a hot day.
Step 3: Economization
You’re officially hooked. The barista knows your name. You’re running out of menu items – and money. Not yet ready for black coffee, Lindsey the long-term employee introduces the gateway drug: an Americano with a pump of white chocolate. Realizing you can buy two of these for the price of one of your hazelnut lattes, you’re satisfied.
Step 4: How Did This Happen?
You’ve gone rogue: invested in a coffeemaker, only to sell it a few weeks later to an unsuspecting victim as you discover the French press, a more authentic (yet undeniably high maintenance and posh) method of brewing. Maybe you take cream, maybe you leave it black. All you really know is your day is incomplete without it, as one cup becomes two becomes five.