This essay originally aired on September 7, 2016.
Everyone has a Sunday morning tradition. Growing up, mine started at 8:00 a.m., give or take a few snoozes of my alarm. I’d hop out of bed, usually wearing a giant T-shirt that hung down to my knees. Then I’d run downstairs to the kitchen and pick a mug. I’d cross my fingers, hoping to get the blue one with “Stowe, Vermont” printed on the front, but often that first-rate mug was claimed by my mom or the dishwasher. So, I’d usually settle for a tan, kid-sized cup that read “Hot cocoa! Hot cocoa! Hot cocoa!” My kid self always thought: “Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.” I believe in coffee.
In my mug I’d pour 1 part coffee and 10 parts milk. Then I’d enjoy my superbly adult drink next to my dad while watching Sunday morning news programs. He’d read his paper, and I’d nod my head pretending to understand politics. I’d say I was pretty convincing when I synchronized my sips with his.
Now, looking back, those Sunday mornings were some insane foreshadowing brewing in the pot. I’m now in my 20’s, and I’m the coffee-breathed, aspiring journalist I never thought I’d become. Coffee and current events are some of my main food groups.
Coffee has also proven useful to me physically. I’m a headachy person, always have been. And caffeine is one of the major ingredients in most over-the-counter headache medicines. Espresso or Excedrin? I’ll take the one that smells and tastes like warmth. The caffeine in coffee is also said to boost metabolism, which burns fat. That’s GREAT because I rarely exercise these days.
It seems like whenever a bad health finding about coffee pops up, a good one isn’t too far behind. Take for example, the teeth thing. Sure, coffee can leave stains. But some scientists say the antioxidants help offset gum disease. Besides, as an avid 3-cups-daily drinker, I’ve accepted the semi-permanent coat my teeth wear.
As I’ve gotten older, coffee has taken on a whole new meaning. I don’t drink it to pretend I’m grown up. I drink it to keep me going while I’m actually growing up. I’ve got emails to answer and stories to write and trains to catch, all accompanied by a large cup of coffee.
My best cups are still poured on the Sundays when I’m back home in Pittsburgh, trading sections of the newspaper with my dad. He still explains plenty of headlines to me, especially if they concern healthcare. It may sound bland, but these mornings are still the greatest comfort I know. Since I’m in Massachusetts for college most of the year, they’re few and far between. When I can make it, extra sugar is in order.
Only when I struggle to fall asleep at night due to my caffeine habit, do I think about cutting back. But then the morning comes again. And there’s only one thing that can motivate me to get out of bed. I believe in coffee.
DeGregorio was an intern at WPSU-FM this summer.