My First Cup of Coffee

The year is 1960 and I am 7 years old. It’s 6:00 am on another cold, snowy Brooklyn morning. I hide under the covers, hoping for the no-school horn, but it never sounds. As usual, my father has to drag me out of bed so that I can make the long, dark walk to the school bus. My father is a man of few words, so we sit at the kitchen table with its faded flowered tablecloth and chew our toast in silence. Our breakfasts are identical toasted white bread from the Polish bakery, cream cheese and prune preserves, except there is one difference, he has a cup of steaming coffee. By my current standards, it’s pretty poor stuff.

But on that long ago morning, I can sniff out the intrinsic aroma of the beans. Even though he percolated the beans to death, the curls of fragrant steam tweak my nostrils. Coffee ignites something within me—every morning I politely whine that I must have some.

Unfortunately, the common belief of the day is that coffee stunts children’s growth. My father subscribes to this belief and has denied me my desire up to now. Suddenly he looks at my sleep bleared face and takes pity on me-“Oh, what the hell,” he says, gets up, takes a cup from the cupboard and fills it from the percolator. He dumps a dose of milk into the coffee, (to lessen his guilt I suppose), then hands the cup to me. Whatever aromatic oils or caffeine are left in these poor wretches of beans fill my senses and I am forever hooked.

Whether you’re a daydreamer or a creative striver, coffee is your muse.

That’s why, since 1987, I have devoted myself to the pursuit of providing coffee to everyone who comes my way. Consider the depth and breadth of such an undertaking—the buying, roasting, and cupping; the cooking of culinary accompaniments and last, but most important, the building and servicing of the almighty coffeehouse. I love coffeehouses because they are where we fuel up, exchange ideas, people watch, and hopefully get a little warmth—every single day.

Of course, in the end, it’s not really the coffee at all; it’s what your brain does on it. With coffee, all things are possible.