I’ve been drinking coffee since I was about 3 years old. Well, “drinking coffee”. When I was a baby we lived in Petaluma. After we moved to where I grew up, every once in a while we’d go to a hardware store there that was owned by family friends- M. Maselli & Sons. (aside: if you watch Mythbusters you may have seen said hardware store. It was one of my favorite places as a kid) Maselli’s had complimentary coffee for its customers (and last I heard, it still does today), and for the coffee was a box of sugar cubes. Now, being kids, my sister and I knew what those were, and we wanted them. My dad however, said the sugar cubes were for the coffee, and if we wanted them we had to have coffee. So he’d give us styrofoam cups with about 3 tablespoons of coffee, a sugar cube, and some cream, and we’d be happy as clams. This went on as we grew up, and by the time my dad took me fishing when I was 11 and we stopped at Maselli’s on the way home, I was up to half a styrofoam cup (ooooh!).
By high school, a cute little coffee shop had opened up in town, and the cool kids with cars would go there before school and show up with the shop’s signature teal and purple cups. Those cups were status symbols. I had my first mocha at that shop my junior year, on my last date with my first love. My senior year, I had home ec first period. Our teacher brought in a coffee pot and let us drink in class from mugs we stored in the class kitchens.
In college, I lived in the campus cafe, studying, doing homework, and playing cards with my friends. My drink of choice was something called an “eye opener”- a shot of espresso in a large coffee.
And of course, having held an array of office jobs as an adult, my morning cup has been enjoyed while going over email, voicemail, and the standard tasks of the morning.
All of this to say, I never really felt like coffee affected me. I had friends who needed coffee to give them that wake-up jolt in the morning, but I just liked the taste. I have to say, that thanks to habits formed early, I drank what my dad called “candy coffee”. Light and sweet. Even the eye-openers in college were laced with a ton of milk and sugar. In college, I could drink a double mocha out with friends at 9pm and go right to bed when I got home. I also mostly only drank coffee during the week once I started working full time- making it at home smacked of effort. I was probably in a bit of denial about the caffeine, as if I went too long without coffee or a soda, I’d get a wicked headache. In the past year or so, the candy coffee has been phased out. I still put milk or cream in my coffee, but I’ve cut it way down and no longer add sugar.
Everyone says your body changes as you get older, and it processes foods differently. Boy howdy. My body has finally decided that caffeine keeps it awake. Sadly, I usually only remember this fact when I’m lying in bed at midnight wondering why I’m not sleepy yet… So much for my late afternoon cup…