I think people learn to drink coffee when they are children.
Mama always had a pot of coffee percolating on the stove. She had so many children to wrangle and by her own confession, she drank eighteen cups of coffee while she was pregnant with me, her eighth child.
Mama took her coffee black. She poured it without a caffeine quiver to her hand. Recently brewed, piping hot, she gulped it down. Friends and neighbors - kitchen friends - would take their poured cup of coffee and go to the sink, open the tap and add an inch or so of water to bring the brew to a more drinkable state. Mama and her kitchen company would lean on the stainless steel counters and chat while the dog and I sat on the floor, cozy and comfortable with our pack leader.
By the time I was a teenager, the cups of coffee were mugs of coffee.
“Good coffee doesn’t need sugar.”
I tasted the dark, let the steam fog my glasses.
“Who needs the extra calories?”
Caffeine pumped into my body already accelerated with adolescence. I eyed mama, lipstick on the rim of her mug. I measured the woman who bore me, so many, and so much. Her curved arthritic hands slid up and down the mug. She caught me.
“Tastes good and keeps your mitts warm!”
I gripped my mug tighter and let one hand glide down the burning side of the blue and white mug. A bit too hot for young hands, the brew a bit bitter, but I knew I would grow into it. I smiled.