noun: a beverage consisting of a decoction or infusion of the roasted ground or crushed seeds (coffee beans) of the two-seeded fruit (coffeeberry) of certain coffee trees; the seeds or fruit themselves; any tropical tree or shrub of the genus Coffea, of the madder family, especially C. arabica and C. canephora, cultivated commercially.

This is my “C” contribution to the “A to Z Challenge.”

This post is going to be my love affair with coffee in three parts. Enjoy!

I started drinking “coffee” when I was 16 – and the reason I have it in quotes is because, at the time, we didn’t really have coffee at my house – it was instant coffee – the Maxwell House International Cafe French Vanilla I believe (it’s also great as a creamer!). Which is basically this:

That didn’t stop me from drinking it, though. See, in 2000 I didn’t yet know how amazing Starbucks was, and there weren’t exactly any in the town in Iowa where I lived at the time (to my knowledge there still isn’t), so instant coffee it was.

I’m trying to recall when I started drinking actual coffee, but I know for a fact that I did it much more once I started college.

Ah yes, college was a good time for coffee. Early mornings were spent in the skyway outside of the school, picking up a bagel & the largest coffee available.

In fact, there were many days (and nights) that I probably looked a little something like this

and then I inevitably would end up looking like this

but that’s the whole point of college, right? You get addicted to coffee, which is much better than getting addicted to, say, pot or speed or something.

(You’re welcome Mom and Dad!)

Even still, in college, I hadn’t progressed much from the froo-froo drinks – it still had creamer and sugar in it, and it didn’t help that when I started working at a coffee shop in my apartment building I quickly became obsessed with mochas.

Oh my God, the thought of mochas now just makes me want to yak – I don’t think I could drink one now even if I wanted to.

Now we’re gonna enter part two of my love affair with coffee: post-college coffee (AKA office coffee).

That’s right ladies and gentlemen – office coffee. The stuff that could burn a hole in your stomach it’s so strong, but you drink it because by God it’s there and you need it to keep you from being a complete and utter asshat to your coworkers.

Sometimes it’s so weak that it’s BASICALLY water that you just swished some dirt into, but, once again, you drink it so you don’t end up like this

When I started working at Service Ideas, all that changed. See, at Service Ideas, coffee was KIND of a big deal, so they actually cared about the kind of coffee that their staff drank because, well, please let me reference the last GIF I just used.

Soon I started to discover how good coffee could be all on its lonesome – no sugars, no creamer, no artificial sweeteners – just sweet, sweet coffee. How Bean Jesus intended.

Part three is really just a continuation of part two, but it plays out kind of like a bad movie plot where I get so obsessed with coffee that I go on a bit of a bender, and I had to give it up for a while because I was pregnant (which was NOT a good time for me), and then after Seraphina secured her release I was FINALLY able to get back to enjoying one of the few, pure, precious joys in my life.

And I hit that joy HARD.

During my maternity leave, I had a BIT of a habit of running away to get coffee at ANY availability 1) so I could get out of the house and 2) so I could get my DAMN COFFEE BECAUSE I HAD A BABY AND DIDN’T SLEEP AND DON’T JUDGE ME BECAUSE YOU TRY FEEDING A NEWBORN AND BEING A HUMAN BEING WITHOUT CAFFEINE.

It was a dark time…

But it’s better now! I had one of those montages where it was like “you can do it! Limit it to just 3 a day instead of 5,” and then I destroyed something like the Mountain did to that poor guys face on Game of Thrones, but it was okay because no one really died and I eventually curbed my habit to just 2 cups a day, unless it’s the weekend then it’s at least 3, and now that I can work from home a couple days a week I make it myself with my little coffee maker and it’s so domestic and amazing…

But most days it’s still like this

because I have small children.

This took… a bit of a turn. But hey, at least it’s not drugs, am I right?