Students at Vanguard all have a different relationship with coffee: there are the “coffee snobs,” those who simply try out the seasonal drink at Starbucks, those who can only handle “fufu” coffee, and, God forbid, the tea drinkers.
Coffee may seem like a trivial matter, but the way we interact with a normal piece of our lives often reflects a great deal about our character. I believe it is important that we examine the way we interact with the little things and what this could mean about us as people. This is not meant to be some horoscope quiz about “what your drink taste says about you” but rather an introspective approach to our own outlook on life.
Are you a coffee snob? Coffee snobs are usually described as the people that invest a great deal of time and energy into knowing their grounds. If you love knowing where your coffee bean comes from and you can taste the difference between each and every cup, more power to you. There is nothing wrong with being passionate about something. However, it is important to be careful about how you perceive others who do not share this same interest. Applicable to all hobbies, crafts, and trades, we as Christians must be careful: if we allow ourselves to be elevated simply because we know more about something, we become the Pharisees. We must be understanding, compassionate, and helpful to those who are less informed. We must not discriminate against someone because they do not share our interests, even if we cannot fathom how others do not enjoy it as much as we do.
Do you only like coffee when it’s pumpkin or peppermint? There is nothing wrong with only heading to a coffee shop when your favorite seasonal drinks come around for the year. You have no obligation to consume plain, everyday drinks throughout the year, none at all. Yet it is important you remember that those who can stomach espresso, frappuccinos, and lattes all year around are by no means fanatics, and you owe them all due respect. Jokes aside, there are much more serious things in life in which it is easy to be seasonal with. As believers, it is easy to be caught up in the everyday happenings of life, in college, work, friends, and responsibilities. It is increasingly important, therefore, that we commit ourselves to being more than seasonal Christians, where we are reminded of our devotions simply whenever we hear a holiday song or someone asks us what we are thankful for.
Are you more bitter than your coffee? Maybe you need half the drink to be heavy cream, or you keep telling yourself a Java Chip Frap counts, or perhaps you simply have an order so long at Starbucks no one can tell where the coffee will go. Once again, there is nothing wrong with not finding something to your liking; there can be many reasonable explanations. Perhaps you cannot handle the bitter taste of pure coffee, so you find other ways to enjoy its quality. Whatever the case, we live in a world where being salty, shady, and sarcastic is praised. We are taught that being cold and cynical makes you untouchable. Being harsh and cutting means you are powerful; no one can hurt you if you don’t care. It is bizarre how being heartless can be glorified when as followers of Christ we are called to be vulnerable, open and receiving.
Is coffee just not your thing? You might just prefer the experience of steeping your own fresh cup or the palate presented by the tea leaf is just more appealing than that offered by the coffee bean. Either way, it is entirely your choice and your personal taste. There is no shame in not liking coffee, or not liking tea, or not caring much for either. It is important to remember just because someone has different taste than you, that they do not like the same thing as you, that they believe in a different thing than you, they are no less deserving of the love and kindness God has asked of us. Do not allow yourself to get caught up in the differences you have with people and thus treat them as less than we have been called to do.
Honestly, life is much more complicated than coffee, but it can be helpful to use smaller things to understand the greater picture. Someone’s drink preference isn’t their salvation, but who knows, maybe if you focus on loving them unconditionally rather than lecturing and correcting them, they’ll switch to coffee all the same.