I never was a coffee person. The only time in my life I consumed coffee was when I spent late nights studying in the library as an undergrad, and that was only a couple of times a year. Apart from that I’d avoid coffee like the plague, even on the rare occasion we were socializing at a coffee shop. Apart from the horrible taste, I was disgusted by the amount of sugar that goes into these drinks to make them palatable.
It is interesting to note that my lack of affection for hot caffeinated beverages is not cultural. India, where I have spent more than half my life is a tea addicted nation, courtesy of the British occupation. Europe and the US, where I have spent the rest of my life are heavy coffee drinkers. Spain, where I currently reside, is a coffee loving country. According to data from a study in 2013, Spain, on average, consumes 3 kilograms of coffee per capita annually, putting it in the top 25 coffee consuming countries in the world. Topping that list is Finland, with 9.6 kilograms per capita.
In any case, my point is I have never been much of a coffee drinker. Neither in my personal life, nor my professional life. I considered it a good thing, and even a matter of pride, that I was not addicted to these drinks. But recently, I came to discover a dirty little secret. After years of turning down colleagues’ invitations to join them for a morning coffee, one day I said: “Okay, why not?”
Since that day, I haven’t looked back and have made it a point to incorporate myself into the morning coffee ritual at the office. Why, you must be wondering. What is this dirty little secret I stumbled upon that has made me change something that I haven’t changed in over 30 years?
What I discovered is that drinking coffee is about much more than just drinking coffee. It is about starting off your day together with your colleagues. It is about catching up on what is going on, not just in your colleagues’ lives, but also at work. It is about finding out about the goings-on of the office. Sometimes it even results in unexpected conversations with people in the office you don’t normally see, or as in my case, with teams you formally worked with but don’t anymore. It makes you feel like a part of the office and to a certain extent even cements that feeling of camaraderie and belonging.
In conclusion, I still don’t like caffeinated drinks, but I have started to consume them in modicum, more so for everything they represent, than for the drinks themselves.
I’d like to clarify that the coffee I drink is without adding sugar, and in a very small cup (that I rarely finish). It’s really more about simply being part of the ritual.