My Daily Devotional ton•ic (ˈtɒn ɪk) n.

1. a medicine that invigorates or strengthens.
2. anything invigorating physically, mentally, or morally.

Today it is 6.56 am when the first hot splash of coffee hits my insides and slides down with a warming hello. I cradle my tiny cup, and have a look at the bubbles that congregate at the bottom of my vessel like a tea leaf reader looking for patterns that will map out my future. Come on coffee, enlighten me; or bring me to a state of awareness at least.

karibu-post-photoNo, no gypsy secrets here — I have a high degree of certainty that the future is brighter — the immediate future at least — for having had that cup. No interpretations necessary. That’s my ‘starter coffee’ — the very first, somewhat disorientated cup of the day.

The kickstarter, the game­changer — hey, suddenly this day seems doable; agreeable even. This is the coffee that prepares us for the experience of coffee; when we carefully make our next cup, our mental faculties will have returned, the fog will have cleared, and we will fully be able to appreciate and luxuriate in the art of coffee drinking; rejuvenated.

If I couldn’t, three times a day, be allowed to drink my little cup of coffee, in my anguish I will turn into a shriveled­up roast goat. (Kaffeekantate, JS Bach) Bach knows what I’m talking about — his tongue­in­cheek Coffee Cantata rhapsodizes about his revered thrice­daily tonic ( — oh, yeah, aside from all the religious stuff, Bach did like to have a bit of a laugh). In fact, I believe that all the world’s great thinkers have been highly caffeinated; fuelled and inspired by coffee; their impetus to press on and brew ideas. Furthermore, who can deny that coffee­houses have shaped culture; they have been hubs for the development of intellectual and artistic ideas for centuries — from Enlightenment­era London coffee­houses to Sartre waxing nonchalant about existentialism in Café de Flore, while across the pond Kerouac pours out On The Road in 3 weeks, fuelled by coffee (and maybe a little Benzedrine).

— How do you take your coffee? Very seriously, thanks. I must admit, I’ve always been ever so slightly suspicious of those that don’t drink coffee. I can’t quite pin down why, however.

Maybe because it is such an integral part of my day, that I can’t imagine how people go without; as though they are missing out on an essential activity such as brushing their teeth.


Ode to coffee

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