I have decided to remove my self of the “coffee to go community”. It always have been a mystery to me how some people can hold a hot paper cup of coffee on the one hand a smartphone on the other and not only walk and drink at the same time, but occasionally reach to their pockets/handbags/purses and get something out. All of this with out spilling a single drop of coffee, let alone dropping the whole paper cup to the ground.

I love coffee**. As much as I love water, only I’d never swim in the first. Juices, wines, beers, spirits all are also great and have their place in my life, in special occasions, celebrating, mourning, discussing, spending time with friends on a hot day at the beach etc etc. But coffee feels for me perfect in almost any situation. It seems that for me, a good cup of coffee can at least help solving *any* problem, if not “magically” make it go away.
Example: I sometimes get a message from a friend “can you help me with my computer, it doesn’t work. It’s urgent” *
Make a cup of coffee.
Enjoy it.
Focus on the text message.
Send good caffeinated energy to my friend.
Call back.

– Hi, here’s Panos, what’s wrong with your computer?
– Oh nothing, I just restarted and it works again!

It’s magic 😃

A hot cup of coffee in the morning, booting up your system, (a hot cup of coffee over your smartphone or laptop shutting it down, solves a certain type of problems too). A high pressurised double espresso after lunch and preferably right before or after a short nap, to give you energy. The afternoon coffee and cookies break with a mild poured filter coffee. Another espresso after dinner, before the creative night shift starts, or before the next bottle of red wine is opened.
Coffee as an ice breaker, to meet new people, coffee to swallow down the sorrow and absorb the shock of a tragic event, coffee to help you get sober. coffee before and during celebrations and ceremonies to keep the energy. Coffee before the long driving hours after a performance, during learning for the school, while editing, mixing, creating, evaluating, hating-your-own-work, quitting, planning, loving what you did, feeling high, felling low, felling human, felling in love.
Sitting down with a beloved person, over a cup of coffee. Catch up with a friend. Coffee as a supplement in power drinks, coffee as the root of all good and all evil. Espresso, filter coffee, pressed coffee, boiled coffee, cod brew coffee, frappé, ice-coffee, Irish coffee, flavoured coffee.

I woke up early. The jet lag is still playing games. Got out of the house with plenty time to catch the train. I walked by some coffee shops, but despite I had enough time I decided against my wish to get in, sit down and have a proper cup of coffee. Let’s reach the train station first and then…

At the coffee shop in the train station I asked for an “americano”. Which is essentially an espresso shot in a big cup filled up with hot water. Or described in a different way: hot water with coffee flavour. That’s because the coffee shop I stopped by, seems to have all possible flavours and milk alternatives to put into your coffee, except plain simple brewed coffee.
When the person pouring the coffee asked “leave room for milk?” I should have answered yes despite the fact that I don’t like milk. At least not in my coffee or on its own. No milk!
Me not agreeing to “leave room for milk” had me with a cup filled up to top with coffee-water. No room for “balancing”. So I got a thin coffee, in a toped paper cup, and — because this is how I move — I spill some of it on every step, despite the cup-cover. So I am holding a way too hot paper cup with my hand, which hand get’s a small amount of hot coffee running over it while I am moving.
why … why do I do this to myself… So I decide not to move. It helps against the spilling but the cup is still hot. If I could reach that trash bin on the train platform over there maybe I could…
“All Systems Go” says the brain to the body. “F*** you” replies the body to the brain, yet it starts the movement as ordered.
I reached the target. I am by the trash bin. Now I only have to balance my laptop bag which hangs on my right shoulder pushing it back, hold on the cup, remove the cup-cover, and pure some of the coffee into the trash bin. “Hasta la vista baby” says the brain with an almost perfect but not exactly accurate Arnold voice. The body would have loved to shake it’s head in disbelief and embarrassment but .. there is much more at stake here.
Cup-cover is removed. Hot steam is climbing up freely in the air. I could swear I have heard the coffee screaming “Geronimo!” before the next thing happened, but you’d think I’m crazy so I won’t mention it.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw someone approaching. Before I could do anything he accidentally hit my laptop bag, which in turn hit my hand, yes the hot coffee cup holding hand. Coffee swaps out of it and it burns like hell. The peripheral nervous system thinks for a picosecond “idiots” (not sure wether this was in regards to the brain and the body, the other people around, or all humans including me in general) and commands the hand to remove itself from the hot coffee cup, with the explicit order to leave the cup behind. The freed cup does hover for a nanosecond in the middle of the air and then takes the only possible route: down towards the trash bin. The coffee inside the cup had a different opinion though and manage to change the balance of the falling cup so that as soon as it hit the rim of the trash bin most of the coffee sprang out of it… towards my jeans. Hot coffee all over my right leg starting mid thigh (lucky me, could have gone somewhere else) to the knee. I’ll spare you the rest of the story… there’s no coffee-to-go involved in the story from here on.

 It is so much more worth it to wake up a bit earlier to take the time to enjoy a hot cup of coffee in the best places: 
– A coffee shop. Where there is a person in charge of making your coffee. Willing to do an excellent job — not only in order to please the customers but also because she loves her job. Because the smell of a fresh brewed good coffee in itself a great reward is. A coffee shop with a bored, wore out barista is not a natural habitat for coffee. And while we are at it: no paper cups! When in coffee shop, go for porcelain or glass. If not available then change coffee shop.
– Your home. Where you prepare you morning coffee ritual in the same way most of the time. Get the water or start the machine. Open the coffee jar and register the smell, carefully take out some, grinding it if needed, trying not to waste any of the precious powder. Run hot water through it or boil it, leave it the press for a while. And while the hot brewed coffee smell fills the room, start the process of waking up, taking notice of the world around you. And then slowly sip the hot beverage, let it warm you up, push caffeine through your system.
– Your creative space. As an energiser, a special assistant. Watching the hot steam raise while thinking over the next step, then next turn of the story, the next theme of the composition. While sketching, preparing the canvas and most important: while taking a break to relax or reflect on the work done so far.
– Your bed. More precise: , but having coffee in bed. Fresh made by a beloved person, brought to you shortly before you wake up. Have the aroma enter your body before the black fluid warms your throat. Hold the hand of the beloved person while you both drink a warm cup of coffee.

Why in the world would one not want to do any of the above? How did we manage to be always on the run, some of us having a “coffee to go” every morning, while going to work, to school, to run errands. And most of all, why, when this is one of the few luxuries we could easily allow ourselves with very little money investment, do we ignore it and run, hot coffee paper cup in one hand, smartphone on the other, to the subway, the train, the meeting, the lunch break.
I don’t now how to answer these questions for myself. I do know though that I don’t want to do that anymore. I understand the need or value it may have to some. Not to me. I’m out!

*if it is really urgent, I get a call and immediately a second one if I don’t answer the first.

**you can replace coffee with tea if you prefer. 🙂


About the author

Panos Kolias is a film, tv and concert music composer and musician.
He regularly produces cues and other commercial music for major television programs like CBS, ABC and others.
He's a part of the electronic duo DubLion Project and works also as a musician, educator, orchestrator, and technical consultant.
Besides composing for TV and film and composing concert music, he holds a lecturer position at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hamburg, teaching Music Technology and Film scoring courses.

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