I didn’t just love coffee. I had a complete physical and mental connection to it that was unbroken, except for a few attempts at letting it go, from teenage grunge perspectives, all the way through every path I have taken in my adult life. It was something to celebrate small achievements. It was there when I started making art. It was there in moments of sadness. It permeated my body and created a warm glow in the early morning, and later on, into the early evening. It was a way to break up my day. I measured time around it. It was one of my favorite things, ever. That sounds like hyperbole, but it is not. Coffee was life.
But in recent years, I have been consistently asked to let it go. I always just ignored it. Coffee is, as everyone knows who has anxiety, just not good for you. It makes you really anxious, and even with its benefits, I just had to let it go. I accepted the fact that it would be a deep period of mourning. Maybe I should have a funeral for it. I could take a Starbucks cup (seriously, as much of it as I consumed, I never was a connoisseur.) and take it to a graveyard, invite some friends, and maybe read a poem. It might also serve as a way to remind me of the realities of all of the plastic I created by my addiction, all of the energy consumed by all of the coffee makers and espresso machines in unison. Hundreds of Baristas could come gather around, and solemnly watch as I laid the plastic cup into a small mausoleum, with a stone mermaid watching over it for the next thousand years. I could take one last double shot of espresso, then run around a little while, and then with boundless, temporary energy, run out of the cemetery and into the busy streets of everyday life. Letting go of the past, and moving into life, from death.
Mermaids are in interesting choice for a logo. What exactly does it mean? I don’t really care about what it’s supposed to do or its history. While I am a deep researcher, I am more interested in how I have just come to blindly accept its presence. But it’s always been there, offering a reality of unification of the earth and sea, trapped between the everyday and the sublime, the vastness of the ocean and the specificity of modern life. Half fish, half human, smiling calmly, like the indescribable benevolent smile of a buddha. It came in many forms. Green on white, backlit though electricity, remixed in designs in many different ways marking the seasons, cultural identifiers, and of course, shining through plastic saying calmly, everything is fine, there is no problem with waste, there is only you, and coffee.
And now that has passed. I found myself alone, but only for a moment. I have always wanted to leave coffee behind. And this time, I really meant it. Everything has its place in time, and it was just time for me to move on. It was time to listen to my doctors. It’s not like losing a loved one, but it is a feeling of loss. But that was for a small moment. I’ll always love the smell of coffee in the morning, but my plan was to switch to tea. And that’s where I am now.
There is a great tea shop, nestled in the emptiness of West Berkeley, that I went to off and on for years. It was a really cool place. But this time I’m looking closely, I want to really figure out what tea means to me, what it means to our culture, and how I can grow with it. It is from this small shop, that I will explore tea to its furthest extent, and write about on this site.