The Art of Coffee

They say “America runs on Dunkin’,” but personally, I believe that the the statement can be simplified to, “America runs on coffee.” As a college student, coffee has propelled me through my busiest days. Midterms and finals weeks are nothing that a cup of coffee cannot handle. As a frequent customer in local Starbucks stores, I am drawn to the experience of ordering a coffee and completing my work in a quiet and aesthetically-pleasing atmosphere. As I write my thesis, I find myself drawing creative inspiration from the atmosphere of a coffee shop. There seems to be an element of creativity found in a cup of coffee itself– through the creation and personalization of a cup of joe.

The creation process is something most baristas can testify to, as everyone makes even the same drinks a little differently. Again, as a frequent flier, I can taste the difference when Jess makes my drink verses when Kiana makes my drink (especially since I am extremely boring and shift between the same three drinks). These differences are not bad, it is just simply a creative difference. In some cases, especially in local coffee shops, the concept of latte art adds an aspect of creativity. These talented baristas are now adding a personal touch of practically drawing on a cup of coffee. In many of the stores that I frequent, there is usually some sort of barista-created coffee available, where a barista creates a new flavor by mixing different ingredients and creating their own unique drink that is not a part of the daily menu. Some people recognize that the baristas are in fact, coffee experts. I have seen some people order “whatever you recommend” and very few have regretted trusting the baristas with their order. As my sister works as a barista, I have found some of my favorite drinks from her recommendations. Often times when I pick up my order from the counter, people ask me what it is because it does not look like anything on the menu.

The idea of personalizing a cup of coffee is similar– no one is bound to ordering strictly from the menu. Even if someone chooses to order from the menu, the way that people prepare their coffee is extremely different. My best friend drinks her coffee near white– a perfect concoction containing far more creamer, milk, and sugar than actual coffee. On the other hand, my husband will only drink his coffee black. The closer the cup of coffee is to straight espresso, the happier he is. My personalization of coffee depends on what I need within the moment, as the day dictates my order. At times, I have ordered straight espresso. I can count the number of times I have drank espresso straight on one hand, but that isn’t to say that it has not happened. My go to order is a violet drink. This drink is a Starbucks special– the Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher with coconut milk. When the Starbucks birthday reward rolls around, I order this in a trenta with light ice and no shame. The refreshers are a form of “green caffeine;” derived from unroasted coffee beans, according to At Home Starbucks.

The entirety of the coffee process is art– from the creation to the personalization of the drink, as there is a wide array of possibilities. Let coffee, like art, be the expression of oneself, and, at times, let it save the busy day.

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