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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

The joys of java: why real girls take their coffee black

Published: October 21, 2011
Section: Opinions, Top Stories

Whoever decided that 24 hours was enough for a day was terribly unmotivated or had a particularly cruel sense of humor. (Interestingly, the term nychthemeron is the term for the consecutive 24 hours marked on the calendar as a day, while a “day” is the transitive period of sunlight.) This is why coffee is such a glorious development of civilization. What could be done without it? Very little. A couple hours of productivity, starting at 2 p.m. and ending at about 9 with time for a nap in between.

Coffee is about as close to religious fervor as I come, which is why I become so angry when people blaspheme it. There is a certain kind of person who likes their coffee ending in an “ino” and tasting of something other than brown. Do not trust these folk for they are little girls and probably don’t add much to society.

While espresso has the miraculous ability to produce wakefulness, these creations of fruit syrup, milk and ice only have espresso vaguely waved in their general direction and actually contain very little, and that is sad.

Once, long ago, I sat in a lecture, hiding behind a pair of sunglasses, clutching at a cup of joe. It was 8 a.m. on a Monday. The professor was explaining something about what I imagine was the American government, as that was the title of the class, but at that point I couldn’t really be sure. Someone beside me tried to take the coffee from my hands and I held it tighter, whimpering and snarling intermittently. The villain­—a “friend”—laughed and asked if he could have some. I bared my teeth. He got the picture.

At the end of class, the last two inches had gone cold, and naturally I was now willing to be generous. He drank and the hateful, sappy grin contorted as he spat it back into the cup.

“What the hell is this?”


“It tastes like gutter. What did you put in it?”


“It’s black? This is terrible. Why do you drink this stuff?”

“It allows me life. Why, what do you put in yours?”

“You know those cappuccino machines they have at 7-Eleven? I fill it up halfway with that, and then put in some of the french vanilla flavor and some creamer.”

“… What do you get at Starbucks?”

“I like Frappuccinos.”

“Are you 12?”

He parroted me shrilly, thus confirming my suspicions. I stared at him and he seemed silly and wasteful. So many hours wasted—he probably slept a whole six hours every night. So much of his life spent unconscious.

Some people drink coffee to get started in the morning, some to relax. I drink it because if I don’t I suffer crippling symptoms of withdrawal and frankly no one wants to be around a shouting, manic mess. But a strawberry cream Frappuccino is not coffee, it is a milkshake; that it has become the norm is a little tragic. Society loses when otherwise intensely motivated individuals who could stay up all night and fix the world’s problems go to bed at 8:30, tricked into placation by sugar and such a sad lack of caffeine.

Not to take advantage of the wonder that is coffee, which the Earth has so generously provided, would smack of ingrate and deny our full potential. To create a grotesque mimic of coffee that feigns its effect is even worse.