the best case this tea drinker has heard for coffee

“When I was a sophomore in college, I drank coffee nearly every evening with my friends Peter and Alex. Even though the coffee was canned; even though the milk was stolen from the dining hall and refrigerated on the windowsill of my friend’s dormitory room, where  it was diluted by snow and adulterated by soot; even though Alex’s scuzzy one-burner hot plate looked as if it might electrocute us at any moment; and even though we washed our batterie de cuisine in the bathroom sink and let it air-dry on a pile of paper towels next to the toilet—even though Dunster F-13 was, in short, not exactly Escoffier’s kitchen, we considered our nightly coffee ritual the very acme and pitch of elegance. And I think that in many ways we were right…

“…It was the last time in my life that coffee slowed the hours rather than speeding them up. Those long, lazy nights—snow falling outside on Cowperthwaite Street, the three of us huddled inside a warm, bright room, talking of literature and politics until the rest of Dunster House was asleep—were an essential part of my college curriculum. After all, wasn’t education a matter of infusing one’s life with flavorful essences, pressing out the impurities, and leaving only a little sludge at the bottom?”

—from At Large and at Small: Familiar Essays, by Anne Fadiman


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