Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed and in need of a friend, I’ve found that nothing supports me so unconditionally and consistently as a piping hot cup of coffee.
There are comfort foods, and there are comfort friends. In the same way, there are friends who comfort and foods that comfort. These are not the same thing. The friend you look up to, the one with whom you associate righteousness, is the same whose words mean the most. There may be more agreeable people in your phone book—those who offer praise without a wink of criticism—though these treat the mind the way a whole pint of Ben & Jerry’s treats your gut. It’s the friends that stand tallest in the face of adversity that are most valuable. These individuals support with their presence alone, though the substance of their words carries an unparalleled weight as well.
Coffee is this friend personified. Yes, there are drinks more indulgent, more immediately satisfying. But no sip of sweet tea has ever helped a president make a difficult decision—I’d wager a few bitter swigs of coffee certainly have. (And no, you’re right, coffee isn’t a food at all, but comfort food is a thing, and comfort drink isn’t exactly. So bear with me.)
In times when your spirit is tested and when all is not necessarily right with the world, the warmth of a ceramic mug filled with piping hot black gold comforts like no other. Before the liquid is even consumed, its power is understood.
When you truly need it, coffee is always close at hand. There’s bodega coffee—coffee’s crudest form—delivering precious fuel at the cost of flavor. And then there are decadent cappuccinos for when life is up, and luxurious pour-overs for when time is unimportant and exists solely to be savored. Of course we can’t forget the democratic French Press, the sum of which is certainly greater than its few but necessary parts. Even when watery, the byproduct delivers the desired kick, and perhaps more importantly, something warm and familiar.
Regardless of quality, taste, or preparation, the end game is always the same. Coffee keeps us alert and aware of the surrounding ebb and flow of energy, while teaching us to enjoy the subtle, more refined things in life. If the true definition of an ace friend is one who supports and informs our each and every daily endeavor, then I can’t think of a more steadfast example than my old friend, joe.