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  • Tristan J. Miller


Oh me? I love a good ole cup of joe. I love the smell, the taste, and most importantly the effect it has on my personality. A cup of coffee has done more for my mental health than all of the different forms of meditation I’ve tried.

What kinds of coffee are my favorite? I find myself asking myself.

Since I am from The North West region of this adequate country, my favorite cup of coffee is terrible gas station drip coffee with too much creamer (I hardly know her). Since I now live in the adequate city of New York, the borough of Queens to be exact, I now must settle for terrible 7-11 drip coffee with too much creamer (I hardly know her).

There is something so primal to me about splashing in a third of a cup of french vanilla creamer into the dark drip that’s been sitting out for at least four hours. I see the swirl, the dark brown turning to the color of an Italian man in the summertime and I think to myself, what a wonderful swirl.

Knowing that the coffee is going to taste both bad and good and give me a Jesse Owens level of the runs brings such joy to my heart, along with palpitations. I remember my mother giving me my first taste of a gas station cappuccino, much to the dismay of her future self, when I was about ten. We were on a road trip from Minnesota to South Dakota, we were at hour eight of twelve, it was about 9:00 PM, and mother made the critical error. The combination of the french vanilla sludge that poured out of the crusty dispenser at the Casey’s General Store and my then undiagnosed Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder transformed me from a sleepy, docile passenger to a chatterbox that was ready to annoy the hell out of everyone in the car including myself. When this happened I thought, “This feeling is so good, how can I monetize it?” I was an ambitious preteen.

A close second for my favorite coffee is diner coffee. If the diner is attached to a truck stop, the more the better.

Diner coffee is famously incredible or the worst thing you’ve ever put in your mouth since that one night in college. I love the thrill of potentially paying four dollars for something that will burn my mouth and also taste like a mouth full of ash. I sit, my eyes tracking the server as they walk over to my booth, (I always sit at a booth in a diner if you don’t you’re a fool. The only other sensible option is sitting at the counter. If you sit anywhere else you’re a coward and a harlot.) my leg is bobbing up and down in hopeful anxiety that maybe, just maybe the coffee here will be good and worth the bottomless cup I just ordered. The coffee is placed before m., I thank the server. I order my breakfast despite it being 3:27 in the afternoon. I add the little container of creamer to my cup. I breathe in deep letting the smell waft up into my nose and sip.

The coffee is good. I drink deep. The experience has changed. I, like my mother those many years ago, have made a critical error. I have forgotten about the concept of an aftertaste. My mouth is flooded with the umami of what I imagine licking a burnt piece of Mahogany tastes like. The server asks “How’s the coffee?” as they drop off my Eggs Benedict.

I look up at them, brow furrowed, eyes bright, and say “Damn fine cup of coffee.”

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