Roasted Coffee Beans

Ana - Chicago, Illinois
Entered on August 23, 2011

Themes: family
  • Listen to This I Believe on RadioPublic

  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

When I was thirteen years old I took my first sip of coffee. I had begged my dad over and over to try the drink he woke up for every day. I marveled with a hungry nose as the smell of roasted coffee beans arose around me every morning. I would sit along side my parents with a cup of plain white milk as I watched my mom and dad sip coffee. I saw as they laughed together sharing secrets with their eyes. I waited for the day of my awakening, my inclusion into their secret world; the day when the aroma would no longer be in my nostrils but in my mouth. No amount of pleading words changed my dad’s scientific evidence that coffee stunts a child’s growth. When I finally became a teenager, an adolescent, the day arrived and for the first time, coffee and my taste buds met. We sat around the dining room table every morning, three adults with cups of coffee in our hands, words flying back and forth between the three of us.

Coffee provides the spell of communication between my father and me, allowing me a glimpse into his secret adult life. We sit in a cafe and I listen to childhood stories, listen to the explanation behind the scar on his upper lip. There is a parallel between the warm steam piercing through the barriers of my body and the love easing through the gates that guarded my child’s mind. The sip of warm espresso drink as it travels down my throat; the contrast of the warmth from the coffee and the cold my body holds. The singular feeling that arrives from one sip of coffee. The magic of my love for my father, and the magic of coffee combine creating a concrete connection. The feeling shared by two people while sitting on a bench, one sipping latte, the other cappuccino, works to form a bridge across the frequent ice of tension between parent and child. The warmth of the caffeine eases the stress, calming frayed nerves, allowing heartfelt words to appear, as these words turn into emotions.

Sitting in the car with my dad, spotting a Starbucks, pulling over and grabbing a cup of coffee we talk about his first job, my future job, his car, my first car. The brew works to help break the stereotype that says that fathers and teenage daughters can’t communicate. Soon one sip of coffee turns into reminiscing about the past. One sip of coffee turns into future memories. One sip of coffee turns into the bond between a father and daughter. One sip and differences don’t seem to matter, similarities are laughingly discussed. We smile shyly as we explore this new bond, his first look into my young adult life, my new awareness of him as a person, not just the father I have always known.

Open the bag, pour the grounded roasted coffee, wait for the beep of the coffee machine, and pour the dark liquid, drink. You sit down with the person you are most intimidated by and you wait for the coffee to run down your throat as you finally relax. The coffee then helps to say the words you are afraid to speak for fear of judgment. Coffee helps the words ease out between the two, three or four of you.