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Coffee Is Evil

5 January, 2013

As I have grown older, my tastes have matured and I have embraced experiences I had previously dismissed. I appreciate opera, folk and country music. I eat olives, blue cheese and Brussels sprouts. I listen to radio 4, radio 3 and asian community radio. I drink real ale, red wine and even sherry. But not Coffee. Oh god no, not Coffee. Coffee and I have history, we have beef. Coffee started it. And started it on my third birthday.

My family were at a local zoo as a birthday treat. I’m sure it was a wonderful day as we toured the enclosures. I would have pointed and laughed at the monkeys, stared in a nervous admiration at the tigers and lions, begged to be allowed to throw a fish to the seals, shrieked as my brother picked me up and mock-threatened to throw me into the water with the polar bears. But I don’t recall any of these things, because the one memory I have from that day is one single freeze-frame snapshot from the café.

Part way through the day, we stopped for a quick refreshment. I ordered orange squash, my tipple of choice, my brother and sister ordered whatever they ordered, my parents ordered Coffee. Mum took us to a free table while Dad bought the drinks. Maybe he bought biscuits too, maybe even as a special birthday treat he bought cakes or ice creams, I don’t know. All of this is assumption in my part, fragments of a story I have pieced together from shards of broken thoughts and witness testimony.

However it happened, the tray of drinks was brought to the table. I remember vividly reaching out for my orange squash. I can see the tray now, the image distant across so many years, and my glass at the far side. But I can’t hear, can’t remember, the crash as the glasses and cups tumbled, knocked over by my podgy, impatient, three-year-old arm. The contents of the tray – cold orange squash and scalding hot Coffee – fell onto me, covering my short-trousered legs.

I’m told a rescue operation was put in place, the shorts were yanked off to protect me and napkins were summoned. A crisis was averted, everyone thought, but Coffee is not just evil, it is a tactical mastermind. Because while the drama of crashing crockery and screaming child provided a diversion, Coffee’s true plan unfolded. It had also poured itself unregarded onto my arm, and was soaking into the sleeve and waistband of my coat. All the time that attention was on my legs and shorts, Coffee gripped my left wrist. It could only have been a minute later or maybe two that this was realised and my coat whipped off too, but that was all the time Coffee needed to scar me for life.

I came to accept that my differences with Coffee are psychosomatic and it is my three-year-old self that won’t let me like it. Every few years I would try a sip to see if my palette is ready yet, to find I have not been won over. And now in more recent years, Coffee has been flaunting itself in my face. Coffee shops are appearing everywhere, eclipsing the good old English Tea Rooms. A pot of tea and a scone has been superceded by a Coffee and Danish. People know say “let’s meet for Coffee” when they used to say “fancy a cuppa?” It is the norm to go into Costabucks and say “I’d like a skinny frappelachinospresso with extra foam and jojoba extract” and rather than conclude you are a fussy fucker, they admire the fact that you know what you like. But if I go into a café and ask for an Earl Grey – standard Earl Grey mind, not something slightly exotic like Japanese Sencha Sakura or Chinese Green with Jasmine – then I am seen as some sort of weird alien freak with inhuman tastes. And when I tell them I don’t want the milk, they have to stop themselves taking pictures of me to stick on the wall so they can look back in years to come and point at the crazy guy.


So now it’s a point of principle, and I know I am actively choosing not to like it.  I will never even try it again, and that is fine by me. This is personal between us, I hold grudges and this is a grudge. And if I ever forget that, I just need to look at my left wrist to be reminded that Coffee Is Evil.


From → Blogging, My Head

  1. While I enjoy coffee, at the same time I recognize it’s a horrible habit. It makes me feel anxiety, when otherwise I feel ease.

  2. we have a tea room just opened here but they do make lovely coffee as well it is really posh they even have a piano and on a saturday a guy sat playing it and chandeliers – basically I shall not be taking my four year old there until he learns to sits very still – they only problem is the pricing while keeping the place more exclusive may also be its downfall at the minute it still has novelty value but costa or starbucks are actually far cheaper I just hope they succeed as I quite like going there but can only afford it every now and again as a treat

  3. Holy crap, I was laughing so hard I almost spit tea on myself! (Literally!) Like you, I’m a tea-drinker too. Hate coffee, always have, but only because I don’t like the taste. Nothing nearly as perfect a reason as your story! (So it didn’t just scar you mentally, you really have a physical scar? Wow.) The best was when you called coffee a “tactical mastermind” and personified it. This is one of my favorite things you’ve written (which is saying something)! 🙂

    • glad you find my disfigurement so amusing 😉
      It’s nice to find another tea drinker – we are quite a rare breed i think! even over here coffee is taking over 😦

  4. Tin Woman permalink

    Coffee and I are old friends. I learned to love coffee as a child aspiring to be part of the grown up table at holidays where my mother would pour me my “special” coffee which was really milk with just enough coffee to turn it colors and lots of sugar. I love coffee to this day. I’ve tried to drink tea and just can’t do it.

    All the best to you!

  5. You think coffee is evil just because you’ve never had mine. : )

    • Just when i thought i had coffee sussed you throw down that challenge! Okay noodle as its you – i will try coffee ONE more time. but only if YOU make it 🙂

      • You will lick you lips and say it’s the second best drink you’ve ever tasted. Why second? Because my dear, even I can’t compete with Mr. Earl Gray. ; )

      • Youre right, the Earl is the ultimate. but dare i suggest a way even the evil drink itself might surpass it? If it was brought to me, to your bed, by you, with breakfast 🙂

  6. RG if I didn’t drink coffee I could keep my ADHD in check. It helps me stay focused without having to take meds. If I can’t get a cup of coffee, tea does the trick too. My favorite is Constant Comment. I love the orange notes in it. Need it to steep for a long period to get the best flavor. Yum. I’m working on my post. Hope to have it done tomorrow morning. Hugs my dear.

  7. Delilah permalink

    See, I have an aversion to tea. At least in the way it is intended to be consumed. My husband has been on a Tea kick here and waved the little tea bag of Earl Gray in front of me. *GAG* I don’t care how good you say it is once it is brewed, that stuff was simply wretched. Then again, I’m a southern gal and we love our Sweet Iced Tea.

    • Shame you cant appreciate tea 😦 but you probably would say im missing out by not drinking coffee. im amazed how opinions are so divided on this!

  8. I feel like the real evil about coffee lies within the pricing. A Ugandan coffee farmer will be lucky to get 10¢ per kilo of raw beans he harvests. You pay $2.55 for a tall latte at Starbucks. Need I say more?

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