I drink coffee to stimulate, inspire, or to soothe. On occasion, I use it like many others–while socializing in coffee shops. What might be different about my use of coffee is that I see it as a tool. It’s not just a routine Starbucks order. I try to consume it thoughtfully.

When I drink cold coffee right before a workout, it’s a stimulant. It acts to decreases muscle pain and increases my performance. This is especially beneficial for early morning workouts.

Coffee is my constant companion when I write. I find that it helps focus when I’m creating. I frequently write early in the morning, so I’ll prepare my coffee maker the night before. In the morning, I just flip the switch and brew.

I use coffee to soothe when I need to warm up or relax. I drink a hot cup of decaf on then evenings when I want to do some reading or to set the mood for a little downtime.

Black coffee is fine by me. I prefer it that way when it’s cold outside. But I’ll add a little cream for the first steaming mug full after I wake up. But no sugar.

At present, I rarely grind my beans. However, a future investment in a flashy coffee machine could change that. I’m not sure my coffee routine will rise to the level of ritual when that happens, but it could come close.

Obviously, I enjoy a good cup of joe. But I have to be careful. It may not be a drug, but, as you know, it’s a stimulant. And too much can cause me to experience the jitters or worse, anxiety. That’s why when I think I’ve had too much coffee, I make a pot of tea.

photo: Jo Lanta