Coffee. Ahhh glorious coffee. Seriously, this stuff brings me so much joy.

For the record, I like mine black, nothing added. I have been known to have soy milk from time to time. Though really that’s mainly when I’m buying one out as I’ve yet to find somewhere that does a nice black coffee.

Anyway, I digress, as I so often do.

I’m here in Belgium visiting a friend. He’s actually Dutch, but has lived here for almost as long as I’ve known him. Any time we have coffee together we have a biscuit or a sweet treat of some kind. Now this isn’t like in Aus, or at least my experience of coffee and treats in Aus, where a packet of biscuits gets opened, thrown on the table and we have at it. A tin isn’t set out to eat one or two (or three, if you’re feeling that way inclined.) No, instead we each get a little treat, sit down with our coffee, savour it and talk, or read. This, I believe, is a Dutch way of doing things. Or at least just not what I’m used to.

It seems like quite a contrast to what I’m use to, but it has been a lovely little mindset shift and it’s funny how those little differences matter. I sit and take in my surroundings. I think about the day that’s been, about the day to come, and sometimes I actually stay in the moment. Listening to the sounds around me, feeling the warmth of the coffee mug, and experiencing the delicate sweet, lemony taste and gentle texture of the Madeleine (a common accompaniment.)

The other morning, I was a bit stuck for what to draw. Each day I’m trying to make sure to at least begin with something creative, be it writing or drawing. I’m also trying to improve my digital drawing skills, which is hard stuff! I thought traditional drawing knowledge would translate a bit better than it does to digital, but it has taken me a lot of time and practice to get where I am – which is far from where I want to be. At the same time the struggle to adapt is opening up new ways of drawing. Including accepting levels of ‘imperfection’ I don’t handle well in traditional media.

Here I’ve drawn, what I see as, the depressing coffee cycle. It just started out as a warm up idea. It was coffee time, I was drawing a blank (eyeroll) and so I made a coffee, sat on the ground and decided to draw it. I was just going to draw the one, full cup, while I waited for it to cool to a non-scolding temperature. I completed the drawing, looked at it happily, as finally a good start to the day, and took a sip. Then decided to draw that. And so on. In all it took about an hour for me to draw the first three drawings and finish the cup, and another 20 – 30 minutes to do the final, sad, empty cup drawing.

It was a fun experiment and it got me thinking about how differently people approach something as simple as coffee. So, I put it out on my Facebook page and asked people how they drank their coffee, in terms of how hot (or cold) people needed their drinks to be. And boy was it a mixed bag!

Myself, I will make a coffee and at least wait until it’s not going to cause third-degree burns before drinking it. And then I take my time. Be it 20 minutes or five hours, there’s no way to predict. Yes, I am one who will quite happily drink a cold coffee I made in the morning, when I rediscover it sometime in the afternoon. Sometimes I just forget I made a coffee, sometimes I’m distracted and sometimes I just don’t want it to end, so I draw it out as long as possible.

From some reactions I’ve had over the years I thought I may have been alone in this. But Facebook proved me wrong (and right?) Many, many people piped up and confessed their similar approach to drinking coffee. On the other hand, one person actually asked if I was mad, haha! That made me laugh pretty damn hard, I have to say. For the record it seems to almost be a 50/50 split. Half the people who responded said they couldn’t drink coffee unless it was super, duper hot and fresh, and the other half, like myself, were happy so long as it was coffee. A few mentioned they were fine with oldish coffee, but they had to reheat it before consuming. So. Maybe you all learned something new today? Or perhaps just that I’m a little obsessed with coffee.

What started as a little experiment turned into a fun talking point and a great way to get to know people! Hats off to today’s social media.

By the way, I decided to clean up the original drawing, turn it into a repeat pattern (thanks to World of Mik for providing the know-how there) and throw it up on Society6 in case any other coffee lovers out there were super keen. Here’s a link to a coffee mug with the repeat pattern on it and a link to the rest of my store.

Do you have any strong feelings about coffee, or this post? I’m thinking of touching on Belgium beer next…that stuff is STRONG. Wow.

Til then,

Amelia x

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