Coffee has become something of an icon in the recent years. Everywhere you look you see coffee everything – pictures, quotes, cups, community, etc. Shops can be found on every corner and they each hold their own story and history.

When I was younger, my friends and I would hang out at each other's houses. We wouldn't even have to have anything planned. We would just hang out, talk, and eat food. Now, most people go "out to coffee" and talk. Coffee shops have become the new place to sit down with someone and catch up or talk about the hard things in life.

As I sit in coffee shops I see all sorts of people coming and going. Some who are on first dates with significant others, some catching up with a long-time friend they haven't seen since college, and some just having a quiet time by themselves. Each one holds "their" drink that they hold near and dear to their heart, all while smiling into the mug as they drink and go about their day.

I have seen first-hand how coffee has connected people and brought others into the community. I met one of my best friends at a coffee shop. We talked for four hours about everything and by the end of it, I felt like she was a long-time friend. I have done Bible studies with a coffee beside me, spent "me" time at coffee shops, and written in the bean-roasted environment. I even met my roommate while working at a coffee shop.

I love coffee. I love the taste; I love how you can buy different kinds of creamers to go with it. I love how every different coffee shop you go to has different cups and saucers for you and different combinations of drinks. I love how I can sit down and write for hours upon hours by myself and not feel judged for showing up alone. I love how I don't even have to leave my house to enjoy coffee and community. I love the nights when I'm staying up late to write a paper, on my fifth cup of coffee, and my hands are so jittery I can barely type. I love how I sit down with my dad at six in the morning, drinking coffee, and just talk about life.

Coffee shops allow people to do much more than just get their daily shot of caffeine and sugar. It's a place of refuge, where you can get away and be yourself for a little while. It's a place where you can seek advice from a friend and cry without anyone staring at you. It's a place where you can have the biggest Jesus moments while deep into your Bible with highlighters all around you. It's also a place where you can quickly type up a twelve-page paper on the history of chocolate milk.

Coffee is much more than just something to keep you going through the day. It's a new tool that connects people together and tells a story. You can know a lot about a person just by their coffee order. And from there, you can open a door into a story, an opportunity, or a new friend.