Both of my parents have been coffee addicts for my entire life, and one of my older sisters is basically intolerable without her daily dose of caffeine. Almost my entire family is devoted to espresso, but for some reason, I never acquired a craving for coffee. I always have loved coffee-scented candles, but when it comes to taking a sip of my father's veinti pike from Starbucks, I gag at just the thought.
Still, I find myself constantly driving to discover different coffee shops throughout my state, and I have searched for the best ones within my college campus. Of course, I never order an actual coffee, but instead a classic chai latte or some other sugary, hot drink that's basically just warm milk.
My love for cafés goes beyond the pleasure that these sweet drinks give me, though. There are many reasons why I will continue to waste all my money on Starbucks, but it is mostly for the history my family has with coffee shops.
Throughout my childhood, coffee shops basically became my second home. Since both my mother and father were obsessed with coffee, every outing included a stop at some overpriced café for a mediocre latte. At first, this meant, as a kid, I got a cute fruity smoothie with whipped cream or a decadent muffin as a treat.
Now, stopping at these shops is basically a family norm. Whenever we go to the movies, whenever we go to the grocery store, we always have to account an extra fifteen minutes in our trip for us to order our caramel, mocha-chocolate frapuccinos. And if it's between showing up on time for an event or getting coffee, we always come with cups in our hands complaining about supposed traffic.
Once I got to college, I felt guilty spending money on chai lattes when I knew that wasn't a necessity. If I had become a caffeine addict, I think I would have excused it, but it wasn't like I needed these drinks to survive. I had grown up with this environment, but I could easily say goodbye to it.
However, it was not as simple as I thought it would be. Since I was about a seventeen-hour drive away from my parents, I couldn't help but occasionally feel a little homesick. I found that the only thing that really comforted me was a warm cup of hot chocolate or a classic chai latte. I'm sure the sugar content helped a little bit, but it was specifically the feeling of being in a shop that comforted me. It felt like I was at home again, like I was with my family again. It was how I developed a bond with both my siblings and with my parents.
I learned to make going to cafés more of a treat than a mental necessity, but the feeling I get still remains. Even seeing signs for coffee shops reminds me of picking up chai with my sister before we go shopping for a new pair of shoes, or getting mochas with my mom after grabbing take-out from a local restaurant.
When my father picks me up from the airport for holiday breaks, I am always greeted with, "find the nearest Starbucks to us." For him, maybe it's about survival, since he needs at least three cups of caffeine to sustain himself throughout the day. But for me, it will always mean family.
I'll never be a coffee enthusiast, yet I'll always love coffee.