El Cafecito lindo y querido

coffeeI love coffee. I really, really like coffee. It makes me focus. It tastes and smells delicious.

I’m a chronic coffee shop goer. A friend and I call it, “coffee shopping.” Every morning I have to decide which of the multiple cafes in the Pilsen neighborhood here in Chicago.

Sitting in coffee shops, you get to meet a lot of different people in the community. If you know anything about Pilsen, there are many artists that live in the community. Muralists, musicians, painters, drawers, writers, graphic designers, you name it, you can find it in a Pilsen cafe.

Those of us who work remotely typically sit in the same places, bumping into each other until someone finally takes the initiative to introduce themselves.

We talk about life, work, the community, among other things and most of all there is  a sense of collaborative effort in whatever sense you can think of. From people listening to problems to an expansion of philosophical thought, you just might be able to find it in a cafe. I love that about these little places. It doesn’t matter that you live in the community. Cafes give you a place to work when you’re tired of looking at the walls in your apartment. Coffee gives you the jolt to make it happen.

Coffee has always been something special for me. If I hang out at my parents’ house long enough, we usually have decaffeinated coffee after dinner with pan dulce to make us drowsy enough for bed. It gives us all time to sit around the living room and talk about what’s on television.

As a child, my tía Carmen and I would play tea time, except with coffee. We would eat cookies, too, which I would dunk in the coffee; something I still do to this day. I like to dunk. She hated when I would dunk in her cup, so I would do it often.

Sometimes, coffee feels like a right of passage, especially when you used to hear, “Don’t drink coffee or else it’ll stunt your growth!” Which is not true.

According to studies, nutritionists fear cream and sugar more than the actual coffee for children and even adults. When I used to go to the McDonald’s in the Humboldt Park neighborhood, which I so lovingly called the Puerto Rican McDonald’s (especially since they played salsa every morning), I used to hear people’s orders: 8 creams, 12 sugars; 2 cream, 10 sugars. I’m not even kidding.  That is the honest to God truth.

On a level of health concerns, you shouldn’t be afraid of coffee if you drink it black. But if you’re a sweet-toothed type of person, beware. Coffee elevates my blood sugar. I’ve written about it before. Mainly it’s because of the caffeine which boosts the adrenaline which is what also wakes me up to focus. Typically, taking a unit or two of insulin brings it back down to normal, although cream could make a bit of a difference.

It has become even more interesting since recently a study came out saying that over 70 percent of Latinos drink coffee, which I didn’t doubt for a second. Other studies have found that coffee can help prevent Type 2 diabetes, something I might be skeptical about, but hey, if it gives you a reason to drink a cup of Joe, go right ahead. You can will yourself to wake up in the morning with that one.

I’m just going to say that I lost the thrill for this blog post since losing it twice and having to rewrite it. So excuse my lack of focus or enthusiasm in this post. I might have just had one cup of coffee too little. Ha!


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