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    Plain and simple. I love coffee. I love it anytime, anywhere, several times a day.  I took on an unthinkable feat of launching a website this month with zero knowledge on web design, and I figured, if I made all this effort to make it a special site to share all of my passions, then I have to include a little corner to talk about everything I love about coffee! Coffee is my magic potion.  I'm not sure if that energy jolt I get after my first cup in the morning is a psychological effect, or if my body is truly addicted to the caffeine.  Hey, I'm drinking it right now as I'm trying to compose my thoughts and transfer my words onto the screen and before this cup, my mind was very foggy. There's definitely some sort of "mind enhancing power" in this magical beverage that helps me function and pushes me to take on the day. Yes, it makes me so very happy, but there's also something so comforting about the smell of freshly grounded, roasted coffee beans that gets swept up by my senses and sends electric pulses of joy through the synapses of my brain. It's definitely my happy beverage. And one of the best places to fully enjoy this, is at a spot where there is some hustle and bustle alongside tables where friends or family sit and engage in chit chat about whatever, and where you can enjoy watching the barista preparing and serving to you this wonderful thing we call coffee.

    I know I'm not alone in this because there are millions of coffee lovers out there who share a similar fondness for this amazing beverage.  Today is October 1st, 2020, and it is International Coffee Day, a special occasion celebrated by The International Coffee Organization to promote a global recognition for the hard work of those who make it possible for us to enjoy this awesome beverage: from farmers, to roasters, baristas, coffee shop owners and more. This is also a day to raise awareness for the plight of coffee growers, thereby ensuring that coffee farmers across our globe are receiving fair, living income and that our coffee practices are sustainable. In Canada, our National Coffee Day happens on the 29th, and this is the one day when cafes and restaurants that serve coffee will offer many great coffee deals for Canadian coffee goers to get excited about.

    For as long as I can remember, I've always enjoyed blissful moments at a coffee shop. The ambiance, the comforting smell of freshly grounded beans and the sound of that wonderful frother - swoooosh! I remember going through many difficult times in my life and when I took a moment to sit inside a coffee shop with a dark roast between my hands, it helped me to think and sort through my challenges. All by myself, with nothing but me in a coffee shop, with my coffee and my thoughts. The coffee shop is also a place for many special moments with friends, family or that cute someone you'd like to get to know more about.  "Hey, let's meet up for coffee" usually means "Hey, I really miss you and I have so much to talk to you about and man, we need to catch up!" Going out for coffee isn't just about the coffee. It's a time to connect or catch up or reminisce or a time to maybe sort through issues with someone.  A get-together with coffee can  provide that little dose of happiness that the human brain needs. The natural need for social interaction has been embedded in our biology for thousands of years and going out for coffee is one way humans can socially connect. 

    Fast forward to 2020 and we come to a completely different experience when it comes to going out for coffee. In fact I don't hear too much of that kind of invite these days.  Who knew that we would be living in this different and challenging time where close, intimate gatherings are discouraged so that the community can be safe from a  pandemic that has grown into a devastating global health crisis. This is a time that is especially challenging for small food establishments where we would normally come to gather, not just to drink and eat, but to form new and old connections with friends and family.  Those old days when I would just hop in and out of coffee shops whenever I pleased, without a mask or the thought of having to keep my distance; those were the days I really took for granted. 

     If it weren't for this pandemic, I totally would have celebrated International Coffee Day at a few of my favourite coffee spots and just sit inside for a long while, taking my time to enjoy the ambience, the interior designs, the music in the background and the comforting smell of deep, roasted coffee beans all around me. I truly long for those good old days when going out for coffee was pleasurable for me and a worry-free experience. These days, I continue to support my local coffee spots but my visit is often a quick one. I don't stick around anymore. I'm just in there to grab my order and go. 

   To my coffee shop lovers out there, and the wonderful baristas who work tirelessly to keep up with our coffee demands each day -  hang in there my friends. I dream of that day when we will hopefully be back at our favourite coffee spots for a longer visit, without the need for masks and be able to sit close to each other to reminisce about how we all managed to get through these dark old days over a great cup of coffee.  Healing will take time.  In the meantime, continue to support your local coffee spots as best as you can and enjoy your coffee safely with the hope that one day the coffee shop experience will be just as wonderful as it once was.  


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