Just this morning, I woke up and walked to a convenience store nearby to grab some breakfast. I was paying at the counter, and the girl next to me said, “One latte, please.” Her tone of voice was just like saying, “A newspaper, please.”
Since when has coffee become such a daily necessity on this island? I began to wonder. Am I the only one who doesn’t drink coffee?
It might have started with Starbucks, but now coffee is even offered at convenience stores--and they are literally everywhere, running 24/7, 365 days a year.
Just two decades ago in Taiwan, coffee was more something you drank to be cool rather than something you have to drink every morning. Then Starbucks opened their branches here, McDonald’s started to sell McCoffee, and now every convenience store has at least one coffee-maker and offers as much variety as a coffee-drinker would expect.
But why do we need coffee, instead of enjoying it? “My hands shake if I don’t drink coffee,” a friend told me. Similar responses I got include, “I can’t concentrate without coffee,” “I need coffee to stay awake.” A lady in my department once complained to me, “I have a headache if I don’t drink coffee.” It seems to me that coffee is no longer a cool drink, but a drug we depend on--an addiction. And that doesn’t sound cool.
To be fair, I have to admit one thing: That I am not a coffee-user is not a choice--coffee somehow upsets my stomach. I like its smell and I still associate it with the charming European ambiance (“Cappuccino!”), but my stomach simply objects to such western invasion.
It’s hard to decide whether not being able to drink coffee is a blessing or curse, but there’s at least one silver lining--I get to save money on coffee.