The Comfort of Quarantine Coffee


“Hunkering down” is a nice folksy way of saying “under quarantine,” and it’s certainly less harsh than saying “sheltering in place.”

 That being said, because I am innately optimistic, I like to say that “I am hunkering down drinking coffee while spring sunlight pours in through my window.” Another version of me hunkering down involves “drinking coffee on the porch, watching as the morning light expands.” Later on, I might “hunker down and have another late-afternoon cup of coffee as a way to savor sunlight that lingers as days get longer.”

On a sunny afternoon in early March, I was happily drinking coffee 
at a ski lodge in Massachusetts. Only 2 weeks ago, feels historic.


Despite my optimism, however, anxiety lies right below the surface. My current underlying anxiety often manifests through an intense desire for sweets. Ergo, my new morning habit---freshly brewed, bold, steaming coffee served up (by me, for me) in a large stoneware mug, and topped off with whipped cream. This whole whipped cream thing is new. When not dealing with such an extreme situation, I tend to like my morning cup hot, caffeinated, and topped off with skim. Maybe, I’ll have a little sweet on the side, but nothing too substantial.


But now, during this time, there must be chocolate at least once a day. And sometimes, I may opt for rice pudding (with cinnamon on top) or grapefruit sprinkled with brown sugar (no white sugar on the shelves) as an afternoon snack.

Fortunately, my anxiety also manifests as a need for daily exercise, preferably outdoors---and of course, when outdoors, I fastidiously observe social-distancing etiquette.

A friend of mine recently posed a question on Facebook asking “what are your silver linings?” Based on the multitude of responses, there is a lot of gratitude going on. Me too. One of my silver linings is that despite the challenges associated with the coronavirus pandemic, the food-supply chain seems to be holding up well under the pressure. 

OK—so some things are hard to find, but there has always been coffee---with a full ensemble of brands, just like always. It makes me so happy. I love the sheer normalcy and visual abundance of the coffee section at the store.

Today while shopping at Acme, I randomly chose Antioquia Finca Orizaba Colombian ground coffee, because the packaging was inviting and it cost $5 for 16 ounces. This coffee is sold under the Signature Reserve brand and touted as being "from the heart of the Colombian Andes". The description raves about the" sun-kissed slopes of the Andes mountain range" and the coffee’s flavor profile, which is “luscious and sweet, with hints of orange”.  That was enough for me.

More gratitude: We are lucky that coffee is so freely available. During a previous national crisis, World War 2, things got so bad that coffee had to be rationed starting in November 1942. Each person 15 and older got 1 pound of coffee every 5 weeks. There were 2 reasons: First, shipping was difficult. Lots of US shipping vessels were under attack by German war boats, and shipping capacity was aimed at fulfilling the needs of the American war effort in Europe. Second: Much of the available coffee was reserved for our American troops, who needed coffee to keep going.  

Things were further restricted in February 1943, when rations were decreased to 1 pound every 6 weeks. People tried lots of strategies for making the most of their meager coffee ration---like adding chicory, but still, despite their best efforts, they experienced coffee-rationing as punitive and difficult.

Aren’t we lucky that we have all the coffee we need, that the days are warmer, longer and brighter? Aren’t we lucky that we have internet connectivity and platforms that allow us to stay connected? We can work (or study or job-search) online, socialize online, and even have dance parties online.

While this certainly is not an ideal situation, it is temporary, and we have most of what we need---including coffee. I will drink to that!




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