Dear Andrew,

At my house, mornings are predictable. When the sun peeks over the horizon and the birds begin to chirp, our automatic coffee brewer rumbles to life. The weary machine churns out four generous cups: two for my mom and two for my dad. 

It’s been that way for as long as I can remember, and I knew my downfall into the dark, inescapable realm of being a coffee drinker was inevitable. My older sister switched sides sometime in high school, and even though we stopped at Dunkin’ every single morning before school, I held out until well into my freshman year of college.

I remember the day so clearly. A crisp December afternoon, a friend gushing over the new Starbucks holiday drinks. And then suddenly, I had a warm “cup o’ joe” in my hand, and I was on my way to Poorvu … to meet you, ironically enough (and do all of the work for our final project). 

I expected not to like it, to scrunch my face in disgust and spit it out in a sitcom-worthy show of repulsion, even. But the moment that the velvety, rich, hug-in-a-liquid-form sip passed my lips, I felt my world change. A midterm in the afternoon? Morning work shift? Four hours of sleep and a project due at noon? Nothing to do on a beautiful, sunny afternoon? The solution became an iced latte, a double espresso, a warm peppermint mocha if I was feeling adventurous.

The afternoon, I’d argue, is the best time for a coffee. Just as the burden of the day begins to weigh a little too heavily on your shoulders, you get a pick-me-up that lifts your spirits and lingers well into the evening.

Hot chocolate, however, is a drink full of false promises. Either a little too watery or a little too chocolatey, always scalding hot, and everyone knows the marshmallows turn soggy and unpleasant after the first minute. The side eyes and strange glances you get from coffee shop dwellers are not from jealousy or elitism: it’s a rightful judgment of your lack of taste.

Sure, hot chocolate is nostalgic. Maybe even sweet and warm and a reminder of when snow days still existed, of crackling fires and sledding down your neighbors driveway and baking snickerdoodle cookies because your mom is running out of things to keep you occupied. 

But when it’s dry and bleak outside, and I’m on my way to hole up in Bass until this 10-page essay is finished, the last thing I want is a cup of hot chocolate. We’re adults now, and at best, it makes a mockery out of us. Take a nice long sip. Do you remember when your life was wonderful and simple? Yeah, well all of that’s gone now. 

Growth is a virtue, they say. Becoming a coffee drinker is not the conforming to societal pressure you say it is; it’s the mark of no longer having the taste of a seven year old who still needs his mom to tie his shoes.

“Have you fooled yourself into genuinely believing that your caramel macchiato makes you more sophisticated than me?”

Drinking coffee isn’t an attempt at sophistication, it’s the enjoyment of a little treat during a busy day, the needed burst of energy to get work done. And maybe if you’d had a little caramel macchiato in your system while editing, you’d have caught that grammar mistake. Your article is a whole bunch of “speaking your truth,” but perhaps it should come with a little less rambling and a little more attention to detail. But I digress.

So, believe it or not, most people drink coffee because they enjoy it — despite what you might believe. And as I write this, I’m sipping on a delightfully sweet and rich latte at the late, late hour of 4 p.m. just because I enjoy it.

But despite our differences, I hope wherever you are, with whatever cup of stale hot chocolate you’ve got next you, that you’re enjoying it, too.