From its early days as a drink used by Sufis, to its spread throughout intellectual coffeehouses in Europe, to modern consumers in North America using it as an early morning pick-me-up, coffee serves many purposes in many contexts.
And it's not just something that tastes great or serves as a caffeination vessel. For many coffee drinkers, the beverage can also hold a deeper meaning.
That’s true for Maddy Aucoin, a copywriter in Ontario. In Maddy’s case, coffee has always been a love language in her family. It’s something that they share with each other and has become part of their daily rituals.
“For as long as I can remember, the first thing my parents always do in the morning is make coffee for (or with) each other. My grandparents are in their early 80s now, but they still meet their friends every morning for coffee,” she says.
In her own daily routine, that tradition of love and connection continues. Maddy’s been drinking coffee regularly for a decade — since she was 16. Now that she’s a mom herself, she’s built her own ritual with her three-year-old daughter, who Maddy says has been fascinated with the beverage since she was a baby.
“She loves helping me make my coffee. When she visits my parents, she always needs to help make coffee there too,” says Maddy.
So, Maddy’s mom suggested that they include Maddy’s daughter by giving her a kid-friendly beverage to enjoy during their coffee time.
“We got her a little silicone mug with handles, and we'll fill it with milk, hot chocolate, or caffeine-free chai tea latte,” says Maddy.
“It honestly reminds me a lot of our family tradition of eating around the table growing up. As a kid, I remember being so annoyed sometimes that we all had to sit together and eat, especially when so many of my friends' families didn't have that rule,” she explains. “Now, I find it so sweet that [my daughter] will ask me to make her a ‘coffee’ and to sit at the table with her. I hope that will become a memory for her and that we can continue to practice that tradition as she grows!”
Comfort Minus the Caffeine
As Maddy’s relationship with coffee evolved into one of appreciating family time, she also shifted over entirely to decaf.
“Making coffee and drinking it while I work, relax, or spend time with my family feels like a comforting ritual, and I love it,” she says.
As a self-employed copywriter for e-comm brands and online service providers, she typically sips coffee throughout her workday.
“Even though it's decaf, it feels comforting and productive to have it there,” she says.
She even uses coffee to her advantage at work.
“My favorite trick for Zoom calls is to take a sip of my coffee when there's a pause or I get a question I'm unsure about. Inevitably, it's also a conversation starter because people always ask what kind of coffee I'm drinking,” she explains.
As for Maddy’s coffee preferences, she enjoys sweet coffee, “which everyone in my family makes fun of, because they all drink black coffee,” she says. But she takes the joking in stride.
“I think that's the beauty of it — no matter your taste palette, there's always coffee for everyone,” she says.
When drinking coffee at home, her go-to is decaf with flavored creamer. At a casual coffee spot, she’ll get a decaf double-double — “Canadian for two creams, two sugars,” she explains. “If there's a fancier coffee shop around, I usually get a decaf vanilla latte. And of course, I always get pumpkin spice lattes in the fall.”
Overall, beyond taste and caffeine, Maddy appreciates the comfort and connection that coffee enables.
“I love how coffee brings people together,” she says. “I love that it's totally normal to grab coffee with friends as a casual hangout or have a business meeting over coffee. I love sharing my coffee orders with people and having them try it for themselves!”