Montgomery, AL —

In my journey to becoming a cup of coffee, I passed through many hands and traveled thousands of miles to get to where I am today. I was picked and sorted, cleaned and shipped, roasted and ground. Finally, I was brewed to perfection as near-boiling water was slowly poured over me. This calling has been in my family for centuries, and we knew from the moment of implantation that we were destined to do what no other seed could do.

I am coffee. I am here to wake you up. I am with you through late night chats with your friends. I warm you on cold days, and comfort you even on the warmest of days. I camp with you, share meals with you, and I am here when you just need a moment to yourself and something to hold on to. I know when to be bold, and I know when to be mild. I am treasured around the world. But sometimes, I look around and I wonder if the spark has gone.

When did it become necessary to pour sugar and milk into me? While I sometimes do abide their company, it serves to remind me that I am not good enough, that I am unloved in my natural state. You assume I need something else to make me worthy of your precious taste buds or your sensitive tummy. Everyone longs to be accepted just the way they are, yet you tell me I’m either too hot or not hot enough.  When the sun is blazing, you fill me with ice and then complain that I taste watered down.

While all of these violations hurt, it is perhaps the Frappuccino that wounds the most. Did you know that some of my ancestors were served directly to sultans in the Ottoman Empire? What would they say if they knew their descendants were being humiliated, thrown in a plastic cup, covered with whipped cream and pure syrup, and mindlessly inhaled on someone’s morning commute? And then people have the nerve to cling to this monstrosity and say, “I love my coffee in the mornings!” It doesn’t feel like love. It feels like you don’t even know me at all.

All I am asking for is a chance. A chance to simply be me. The rich, smooth, velvety concoction that I was created to be. You may discover that I am, indeed, good enough.

By Emily Sanchez