Kona Coffee

Coffee With My Dad

I have loved coffee since I was two-years old even though I never had a sip of cup until I was in college.

My love affair with coffee began when my dad used to take me to the local coffee shop with him. It wasn’t a café like I think of now.  It was a good old fashioned doughnut shop. He went several nights a week after work in the late evenings to unwind and I would often beg to tag along.

On nights that I got to go with him, I would take a nap and my mom would wake me up at 8pm and dress me in some cute outfit (as if I was going to church) and get me ready to go with my dad.

I would sit on a swivel stool next to my father, who had changed out of his stiff looking business suit into jeans and a T-shirt. Suddenly he was different guy than the one that left earlier in the morning.  He wasn’t some executive at a company – he was cool, less serious.  He was way more fun and he looked very handsome to me. As I do the math, I realize that my dad was only in his mid 20’s at the time.

My dad knew everyone in the place by name and they all seemed delighted when he walked in. This was like his version of Cheers since he wasn’t much a drinker. He would chat about grown up things I didn’t understand – politics, local events, sports and who’s seen who around town lately.

There were tons of regulars and they all shared details about their lives,  their kids, jobs and new cars. I remember years later during his “mid-life crisis” at 46, my dad couldn’t wait to show off his new Corvette to the guys at the coffee shop.

As a youngster, I would sit quietly on my stool listening intently and beaming about daddy’s girl. I felt special. It was always magical to go with him – a special time that my brother and mother didn’t share with us. It was just me and my dad.

I could barely see over the Formica counter, but I remember how delicious it smelled in there. It was possibly a combination of the doughnuts and coffee or maybe the just the hot chocolate with whipped cream he ordered for me. I’m not a big doughnut lover but the smell of coffee and doughnuts together, to this day, brings me right back there.

Ever since those days, I’ve always carried such happy associations about coffee with me. The smell makes me smile. For me coffee brings up connotations of being social, of comforting times, of having a tiny break from my day, of special times. It’s like a huge warm hug from my dad.

Although I brew coffee at least once a day at home (either in the 12-cup Cuisinart or the French press) I try and make time every day to step out for a cup of coffee. It’s an important ritual in my day.

And while I may not consciously recall my dad, who passed away 17 years ago at only 52-years old, each time I step into a shop coffee or cafe, I know he’s smiling every time I drink a cup – especially since I take it just like he did – regular (cream, two sugars).

Here’s to you dad!


  • Lisa Riolo

    Great post. Love of coffee is about so much more than the taste. It’s about our rituals, senses and the people. Our experience extends way beyond the sugar or cream… And you’ve captured all of that very well. Thanks for a great read.

  • lisa

    Thanks, Lisa. it really is about the ritual and the people. Maybe that’s why it’s always so fun to meet people for coffee and share the joy!

  • This was very sweet. I could really picture the sites and smells.

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