Posted by: Brad Nixon | January 15, 2018

Rejavination! It’s the Brew, Not the Scenery

When does a cup of coffee taste good? What about while sitting in the sunshine of the French Riviera, looking out on the Mediterranean?

Mediterranean Brad Nixon 6693 (640x411)

Or, perhaps you savor that perfect espresso at a table, in, say, Rome, looking onto Piazza Navona?

Piazza Navona Brad Nixon 030(640x439)

The more adventuresome might say that the perfect setting for that steaming cup of joe is poured from the thermos on a trail high in the mountains.

Sandia View Brad Nixon 4533(640x427)

Ahh, these java fanciers declare: This is how to enjoy a cup of coffee!

To them I say, nonsense. You, friends, are coffee wimps, coffee pretenders, coffee poetasters; you expect little of coffee and derive even less.

What — be honest — would not taste delectable in those settings? Day-old beer? Pureed Brussels sprouts juice? You’re not enjoying coffee, mes cheres, you’re basking in ambiance. Mr. Outdoors at the crest of the Sandias overlooking the desert, above, might well exclaim, “Mmm boy! Nothing like a jolt of pond scum here at the edge of the wilderness!”

If your appreciation of the caffeinated brew requires conditions — setting … ambiance — you’re not providing coffee an arena in which to test its mettle, strut its stuff, show what its made of. You’re selling coffee short, propping it up, letting it off the hook. Put your coffee to the genuine, acid test.

Take, instead, a drizzly, January day with the temperature outside hovering between discomfort and misery, the sun unlikely to show its face for days or perhaps weeks. Deadlines are looming, your computer hard drive has locked up, the drains are clogged and the car won’t start. There’s little prospect of getting everything taken care of before it’s time to fix dinner, and, besides, you checked the refrigerator and the vegetable broth you were counting on is three weeks past its “best by” date.

THAT is when you want, desire, need and require coffee! Then is the moment in which you uncap the beans, pause and breathe in the dark-roasted scent. Beans in the grinder, and the irritating jangling, whir is — to your expectant ears — a symphony of angelic tones. Ah, then, spill that cache of granular promise into the basket, screw on the top and delight to the “whoomp!” as the flame lights beneath the pot.

Bialetti Brad Nixon 9069 (480x640)

Only moments now to wait. You select your cup — but with care! Volume, color, heft and style all matter when existence itself depends on the success or failure of the experience that awaits you. Will it be your trusty decade-old pottery mug, or perhaps a vintage coffee cup from the collection, with some fresh banana bread?

AmMod Coffee Rattan Marcy Vincent (640x511)

No, not the the chipped and stained “McGovern ’72!” souvenir. Maybe the hefty cup from a long-closed chain of diners, with a plate of delectable madeleines ….

mads coffee on blk Marcy Vincent 5886 (492x640)

How about a colorful, hand-painted demitasse from Deruta, sitting in the sun by the pool

espresso-pool Marcy Vincent 8772-3(480x640)

All right, so I sneaked in some ambiance. But as much depends upon the choice of vessel as the treasure it will carry.

The sounds of perking — you didn’t hear it there on the Mediterranean (nor did Sophocles, long ago on the Aegean). The aroma! Something you missed in your charming Italian trattoria, distracted as you were by the fountains. Nor was the atmosphere suffused with heavenly scent there on the trail until you opened the thermos and poured. Only now, mired in the quotidian glum of a fractured day can you fully relish those moments of sensory anticipation.

Then, the moment of exquisite pleasure: the pour. Perhaps, in the end, a cloud-white cup for that potent black brew.

White cup Brad Nixon 9066 (640x490)

You gaze, relishing the way light gleams on the surface of the liquid; you watch tendrils of steam rise, swirl and evanesce. The moment has arrived: coffee time!

This is the job coffee was sent to do, the destiny it was meant to fulfill, the apotheosis of java!

The reeking sump of life is now forgotten; you are armed against the slings and arrows of bills, clients, bosses, schedules, budgets, obsolete machinery, ineptly engineered vehicles and aging plumbing. Nothing matters beyond that cup and what it contains.

It needs no seaside vista, no view of ancient monuments, no rocky trail between the Douglas firs. It exists in and of itself, in the moment, of the moment, and you are there, solely, nowhere else. Other pressures, demands, requirements and contingencies will eventually intrude, shouldering aside the guards at the gate of heaven to wreak holy hell on paradise, but not yet. Not yet.

© Brad Nixon 2018. Some photos © Marcy Vincent 2018, available on Click on photos to access them on the site.


  1. What a delightful bit of prose to accompany a first cup of coffee. The title’s clever, too. “Rejavination” deserves a place in the lexicon, if it isn’t already there.

    I especially enjoyed this: “If your appreciation of the caffeinated brew requires conditions — setting … ambiance — you’re not providing coffee an arena in which to test its mettle.” It reminded me of the people I’ve known over the past decade who’ve declared, “If only I had the right setting, the right desk, the right pen and journal, I really could break through this writer’s block.” Something analogous this way comes…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. che bello! So much comfort in a steaming cup of coffee! I have the exact same espresso cup as yours from Deruta, although truth be told, I bought it in the US.


    • That one and its mate were gifts from friends who found it here. Grazie.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. YES. It’s all about the vessel (and a hint of sunshine). BH

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well-said. I experienced rejavination every morning this weekend when I woke to another wretched day of bronchitis. Shuffling to the kitchen for the coffee-making ritual, then savoring that hot, comforting cup was like being recalled to life, however briefly.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Loved the pretty pix! Pot on the grill above the flame was quite stunning. Congrats!


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