There’s something about coffee that reminds me of home, not necessarily home in a literal sense but more so figuratively.

Being first-generation Ethiopian-American, coffee has always been ingrained in my family’s culture.

I grew up watching traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremonies at family gatherings, and I always loved to see how my relatives could sit and talk for hours about everything under the sun over a cup of coffee.

My first summer home from university, I started working at a local community coffee shop near my home, something I consider to be one of the more meaningful experiences in my life because I was able to connect with people of all walks of life.

Even though my shifts started at 5:30 every morning, I quickly fell in love with it — it felt more like I was hanging out with friends than doing an actual job.

We cared about our customers and their lives, and in turn they cared about us.

By simply serving someone their favourite drink and conversing with them about their lives, we were able to actively cultivate a sense of community with customers and staff alike.

Through this shop, I learned that people really just want to feel seen and known, and it’s amazing that something as simple as coffee can be a vessel for something as strong as community.

I adore spending time there when I go back home to Atlanta, as both a customer and a barista.

Photo by Emre Gencer on Unsplash

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