This Is Us

On Coffee and Men

You can learn a lot about someone by the way they bring you a drink

Erica Rhodes
Human Parts
Published in
4 min readApr 22, 2020


A black and white photo of a woman drinking a cup of coffee by a window in her home.
Photo: Nick Holmes

“You deserve a lover who takes away the lies and brings you hope, coffee, and poetry.” — Frida Kahlo

I love coffee as much as (or maybe more than) I love men. I was a late bloomer. Didn’t start drinking it until my mid-twenties.

In high school, I was a tea fanatic. I drank English breakfast with my Russian boyfriend when I was 16. He bought real tea, the loose leaves, and drained it into a cup. I loved the sound of the kettle whistling and watching him glide around my kitchen with his long legs and broad shoulders. Strong and agile, yet romantic and just so… Russian. He knew how I liked my tea.

Then, in my twenties, I found coffee. And I never went back to tea (or my Russian boyfriend, who broke my heart, but that’s another story).

Coffee, the elixir of life, the most popular natural antidepressant there is. The beverage of choice for hopeless romantics.

I can’t function, nor wish to function, without it. Some people read tea leaves. I read coffee grounds. Or rather, coffee behavior.

How does a man bring you coffee? Does he bring it to you in bed? Does he ask you how you like it? Does he make it how he likes it or how you like it? You can ask yourself these questions the next time you spend the night with a man, wake up in his bed, and find out who he really is.

I dated an older man for a year who only drank tea. He’d wake up at the crack of dawn and start obsessively making phone calls. (I never figured out who he was calling, but they seemed like very important calls.) I don’t know how he had all that energy after only drinking tea. He’d offer me tea and I’d say, “No thanks.” Then I’d walk to Main Street in Santa Monica and stop into Groundworks to get my own coffee, thank you very much. I’d call my friend Mindy and we’d walk to the ocean and drink our coffee sitting in our dresses in the sand.

Then, for two years, I dated a man who always brought me coffee in bed. He made really good coffee, too. He always asked how I liked it. Always listened. We both drank it nonstop all day.