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2020 LEC Essay contest
< A single thing that I can be grateful for >
18th-century French noble politician Charles Maurice de Talleyrand wrote to praise for something: “Black as the devil, hot as hell, pure as an angel, sweet as love”. I wondered what made him so glorious and fascinated so far? The answer is an unexpected one. It is coffee. What a refreshing surprise to discover “coffee” as the thing that the noble politician had praised throughout his entire life! While surprised by the unexpected answer, I could not help myself owning up to his praise because I opened my eyes in the morning with pleasure(even for today!) that I can have a cup of warm coffee made with my favorite beans. Come to think of it, I might have been a day not to eat meals but not a single day without having a cup of coffee since first-year high school students. For me, it is such a fantastic feeling to be deeply connected with someone who lived in the 18th century, which is 300 years far back from now through a single cup of coffee.
To tell my story, I want to talk about the first time I started drinking coffee. I spent my childhood in Mokdong, which is well known as one of the most prestigious high school districts and study fever in Seoul, Korea.Back there, it was not a surprising thing for my friends to have been spending the whole night by studying and attending extra after-school courses because they were accustomed to adapting these study patterns since entering elementary school. Luckily, it seems that this study environment did not impact my life patterns. As a result, I kept playing at the playground every day after school and sustained studying when I was only in the mood to study. I used to fall asleep at nine or ten. However, things dramatically changed when I entered high school in 2015 because school forced me to study by midnight on their own “student-forcing program”. Unlike my friends who were used to this kind of living pattern, I had to suffer from fatigue and drowsiness in the early days of high school life for enduring rapid change in my pattern of life. Fortunately, coffee was the thing I can get rid of drowsiness at that time. Moreover, it made me feel proud because I felt myself drinking coffee like to be a complete adult. Of course, this feeling did not remain long because I soon realized that my friends except me had been drinking coffee since they were in middle school.
As my affection towards coffee grew day by day, my parents got an espresso machine at home for their own daughter, and my way to school was always with a thermos filled with coffee that my mother made every morning.When I face tiredness at school, I sat alone on the bench and soaked in my thoughts, gathering my mind by drinking the coffee my mother made in the morning. It seems that I felt deep appreciation at that moment allowing only two of us, coffee and myself, which made me feel mom’s love in coffee by enjoying it. When I think of that era, I feel the wind blowing with the delicate scent of coffee. My third year of high school was always with coffee.
In 2018, I graduated from high school and entered Sungkyunkwan University. My whole family felt glad for me to pass the Technical University of Sungkyunkwan University, one of the most prestigious universities in Korea.However, unluckily, there was a lot of confusion inside me because the study I have dreamed of since high school was not technical engineering, but natural science. Although I had a great campus life with my colleagues, I could not enjoy the courses I have to study. I wondered if I should abandon the dream of natural science and pursue engineering research, but the passion for physics somewhere in my heart always made me sad.
It was no other than a cup of coffee that comforted me when I got lost in this period. To be precise, the time I spent with coffee helped me get through a difficult time. On non-class days, I was always with coffee when I had a conversation with my parents and friends about my troubles. This environment was possible because the people around me also loved coffee just like me. From time to time, I visited famous cafes and tasted new coffee.Indeed, I also enjoyed my coffee made by myself at home. The coffee I had at the cafe was excellent for me because it was new, the coffee I had at home was also so good for me to have a taste I was familiar with. These times came together and finally made me challenge for a new college to visualize my dream more vividly,thanks to the decision at this point, I was able to start the study I want,here in GIST.
Some people may think coffee is more than just a means to break sleep. For me, coffee is an essential part of my life. I woke up again this morning and went to the kitchen right away to make two cups of espresso using a coffee machine that grinds my favorite beans as my mom did for me when I was back in high school. Same as then, One for me and one for my mom. This morning was happy to be able to have a conversation with my mother while receiving sunshine this morning with a fragrant coffee. That's it. I greatly appreciate being able to enjoy coffee with my loved ones. I realize that the thing Charles Maurice de Talleyrand praised is not the coffee itself, but his fierce life which is the aggregation of time and people he spent with coffee. Soon I could feel what he imagined through coffee a long time ago. Just like him, since coffee became my life itself, I have realized the way I feel for coffee is exactly in the same line with a grateful feeling for getting a chance to own my life. So It seems pretty clear for me to declare what makes me feel grateful in my life. From the bottom of my heart, I am genuinely thankful for my life to be with something black as the devil, hot as hell, pure as an angel, sweet as love: a cup of coffee.
At first, I drank only "Cafe Mocha" and "Caramel Macchiato” to get rid of the peculiar bitterness of coffee. However, as time passed through, I have become more preferred for black coffee as it gives a stronger taste of the coffee with nothing added other than water and espresso. Further, it made me possible to analyze the aroma and taste of many beans by conveying the characteristics of coffee beans more strongly.Thanks to this, I found that my preference was beans with a more sour taste than beans with a strong savory flavor.
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