A childhood memory: Coffee and family time

It was a pleasure listening to our visiting lecturer Mr. Jani Wahlman’s illustrative speech about the world’s most wonderful and popular beverage, coffee, and how much it does make an impact on human life.  It was very relevant and inspired me to pen these words.

Coffee is a beverage brewed from the roasted and ground seeds of the tropical evergreen coffee plant.  Coffee is one of the three most popular beverages in the world (alongside water and tea), and it is one of the most profitable international commodities (Myhrvold, 2024).

“Most of us have fond memories of food from our childhood.  Whether it was our mom’s homemade lasagne or a memorable chocolate birthday cake, food has a way of transporting us back to the past”. – Homaro Cantu (Henry, 2024)

I remember fondly, the way our grandmas treated coffee (kopi) making at home for domestic use.  We had about 10 coffee plants in our backyard, well-grown, which used to produce healthy fruits during the season.  From white flowering, turning into the fruit in darker green, and slowly transforming the colour to yellowish orange and finally to the darkest red,  giving the indication that it was ready for harvesting. 

As children, we all joined the process of tasting the ripped fruits, harvesting and cleaning.  Sun drying was the drying process, and it was our job to protect the fruits from rain, birds and other animals who too got attracted to this wonderful fruit.  Then only the frying and pounding would take place for final consumption and this used to happen in almost every household in my area. 

It was a beautiful memory that I went through during the lecture on coffee.  I still can remember the aroma of freshly brewed coffee we used to have in the mornings and evenings with a piece of aluwa (a Sri Lankan traditional sweet). I have realized how far I have come from that culture after I have moved to Finland, to walk to a supermarket to buy a packet of coffee, or to a coffee house to taste a cup of luxurious style cup of coffee, while tasting a lovely cinnamon swirl pound piece of cake.              

The lecture was a revelation and drove me to rethink how important coffee is as a beverage to the world and to the economies, how it has become an important part of human life, mostly as a dominant beverage or as a booster to an energetic day.

In addition to its economic significance, coffee cultures hold a significant place in the world as they all have a story to tell about rich histories and cultures (Malltong Pty Ltd, 2023).  Gahwa, Arabic Coffee, is a symbol of generosity, and serving it, comes as a ritual.  Most of the Arabic houses have specific settings in front of their houses with beautiful and colourful interiors to sit and taste coffee in the evening with plates full of sweets and dates, while chitchatting and listening to music, which is a must in their day-to-day schedule. 

I think I now admire this wonderful beverage way more than earlier, as it creates beautiful memories to cherish in human life than any other irrespective of how old you are and among whom.  Coffee is magical because it smells good and tastes great! 

Text and pictures: Anupama De Silva, second year student of International Tourism Management


Henry, P. (2024). Quotes About Childhood To Reflect On. Betterhelp.
Malltong Pty Ltd. (2023). The history and cultural significance of coffee. Lygon Coffee.
Myhrvold, N. (2024). Coffee. Britannica.