Discussion

Why are hot beverages so aesthetically pleasing?

Ah, the age old question: Why are hot beverages so aesthetically pleasing? This might seem like a completely random and useless question to ask, especially on a book blog, but hear me out.

As the weather has gotten colder here in New England, I’ve noticed a significant increase in the number of hot beverages photographed alongside books on my bookstagram feed. But it’s not just during the colder months: year round I post a photo of a book and some sort of mug for #mugmonday nearly every week.

Why do we do this? Why are we infatuated with hot beverages? Just as I once contemplated why books are so aesthetically pleasing, today I’m here to think about our love for lattes, teas, coffees, and everything in between.

Latte art exists.

Yes, latte art does exist, and it makes perfect sense to admire and want to photograph something that is intended to be aesthetically pleasing. But only a portion of the hot beverages photographed and featured on bookstagram are examples of latte art. For instance, all of mine are just tea or coffee.

They are appetizing.

Another obvious one: maybe we’re all just really craving a good cup of coffee? A steaming cup of tea? Caffeine?

They exude coziness.

What’s better than curling up with a hot mug of caffeine and sugar while reading a good book? Not much, folks. For me, a mug of tea is the definition of a cozy night in, and just going through the process of making tea makes me feel all warm and lighthearted inside. Perhaps memories of that feeling are what draw us to photos of steaming mugs, to hands wrapped around hot glass and cups of coffee sitting beside beautiful book covers.

They are calming.

This point is sort of similar to the last one, but I think there is a difference between coziness and calmness here. Many people, myself included, put the kettle on for tea when they are stressed or need to think something through. I can’t tell you how many times I put the kettle on while writing my honors thesis last semester, just for the sake of being able to hold and drink a mug of plain hot water. The process of making a hot beverage was enough to calm me down just enough to think through the next paragraph that I had to write or to take a step back from whatever roadblock I had come to in my research. I think part of the reason we find hot beverages so aesthetically pleasing is that for some of us they signify tranquility, calmness, a minute to think and contemplate.

There I go again: taking something random and probably arbitrary and turning it into a symbol for something deeper. This is the English major in me speaking, and sometimes I just have to let her do her thing so she can go back to thinking about whether postmodernism is brilliant or just pretentious. (Actually, that would be a good idea for a post…) Anyways, I hope you at least found this little ramble comical!

What are your thoughts on this hot beverage dilemma? What’s your hot beverage of choice? Got any other random questions you’d like me to ponder? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,
HOLLY

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5 thoughts on “Why are hot beverages so aesthetically pleasing?”

  1. Love this! Latte Art is the best and so much fun to watch people make lol I could literally watch it all day 😂 I don’t normally drink hot beverages, especially coffee because I just prefer iced coffee since it’s so damn hot in the tropics haha but I do turn to a good ole cuppa English Breakfast with a dash of milk when I’m reading and when I’m looking for something to dunk my biccies in 😊

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  2. Such a fun post! I love tea and I’ve found that the unblended, unflavoured teas do best in hot water (you can cold brew them, but their fragrance comes out best when they’re brewed hot). I haven’t mastered the art of taking nice photos of a cup of tea + books though :p

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  3. haha totally agree with this post! It’s also a case of hot drinks make me feel soooo autumnal and I love trying all the varieties of flavours!

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