On July 27, 2010 my Facebook update reads: “anyone know a coffee/tea addict in campus? Holla!”
Four minutes later, half a dozen comments fly in. One of them smacks me. It’s a claim that my University Deputy Vice-Chancellor (DVC) is an addict. His name is Dr. Jon Masso, the current DVC-Academic at Daystar University, a private university in the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya.
“He carries his thermo cap everywhere. Seriously, it’s an addiction. ..Avoid too much coffee dear,” Faith writes.
“He still does?” The next comment reads.
Faith: “Masso is de no 1 coffee addict. … As in, he can’t make 2-3 sentences in class without a sip. And he’d excuse himself from class just to get some more,” she adds.
I figure I need to talk to him so I book an appointment.
The magic coffee mug
Dr. Jon Masso’s love for coffee spans decades. He is a personable physicist whose sense of humor easily sends you into guffaws. However, it is the broad-mouthed narrow bottomed 500ML silver colored coffee steel mug that’s most memorably associated with him.
“Mostly it’s just nice to sit down and have something warm to sip during the day,” he says. Facing his desk adjacent to the wall, are three thermos flasks on a stool. It is 4 P.M, and the DVC thinks he’s probably at coffee mug number 5.
He refers to his coffee mug as a ‘very useful tool’ for teaching Physics. “If I raise it up to a certain height, I could ask students how much work I have done,” he jokes.
The mug has certain social aspects to it, he adds: “The traditional view (America) is that University Professors should smoke pipes. Whenever they had a difficult question whose answer they didn’t know, it gave them time to think.” The mug comes in handy too, allowing him time to think as he slowly sips.
“I take instant coffee, which is the lowest form of life,” he says. “If I didn’t let cost be a factor, I would take real brewed coffee from Dormans or Java (some of the popular coffee shops in Kenya). Pretty soon you go broke when you do that often.” Once in a while, the DVC treats himself to white cappuccino. He also takes quite a bit of decaf.
So is he hooked to the stuff? “I don’t think I am,” he says. “If you’re addicted to coffee, it must be the caffeine you’re addicted to. It’s just nice to have something warm to sip on, sort of like a security blanket,” he adds. However, a day without coffee would probably make him a little dull.
He fell in love with the drink in his heydays as a university student. “I haven’t done it all of my life – yet” he jokes.
He’s in good company. My uni pals can’t get enough of the brew either.
On Facebook one says: “Mines black, two sugars thank you!”
“And I like it white with four sugars please,” the next comment reads.
Dr. Masso prefers black coffee with little milk in it. “It’s not coffee if you put sugar,” he says.
And Eve, who had minutes earlier, accepted my friend request writes: “so w@s with the coffee addicts vybe? Am one of them.”
This article originally ran on the LeafBerry website. It is reposted here in memory of Dr. Jon Masso.