Stein writes about one of those everyday moments many people enjoy. Coffee time. Through the use of stream of consciousness, Gertrude Stein portrays what many people consider to be an everyday moment and transforms it into a complex portrait. Complexity that reflects a desire to take meaning out of something many people do not even think of. After reading this, it gives you a feeling that can only be described as pleasurable. It forces the reader to be in the present moment, to feel the moment, and ultimately to disregard the past and the future to take meaning out of the present. To take meaning out of what might be normally considered trite.
What really catches an eye in “piece of coffee” is how the author systematically describes the moment of coffee time. The imagery it projected goes from the moment in the morning when it is time to drink the coffee, until it is time to clean up. In the process, the author forces remembrance, and actually gets meaning out of something trivial. When she talks about cleaning up, she begins by saying that she would use soap and silk to take care of the yellow coffee stains of coffee. Then she says that these actually look pretty and shape “very nicely”. This might give us the impression that the coffee stains signify how people do not live in the present, but actually tend to live in the past and future most of the time. That is why these stains will remain there after that trite moment is long gone and lost in time.
All in all, piece of coffee, can be described as a call of attention to the audience. Furthermore, the point she is trying to make is that as society evolves and becomes more “modern”, people just seem to be more focused on the past and future rather than on living the present moment.