I’ve heard and have personally used “cuppa” in leftpondia to indicate a ‘cup o’ joe’ over a table for talk or discussion.
You astonish me. Where was this? I’ve lived in various parts of these United States and never heard such a thing; it strikes me as purely UK.
It was either the 29th or the 30th anniversary of the hydrogen bomb that was dropped on Albuquerque, New Mexico, detonating* one mile southeast of the Albuquerque Airport. Thus, the year was either 1986 or 1987.**
[Caveat: some of my friends claim to have irrefutable proof that I live in an alternate universe, or even, alternate universes.]
I spent the latter part of the fall and most of winter that year at a school of philosophy in the Pocono Mountains resort area of Pennsylvania. Most westerners would call this school an ‘ashram.’ There were swamis, etc.
As a matter of general policy, coffee (itself among other unhealthful items) was excluded from the school’s cafeteria and discouraged from student use. There were exceptions, and since there was no absolute prohibition, sometimes coffee and rarely wine or beer was enjoyed among the staff and long-term (graduate?) students.
I had a small camp-stove, a stainless steel stove-top espresso machine, and a small supply of excellent coffee. My roommate and closest friend was a fellow who had been an actor and also a writer for national (US) radio shows. Those senior students and staff who discreetly enjoyed the occasional coffee and the attendant animated discourse far, far into the night, often until past dawn, were frequent guests of ours.
These gatherings were nothing regular like once a week; rather they were from time to time, maybe three times a month or so. Our code-word for these gatherings was “cuppa"--though I think I would have spelled it “cup o’” at the time. My roommate, the retired writer and former actor, introduced the term to me. It was accepted and understood with ease by all.
“Cuppa?” was the challenge.
“Cuppa! Cuppa!” was the enthusiastic response, if the time was right; and the word spread like wildfire if so.
Granted, there were many international students, some from the UK, some from India, and also from Australia, Canada, and diverse places. And so, for all practical purposes, it really was an alternate universe. I took the term “cuppa” and made it my own. Subsequently, I have used it nearly everywhere I have been for any length of time.
I used it discreetly yesterday in real life, as a test. The meaning of “cuppa” was instantly understood. After a few several minutes had passed yesterday, I asked my companions how common the term was in their experience. “Have heard and used it for years” was the consensus. But they are fairly well traveled and cosmopolitan by nature, so it may be considered another example from one of many alternate universes my friends claim I inhabit.
**The time, within two years, is easy for me to fix because one of the two major daily newspapers in Denver ran a story on the event the year in question. I am sure of the story (I read it when it was freshly printed) but not sure of the exact year. I haven’t been able to find the article in question to settle the issue. It is the best I can do on the fixing the year.
The La Times ran an article on the 29th anniversary which would have been 1986. For some reason I forget now, I felt that the Denver article was probably put out on the 30th anniversary. I kept a very lengthy and detailed journal that I often drew material from for writing, musical composition, and performance throughout the years, but it was lost or stolen some years ago. Also, parts were earlier destroyed due to poor choice of writing inks and weather-related moisture. (I traveled via motorcycle for years and most of everything I carried routinely was exposed to the elements.)
Another link about the bomb that was dropped, the Mark 17 hydrogen bomb: the largest bomb ever made by the United States. Over 24 feet long, 42,000 pounds, and with an explosive power of 15-20 megatons (equivalent to over 1,000 Hiroshima size bombs).