Can we just talk about coffee today? And to my friends who don’t drink this glorious cup on a daily basis, just humor me and read along. Ahhh the ritual of coffee. For 20 years I have come to love what this warm mug of goodness does for my day.
It’s interesting to me that I have such an allegiance. Neither of my parents are coffee drinkers and never have been. It really started for me in college – not in the I need caffeine I have to pull an all nighter kind of beginning. No, it was more in the, coffee houses are kind of JUST starting to be cool and I’ll drink a Joe Muggs Coffee Chiller because it’s mostly ice cream in liquid form with a hint of coffee kind of thing.
Yes, I confess I started out much more in love with the idea of drinking coffee. And what I called coffee back then really is nothing like what I drink today. And I sometimes wonder if I hadn’t moved to NYC right out of school, would I still love and need my coffee as much as if I’d just come back to Birmingham? When I moved to Manhattan and started my first job, everyone drank coffee. The office was always freezing and so I drank it too, as much for warmth as to feel a part of the group. No one in my office used sweetener so neither did I. For me it was a little bit of whole milk and I was good to go. In the winter, I started drinking coffee all day long, switching to decaf after the first cup or two. In the summer, it was iced coffees in the afternoons, but always, always, always, the mornings must be hot. (Same rules apply today, especially living in New England – I always want that cup of hot coffee!)
Over the years, my coffee palate has become much more refined, in large part because I’m married to a total coffee snob. (In fact, he’s been an espresso man for years and makes THE best latte around.) But living with him and watching him do his coffee thing, I really do appreciate a freshly ground bean and I recognize now when a bean is over roasted or old. I no longer enjoy coffee in K-cup form. But having confessed to all of that, I’m also not a coffee snob. I’m not above drinking something I don’t love because let’s be honest, even a bad cup of a coffee is better than no cup at all, right? I really believe that.
Can my coffee friends out there agree that there is just something about holding that warm mug first thing in the morning? As silly as it sounds, I actually try to get up before anyone else so that I can enjoy that first cup in total tranquility. Without it, I flounder. In fact, when my coffee pot died a few months ago, on a snow day of all days, I had to go all Laura Ingalls with the boiling water pour over method. I was NOT missing out on my coffee!
The only thing I’ve never been able to fully commit to is drinking coffee black. It’s close these days – just a tiny splash of cream or frothed milk or almond milk creamer (I know, don’t judge.) But I just don’t love it as much when it’s black and I can’t give up loving it the way I do – it makes me too happy! Those black drinking people have arrived, in my book and I envy their cool coffee status. I’m just not there…
*If by chance you have a coffee lover in your life, I have given subscriptions to both Stumptown Coffee (love the Hair Bender) and Intelligentsia (Black Cat is a favorite) to my husband and he loves them both. I highly recommend it as a gift. Local friends should be proud of the quality of beans Coffee By Design sells – that’s definitely where we shop on a normal basis.
**Mark insists I share with you the hand grinder we use, because he feels very strongly it makes a huge difference in the quality of the coffee, based specifically on the science of the grind. (coffee nerd)