“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”
--- Douglas Adams

Friday, April 20, 2018

For the Love of Hot Water Based Beverages

My folks are big coffee drinkers. They drank coffee at every meal, even dinner. I thought it was weird they would order coffee as their beverage at every meal, even dinner at Hof's Hut for soup and muffins. I'd always be mad that after we finished dinner we would have to sit around while they drank more coffee. I finished my dinner. I was ready to go. They'd been drinking coffee all throughout the meal, why did they need more? Then as I got older I mellowed, as I started realizing the benefits of a delicious cuppa joe. They've since switched to Sanka, but their coffee consumption routine hasn't changed much.

I was a senior in high school when I started drinking coffee regularly. Winchell's Donuts was a major contributor in the forming of my caffeine habit / ritual. Every morning before school, I would drive my dad's F150 (3 on the tree!) to the Winchell's on Sterns and Palo Verde, get my coffee and fill it with a good 15-20 second pour from the sugar dispenser, add a few inches of half & half and be on my way. I would put it in the drink holder, drive to school, and pound my coffee as I was running to my first class of the day.

Then I discovered 7-11 coffee. There's something about bad coffee and how much better it gets with the addition of artificially flavored creamers (irish cream was my favorite) and poured into a styrofoam cup.

Over time my coffee drinking became more "sophisticated". I discovered mochas at Midnight Expresso in Belmont Shore. Still, with the sugar, though. Tons and tons of extra milk and sugar.

Shortly after I moved to SF, I lived across the street from a bakery, and later I started working there. Coffee became a necessary staple; I kept late hours and woke up early. Coffee was necessary. A good 2 inches of sugar and an equal amount of cream in a 12 oz cup did me nicely.

I still drink coffee, but not as much. I prefer black tea these days, Barry's specifically.

I do not, however, add sugar anymore, unless it's hotel room coffee, then it's necessary. I stopped adding sugar because it was easier; my boyfriend back then would berate me every time he would bring me coffee, make snide comments about my sugar use. "How can you drink this so sweet? It's so gross. I can't believe you like it this way. I don't want to accidentally drink your coffee or I'll throw up. I put so much sugar in your coffee I started gagging." Two years later we were married and I was drinking coffee just like his, just cream.  Although I prefer the taste of no sugar in my coffee these days, I'm still bitter about being bullied into giving it up and add sugar out of spite once in a while.

What's your caffeine ritual?

My caffeine ritual is simple. I wake up, have a cup of Barry's and milk (no sugar) while getting ready for work. I get to work and have a quick shot of espresso while the tea kettle is warming up, pour myself a 2nd cup of Barry's (sometimes PG Tips), but no milk (or sugar), and head to my desk. Most of the time I get through half of it before I get busy and forget about it, but by then I'm sufficiently caffeinated and don't need anymore. If I'm still looking to enjoy a hot beverage, though I'll switch to green tea. My favorite green tea right now is Green Tea with Coconut from Harney and Sons Fine Teas. It comes in a pretty pink box and I keep it at my desk so I don't have to share.

Once in a while I'll stop at my local coffee house by my house on the way to work, but 80% of the time, I forget about it on my drive to work, it gets over-steeped and bitter and I don't drink it and I proceed with my usual caffeine routine at work.

This morning I had my morning Barry's, stopped at my local coffee house, got a 2nd cup of Barry's and had most of it consumed by the time I got to work. Being sufficiently caffeinated, I didn't have my espresso shot while waiting for my kettle to heat and I didn't bring the subsequent cup of tea back to my desk.

I feel off; like I missed a step. I will have to correct that and get back on track with a late morning tea.

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