Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Coffee Thoughts

How do you take your coffee? Have your tastes changed over the years? I used to always drink coffee with tons and tons of cream and sugar, to the point where the beverage becomes barely recognizable as coffee. I think that's how lots of younger people probably start off, though.. I remember my dad letting me & my brother have tiny, tiny cups of coffee that way as far back as when I was 9!

My dad likes coffee with lots of cream and sugar, my mom drinks it black with a small piece of ice and maybe the tiniest bit of sugar. These days, she's even been known to foo-foo it up a bit with some hazelnut creamer! I always admired my mom on some level for drinking her coffee black, like she's so badass she doesn't even need cream & sugar! So at some point in college I decided I was going to be able to drink coffee black, too. I drank it until I liked it and somehow it made me feel closer to my mother. Of course, I never knew she'd sprinkle sugar in her black coffee until years later.

The most I ever appreciated a giant cup of coffee was in Paris when I studied abroad for a month...Everything would be closed on Sundays and I'd be so sleepy from the late night before, and let's face it, nuns don't know how to make good coffee (oh, our class stayed at a convent while I was there, welcome back to the conversation!). The best thing to do on Sundays would be to go to Starbucks (I KNOW, I'M SORRY) for a big ol' cup of good, strong coffee. Parisian cafes are so cool, but sometimes a tiny cup of espresso for €5 won't accomplish what I need in the morning.

I had a really unique coffee experience a few months back. My friend Meron had me over and made us coffee the way she does every morning, Ethiopian style! She roasted her own beans on her stove (y'all!), ground them into a fine powder, and put them in this really cool pot and poured boiling hot water inside. The coffee steeped for a while and then she poured it into tiny cups for us to drink. I told her I'd have it however she had it, which was apparently with THE MOST sugar you can fit in that tiny cup, like if the coffee cooled the solution would probably crystallize. I'm talkin' supersaturation. The strength of the coffee helped balance all the sugar, but dang. At any rate, it was delicious - a different coffee experience. I thought it was so neat of her to share her morning ritual with me!

At work, there's a little coffee break crew that assembles every morning and brews strong coffee we bring in from the outside - often Starbucks, sometimes yummy selections from a local shop called Southern Season, and if we're really lucky someone will bring Counter Culture, roasted locally in Durham! I always try to make time for a morning caffeine break to chat with them about work and other things. For no particular reason (other than I do genuinely like it that way), I drink my coffee black at work. It seems more serious. Plus those room temperature coffee mate singles they keep in the break room really creep me out.

My taste for sweets has definitely changed in my late teens and early twenties. If I make coffee at home these days, I'll drink it with milk and sugar -- but only a tiny, tiny bit of sugar! Sometimes I treat myself to a sprinkle of cinnamon or even sweeten with honey instead of sugar! Ooh, the decadence of honey+milk+cinnamon+coffee! Try it!

As the years have rolled on, I find that I can't even drink weak coffee anymore (like, really, what's the point?!). When my husband and I go on long vacations, as the time to leave and return to real life and work and all that stressful crap creeps up on us, there's so much comfort and reassurance in knowing we can make our own coffee when we get back home! After seeing our beloved cats, it's the thing we're most excited about when vacations are over! Ha! Everybody needs something, I guess.


  1. Loved reading all this. I've been going through a weird coffee phase this summer. I used to always have my coffee one specific way, but then decided to experiment this summer. I'll even admit, I actually like the Starbucks instant coffees! The caramel one is my favorite. I had that when we went on vacation and was amazed that it tasted so good, although it is rather sweet. I like strong coffee as well, but then I'll add soy creamer and a bit of sugar to it.

  2. !! i have heard starbucks instant coffees aren't so bad, but i haven't had a chance to try them yet! caramel coffee sounds yummy! i'm just learning to like the taste of soymilk in my coffee - i also couldn't get past feeling weird that we're marketing bean juice as "milk", but i guess it is milky and i need to get over it because it really doesn't matter, haha.

    sometimes i like a mocha with a little caramel...mmmh! but i have to always ask for like half the pumps of whatever chocolate they're using and only *light* caramel drizzle. my husband used to work at starbucks and had some horror stories about making frappuccinos for obese alabamians at the drivethru requesting like 6 extra pumps of syrup or basically requesting an inch deep layer of caramel on top of their drink. yeuuchhkkk!