March 9, 2010

Nectar of the Gods

I love coffee.

No, too weak - I doubt I could live happily without coffee (Better.).  It is my last vice (I gave up smoking and I just can't drink like I used to) and rain or shine, summer or winter, sickness or in health, it greets me every morning.  It is the last grocery item for which I still splurge.

Like so many of my peers, I grew up with a mom and dad that both drank coffee, although their routine was far different from mine.  In the 70's, at least at my house, my mom would get up, have a cig and make the coffee in a percolator.  The coffee of choice for them was Maxwell House or Folgers - and then, in 1977, when coffee prices skyrocketed, they switched to instant.  I think my dad complained about it every single morning.  Hey, I would've too!  Remember that old style of instant, like Taster's Choice?  EWW.  It is far better now, but I can still tell.  Eventually, they switched back to regular.  My dad's taste buds were so shot near the end of his life that he would put salt in with the grounds, "to bring out the flavor more".  Now THAT'S a coffee addict.

I remember going over to my Grammie's house as a kid and seeing her tins of General Foods International Coffees.  I thought she was rich, because I remember hearing from my parents how expensive this stuff was.  It still is - I'll get back to this in a minute.

My first real taste of coffee was a trial by fire - Viennese coffee.  I was 19 and was in Vienna/Salzburg/Budapest for a month, in between semesters.  That trip was memorable for many reasons, but a milestone occured when I came back to the States a full-fledged coffee drinker (it's a national pasttime over there - you'd start drinking it too if it meant you could go into their coffee houses, which are AWESOME).  Well, almost - those early cups had about a 1/4 cup of sugar and half of it was milk, but it was still coffee.  That was in 1988.

Then the Coffee Decade came upon us.  I got married (the first time) in 1992, and one of our wedding presents was an espresso maker.  Dan (my first husband) and I were instantly hooked.  The problem was, the machine was a bitch to clean and the way we drank coffee, it didn't pay.  It became a part-time job keeping us caffeinated.  So we switched to a Mr. Coffee and a grinder.  We had a friend that worked at Starbucks in Seattle (when it was new and cool to work at Starbucks) and she'd send us "care packages".  That's when our coffee habit became out of control.

Around late 2001, I joined Gevalia, a service that delivers coffee right to your door.  They have these great offers where, when you join, you get a free Krups cofffee maker.  We were in need of a new coffee maker, so I joined, got the first shipment of coffee, and quit.  I did this again, when I ventured out on my own, but I didn't quit.  I still get shipments every 14 weeks.  It's really good coffee.  But we may need a new coffee maker soon, so it may be time to quit.

Okay, back to General Foods International Coffees (which shall from here on out be called GFIC for the sake of economy and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome).  Brian and I call these coffees our 'back up'.  Whenever we don't want to make a fresh pot, we make ourselves some GFIC.  They have great flavors - I'm partial to the "cafes" but Brian likes the "lattes".  Have you ever had one of the lattes?  I swear they have the same ingredient as Pop Rocks - when you mix the water in with the powder, it crackles and forms a "froth" at the top, to make it look like a real latte.  It sounds gross but they're really quite tasty.  At $3 per tin, it's cheaper than a run to Starbucks, but still pretty expensive.  When you're a coffee junky, though, you do what you gotta do.

I know that I'll be one of those old people that will still insist on regular coffee as opposed to decaf, even at 4 p.m. when I know I'll be up half the night.  I'll deal.  It's the price I'll pay for my addiction.

Artwork by me

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