Sunday, April 19, 2009

It's the Caffeine Buzz for Me

Not everyone falls for the heady smell and rich taste of superstrong java but it is just the kickstart I need in the morning.

Love Coffee

When I was about three, various relatives started letting me taste their coffee and I took to it right away. I loved the smell and, since most of my relatives used cream and sugar I didn't taste the bitter edge that I have come to enjoy. (I took to martinis too but that is another story.) By the time I was a few years older, coffee, like chocolate, was a way to flavor milk in order to get me to drink it. By high school I was a confirmed breakfast coffee drinker, black, no sugar. In college I could indulge any time I liked. A few cups got me through breakfast and then I met friends for coffee later in the day. I wasn't picky in those days. We drank whatever was available and thought that freeze-dried was a great improvement over instant.

As I got older, my coffee tastes got more sophisticated. We went to Greek restaurants and I had Greek (Turkish) coffee. After a while I even had preferences in how much sugar to use in that. When we went to London in 1980, I started using cream for the first time because the coffee was so awful except when we went to Italian restaurants in the evening.

At one point, knowing that I was addicted, I tried stopping cold turkey and was very sick as payback for my folly. I haven't willing done that again although I no longer drink coffee after noon, except in Italy where a macchiato, even late in the day, doesn't seem to keep me up at night.

This is not a secret vice, but caffeine is a drug and I am an addict so it is a vice, even if is legal. I try to buy the best beans, use good equipment, and find good coffeehouses. I even try to travel in countries with good coffee rather than those with bad or mediocre coffee. Fortunately England has improved, even if the coffee isn't outstanding. The best Turkish coffee I ever had wasn't in Turkey, where I have had some pretty dismal coffee, but in Tbilisi, Georgia. Viennese coffees of all kinds are good and I have tried most styles but usually I will drink a grosser brauner or, if it a warm summer afternoon I will indulge in eiskaffe, even though that is more like dessert and not like American iced coffee. I am not a huge fan of cafe au lait so in France I prefer a grand creme. And in Italy, as I may have mentioned, the macchiato is my favorite although un caffe (espresso) is a good pick-me-up).

If the doctor ever tells me I have to give it up, I suppose I will slowly switch to decaf, but only the best. I would miss the caffeine buzz and only the most dire health warning would make me change my ways.

So don't take my Peet's, my Bialetti coffeemaker, or my Capresso Coffee Team, or I may just have to kill you.

1 comment:

  1. I used to drink coffee, any kind of swill that came down the pike at that. When we moved to Seattle, the home of Starbucks, I tried it at a restaurant in Pike Place Market. I almost gagged, and informed the counter help their coffee pot desperately needed cleaning as the coffee was bitter and unpalatable. Imagine my surprise to hear that was the desired quality in Starbucks' coffee.