Oh for the love of…coffee

OK, time for a break from the morbid “oh we’ll all get old and destitute” posts of late.

Today’s topic, much more stimulating: java, joe, café, kaffe, black gold, leaded, unleaded…the all-American drink…coffee! My friend and fellow blogger Mel recently wrote a post about enjoying the “simple things in life.” She mentioned coffee, favoring a French press brew.

Me, I’ve been rediscovering the joys of the java after a 5-year tea kick, during which coffee has been de rigueur only with a big sloppy breakfast at a place with Eat’n or Bob or Diner in the name, or with dessert somewhere other than home. Part of this is because my husband doesn’t imbibe (nor do his parents), and I got out of the habit of making it just for myself. Plus I really do love my green tea — it’s a morning ritual I’ll never abandon, and it’s just so darn good for you.

But lately, as I’ve been running back and forth to the hospital, a big steaming sippy-cup from Panera’s or McD’s has become my reward, my treat, my $1.50 (or $1.64) pat on the back. I actually don’t like the regular brew from Bigbucks (although a venti non-fat chai latté is nirvana in a cup). They make their money off of me anyway, in 20-cents-a-teabag increments for my must-have Tazo Green Ginger every morning.

But coffee? Coffee’s different. Who doesn’t remember their first time? What a rite of passage it was. So much anticipation after smelling that wonderful, sensuous scent filling the house from the percolator and then wafting upwards from mom’s cup, seeing the beautiful caramel color as she added cream (most likely, canned milk), and observing the ritual of pouring “coffee with dinner” in a real cup and saucer that always marked a special occasion or a post-get-together nighttime “lunch” with my grandparents or other relatives around the table.

Then you take a sip, and it’s the most disgusting horrible taste you can imagine. (Much like your first taste of beer.) How can grown-ups drink that swill?

Well, you learn. Although I didn’t really drink it until college, not like today’s high-schoolers filing into Starbucks by the dozens. (Where do they get all that money?)

These days, my brother has turned coffee-making into weird science, with a funky gravity brewer that looks like something that rightfully belongs on a Bunsen burner to be handled only while wearing goggles and gloves. (The resulting brew is so strong it’ll curl your hair.) My sister favors her French press. Me, I like a good-ol’ 2-minute drip. My absolute favorite thing about our family vacations is that by the time I get up, someone has already made a pot and it’s there waiting for me with a carton of half-and-half right next to it. Seriously, I love that — make me coffee every day and I’ll follow you anywhere.

It really is the simple things that make life so enjoyable. These days, walking into that hospital with a large half-caf with cream in hand, or heading home with one sloshing over in my too-small cupholder after a long, trafficky drive, I’m facing the world a little happier and a little more self-indulged. Not bad for a buck-fifty.

Just around the corner,
There’s a rainbow in the sky.
So let’s have another cup o’ coffee,
And let’s have another piece o’ pie.
                        ~ Irving Berlin, 1932