Thursday, January 12, 2017

How Do You Like Your Coffee? (Update)

(Originally posted in November, this one has been revised and updated in celebration of coffee shops, Internet Cafes, and cafe-bloggers everywhere.)

How do you like your coffee? Some correspondents we believe to be White and female have already mentioned to this web site that they don't care for pumpkin spice lattes. Personally, I'm legally White and 100% female, and I'm no fan of lattes whatever is sprinkled on top of them. Nevertheless. This is a serious report:

How do I like my coffee? This is a serious question, asked by the proprietors of the cafe where I've been blogging lately, and it deserves a serious, blog-post-length answer giving due consideration to each of the following points:

* All coffee served at the cafe has, in my experience, been good.

* Though not necessarily in the same way.

** "Appalachian Morning" is your basic coffee, always, in my experience, brewed just about perfectly. (For me, anyway. Some local readers have notified me that they like a higher ratio of water to coffee. The cafe offers free water, too.)

** "Jamaica" is a sweeter coffee with a hint of cinnamon-mocha flavor that seems to me to beg for sugar, and possibly cream if you like cream in your coffee.

** "Decaf" is standard-quality decaffeinated coffee; if you're fully caffeinated already and want to continue drinking something hot you'd like it, although the process of decaffeination does not improve the flavor of coffee in my opinion.

** Then of course it's possible to get into questions of syrup, available in gourmet flavors I won't even try to discuss here...

** And then there's a substantial percentage of people who like to add milk or cream to their coffee. I've never been one of them, but I have to acknowledge the diabetics out there who really need that balance of protein, fat, and sugar if they drink coffee between Real Meals. These people have created a whole vocabulary of lattes and frappes and froths and creams and creamers and who knows what-all.

* If I ate breakfast before drinking coffee--or if I plan to eat while drinking coffee--my preference has been "Black as the eyes of the man I love" for more than twenty years, and holding.

* But I don't always eat breakfast; sometimes, due to lack of funding and/or nasty reactions to GMO and/or glyphosate-contaminated foods and/or participation in a prayer-and-fasting commitment, I don't eat anything solid all day long. In that case...I don't normally have that nasty paradoxical reaction to caffeine that some people with irregular thyroid function get, which can involve fainting and vomiting and even blacking out for hours. Walking generally keeps my thyroid function regular enough that I can get through a day or two of "eating" nothing but black coffee. Then again, once when I'd been snowed in for a week and was also fighting the flu, many years ago, I did react to black coffee before breakfast the same way my mother reacts to it. A couple of doctors and I discovered something new on that occasion--you can even be borderline hyperthyroid and still be irregular enough to have that reaction. One blackout was plenty. If I'm not eating solid food, I want real sugar in my coffee. Low-calorie substitutes won't do since they don't prevent nasty reactions.

* But, like so many of the coffee connoisseurs who frequent the cafe, I actually prefer the taste of Sweet'n'Lo in black I like to mix Sweet'n'Lo with sugar if I sweeten my coffee at all. (Once again, this is deliberately avoiding all questions about syrup. There's a reason for that. The cafe uses solid, reusable ceramic cups. It's safe to share and reuse ceramic cups that have been thoroughly washed, which I'm sure the cafe does...but just in case anybody mistakes an allergy reaction for a cold and worries about reusing a cup I've used, I prefer to be seen sipping drinks through a straw. Syrup can clog a straw.)

If I drink sweet coffee first, I go for "Jamaica." If I drink plain coffee first, I go for "Appalachian Morning."

However...none of these is my absolute favorite, favorite way to drink coffee.

This is my real all-time favorite way to drink coffee: Go to a certain job that was finished long ago, outside Jonesville, Virginia. On the way, stop at a certain convenience store that no longer exists, in Duffield. Buy and eat breakfast, taking advantage of "the Cherokee price," unethical though that is when I think about it. Buy coffee for everybody in insulated styrofoam cups, which is also unethical when I think about it, with disposable plastic snap-lock lids. No sugar, which will be a nuisance to carry, and cream strictly for known diabetics who depend on it. Ride the rest of the way to Jonesville with cups in the console between the driver and passenger seats, in the armrests of the truck, and in my hands, as may be necessary. Distribute coffee. Open Right Hand Man's cup and cream containers (Right Hand Man being so called because, as regular readers may remember, he has no left hand). Relight bonfire and stand around it, drinking black coffee, until warm enough to go to work.

Actually the coffee wasn't better than other coffee, but the job was variable and challenging enough to have been one of my all-time favorite jobs, which did a lot to improve the experience of drinking the coffee.

(Had you ever heard of a difference among "wet," "dry," and "bone-dry" cappuccinos?
Click here to learn how a cappuccino can be "dry": )