Now, where did I leave that?

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Vive Le Cafe!

Happy National Coffee Day! Who knew? But I'm totally okay with a day that celebrates this historical beverage. I love coffee, always have. It's punctuated my life since I was a teenager. My father and I always had an awkward relationship. We shared very little other than a love of Tolkien,  M*A*S*H, and the ocean, but I remember waking early--we were both very early risers--when the family went camping. We'd sit close to the campfire, mugs of steaming coffee in hand, listening to the woods and the campground stir awake. We rarely spoke, just shared the warmth, the cocoon of wood smoke and rich aroma of coffee. They were the rare moments in which I felt connected to him.

  I remember my years in high school as co-editor of the school newspaper (The Gleam....pretty odd name, that); we had a newspaper office tucked away in a former dorm room on the third floor, and kept an 'illegal' coffeemaker going all day. We'd sneak up there between classes to discuss ideas and sip the strong, dark liquid, feeling like quite the renegades (what can I say? It was a Catholic school, and we were newspaper geeks...).

  In college I made a friend who became the brother of my heart; my older son's middle name came from this gentleman, and we're still friends today. We went dancing at night (those who know me well are re-reading that last sentence in shock), shared a love of the Rocky Horror Picture Show (which he introduced me to), and a bizarre paranormal experience, and relied on coffee to, shall we say, clear the cobwebs in the morning. I was still an early riser, so would make coffee in my dorm room, then bring two mugs down to his room, wake him, and we'd share the first cup of the day (okay, it was occasionally spiked, I admit it) in companionable silence.

  Fast forward many hundreds of gallons of coffee later, and I would knock on Linda's door during the festival that brought us together, offering her a freshly brewed mug (yes, I brought a coffeemaker with me to a womyn's festival in the woods). Only later did she confess that, not wishing to have a full growth of hair sprout on her chest, she diluted it by half! I eventually won her over (talking about the coffee, folks); after we'd been together awhile, she visited her brother, and after making coffee for everyone the first morning, she was forbidden to go near the coffeemaker again for the duration of her visit. I do acknowledge though that in terms of coffee, her standards are pretty low...on many occasions she's been caught drinking day-old coffee from a mug she left on her desk overnight. I shudder every time!

  I'm devoted to our Cuisinart DC 1200 Brew Station (in fact, we have one in the kitchen and one upstairs in our 'dressing room'). 

It makes great coffee (and looks way cool as well, with a fun, retro feel), and my brew of choice is Dean's Beans Ring of Fire. I like it strong, dark, unsweetened with nothing in it. I don't get the idea of flavored coffees, and we won't even discuss decaf, which never tastes quite as good. Coffee is ritual....and the quickest way to start my day off wrong is to wake up before the pot has finished brewing. The scent of it rising up the stairs, the sound as it flows into my mug (and not just any mug; I'm very picky about the 'right' mug), the curling heat, that first burning bite on my lips, are as necessary to me as the sun rising. What happens next can vary...a check of the weather & news on the computer, with Elf on my lap, watching hummingbirds and the dew glistening from the porch, or (one of my favorites) sipping it in bed on a cold Winter morning with Linda, seed catalogs and post-its scattered across the cranberry bedspread. 

  I may sound obsessed, but when something has been part of your life for some 35 years or so, you can get pretty passionate about it. So tell me about your coffee passion: what do you drink and where is your favorite place to drink it?

Bottom's up!


Jen said...

I am a coffee lover too, and it was fun reading your coffee memories, especially the one of camping with your Dad. I started drinking coffee in high school, and for my 16th birthday my dad gave me a French Press.
I lived in California when there was only one Peets and that's still what I usually drink--French or Italian Roast. I recently had coffee from a roaster in Hudson that was very good.

Dawn Z said...

A delightfully delicious post.

laurie said...

mmm, beautiful post, now I'm going for a coffee!!

Robin Larkspur said...

I was 9 years old when I started drinking coffee; I can't believe my mom let me! I had my tonsils removed that year and was upset that the nurses would not let me have coffee in the hospital!!
Coffee is an important part of our morning ritual as well, and I am indeed very fond of certain mugs. Sometimes I have been known to stare daggers at someone who inadvertently used one of my fave mugs. I also love a good cup of coffee at restaurants, with dessert. Not too strong, with a bit of nonfat milk.
Now tell us about this "weird paranormal" experience!!!

Ashling said...

@ Jen--was that from Strong Tree, or Tierra Farms, maybe?

@Robin--NINE??? Wow!

@Dawn--rethinking that tea thing, huh?


Nancy J said...

I am a morning "fowl" and for me the very best is in the little lounge, about 6 a.m. or so, coffee brewed in the plunger, Italian or expresso,check the weather, the blogs and updates, your and others weather around the world,listen to the birds stirring, a train making its way south,the nearby hens clucking for their breakfast, and the sunrise behind the tall pine trees.Try to finish the cryptic crossword,and listen to Poppy as she comes back inside telling me her morning story. Greetings from Jean.