Sunday, December 23, 2007

A day without coffee ...

I woke up one Saturday morning with only one thought on my mind, my first cup of coffee for the day. I shuffled down to the kitchen and began the ritual of selecting only the beans that contained maximum amounts of caffeine. Each bean had to pass my rigorous test before being ground into a fine powder. How is this done, you might ask? The answer, carefully and with scientific precision.

As I began the grinding process I started to think about what a day would be like without coffee. As tears started rolling down my face at this earth shattering thought I began to question whether or not I was addicted to the brown elixir. Could I, in fact, last an entire day without one drop? Was this even a sane thought or the mindless ramblings of a woman who had not yet had her caffeine fix?

The more I contemplated this disturbing thought the faster the tears flowed as I looked into my bleak day without the bold, sharp aroma wafting past my nostrils as I took the first sip. I gazed out of the kitchen window and fondly remembered some of my coffee adventures.

I recalled the time when I used to travel extensively for a previous job. There would always be a car service waiting for me when I landed at JFK airport. I arrived early one morning and told the friendly driver that I wanted to find a Starbucks before we got to the office. He peeled across two lanes of traffic to take the next exit because he knew exactly where a Starbucks was. We made it safely to the coffee haven and the rest of the trip was a blur, although I do vaguely remember car horns blaring as the driver zigzagged through traffic to our final destination.

The next week when I landed at JFK another driver picked me up and as soon as we got into the car he was on his car radio speaking an East European language which I was trying desperately to learn so my instructions to him about Starbucks would be clear. As he ended his conversation he turned to me and said, “Starbucks?” I looked at him amazed. I said, yes, how did you know? “My friend, (indicating to his radio) he pick you up last week.”

As I settled into the back seat, looking out of the window I wondered if my obsession for the perfect cup of coffee had gone too far with car service drivers knowing my weakness and plotting amongst themselves on how to get me to the nearest Starbucks.

There was another occasion when coffee played heavily on my mind, the following incidents I am about to describe I have to admit I’m not terribly proud of. In 2005 my mother and I took a trip to several far flung countries – Singapore, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand. While I would love to sit here and tell you we took out our guide books and traipsed around these countries looking for places we had only seen on tv or read about in books. I close my eyes and lower my head in embarrassment when I look back at that time when I had my gray-haired mother on the look out for Starbucks coffee shops.

By the end of the grueling four week trip I had trained her so well, she no longer cried and stamped her feet when we walked out of the hotel each morning. She no longer pleaded to strangers passing by to help her get away from me. She fell into line, like a good mother and was hunting for Starbucks coffee shoulder to shoulder with me. By the time she got on the plane to return to Bermuda she was a professional coffee orderer … a grande soy, sugar-free vanilla cafĂ© latte, extra hot and hold the foam. During that trip I looked at my mother with new eyes as she had sealed her fate as my shero for life.

But I digress. I wiped the tears from my eyes as I poured my first cup of coffee and sat down at my laptop to begin work. What kind of world do we live in if we can’t have coffee to jump start our days? How would things get done without people killing each other because of a caffeine deficiency? I am a strong advocate of coffee drinking and I would like to gouge from my mind the thought that I even contemplated not having a coffee today.

In case you are interested I like French Roast (or any other dark roast) black with two Splendas. At the risk of offending others - flavored coffees with milk or syrup or cinnamon and the like isn't for us - real coffee drinkers. I am of the belief, good coffee doesn't need it and bad coffee doesn't deserve it.

I have only one thing to say about decaf. What's the point?

Stay away from my coffee mug and no one gets hurt.

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