A few days ago I told my son I feel mildly shitty at all times. This is a true statement. And I suspect it’s tied to the fact that I’m having a constant allergic reaction to something. It’s been going on for a month, or possibly six weeks. There’s something happening outside that’s messing with me, man. My dad says ragweed, and what in the everlasting hell is ragweed? Whatever it is makes me feel slightly off, all the time. And I’m not a fan of slightly off. Also, there’s a lot of sneezing and snot production. None of it improves my day.
But my son thinks I feel bad because I drink too much coffee. “You have, like, thirty cups a day,” he told me. That’s a gross exaggeration, I responded. I rarely have more than 25.
That was a joke. But I generally do drink one full pot in the morning, and eat nothing until mid-afternoon. Probably not good, right? But I’ve been doing it for decades. I get up, hope there’s at least one cup left from Toney’s earlier coffee session, and start a new pot a-brewin’. Then, over the next few hours, I disappear that bastard. By the time I leave for work I’m fairly jacked, and find myself shouting along to AC/DC or Thin Lizzy while navigating the Devil’s Parkway.
However, once I’m done, I’m done. I’m not one of those people who seemingly live on coffee. I’ve encountered folks who guzzle great tankards of the stuff deep into the night. They swig the java ’round the clock. “Awww, caffeine doesn’t affect me…” they say, with misplaced pride. Their central nervous systems are likely burned-out beyond repair. Good god. They’re usually smokers, too.
And I just like regular coffee, with a splash of milk. No flavorings, or any of that nonsense. I see people at Sheetz, or places like that, and it often looks like they’re conducting a science experiment. There’s all sorts of measuring and stirring and sipping and blowing. I think some of them break out an eyedropper and a rack of test tubes. I don’t understand. These are folks who will tell you they LOVE coffee, but go to great lengths to cover up any last remnant of coffee flavor. I pour mine in a cup, and throw in some milk. And I walk away. No stirring, or holding it up to the light, or dabbing a little behind my ears.
I started on the coffee habit when I was 20 or 21. Back then it wasn’t a hip fashion accessory, like it is now. It was basically an old people thing. When Steve saw me drinking a cup for the first time, he said, “What’s next? Chesterfield Kings?” Now 11 year olds are drinking it. Right? The first time I tasted the stuff was at my grandparents’ house. They always had a percolator going, and I was intrigued. My grandmother let me have a hit off of hers, and it was revolting. It tasted like liquefied dirt. Why?? Why would somebody willingly drink something like that, when chocolate milk is available? Ten or fifteen years later I was fully-invested.
My favorite for home brew: Eight O’Clock or Dunkin Donuts or Costco (Kirkland?) store brand.
My favorite at a chain: Panera. It’s the best, in my opinion. I can drink Starbucks, and pretty much any other kind of fancy-ass brew, as long as it’s uncomplicated and “normal.” Ya know? But, until I find something better, Panera will always be my first choice. It’s excellent.
Surprisingly bad coffee at a chain: Waffle House. You’d think they’d have it nailed, but their brew is acidic and unpleasant. Generally, speaking. I think you could use it to clean grout, and it’ll do a number on your digestive system, too. Have a couple of cups there, and within twenty minutes you’ll be transformed into a high-caliber diarrhea cannon. Seriously. You might want to run a length of packing tape around the opening between the toilet seat and the bowl before sitting down. The size of the splatter pattern will be astonishing.
What’s your relationship with coffee? How much do you down on a daily basis? What age did you start the habit? Do you remember the first time you tasted the stuff? If you don’t drink it, do you have something else? One of my uncles guzzles Pepsi in the morning, for the caffeine. Blecch. What about you? Anything? Use the comments link.
Also, if you have any opinions on favorite coffees for home brew, and best/worst at a chain, I’m interested in that, as well.
I hope you guys have yourselves a great weekend.
I’ll be back on Monday.