Hooray! One of my most favorite things in the whole wide world! My experiences with coffee have ebbed and flowed over the years. I've been a regular at Starbucks (and other specialty coffee shops) at certain points, resorted to brewing cheap coffee in a can from the grocery store in my Mr Coffee, and the in-between spots too. There have been times when I've had to take a break from coffee altogether. I've gone on stints with drinking it decaf. These days I'm going the half-caff route with whole milk and sugar. I'm relishing brewing Starbucks Caffe Verona at home again but wish I could get more stars, more often.
I got started drinking coffee stealing sips from Mom's mug on the drive over to my Junior High. My Dad is the one who makes the coffee at my parents house. I love my Dad beyond what words can say but barista, he is not! He brews Yuban at half strength which is probably why I was able to start drinking coffee as early as I did. It's also probably why I was able to drink a 32 ounce travel mug full of it on High School mornings and still have a functioning GI system as an adult. If my first tastes of coffee were full strength, no doubt it would have been too rich for me in my younger days. Having experienced one end of the coffee spectrum I am able to more fully appreciate the higher end coffees. Bless my Dad's heart, we tease him sometimes for how he makes his coffee and when all of the family gets together we have a second pot going of 'real' coffee but he doesn't even bat an eye any more! So Dad, I raise my mug in admiration and thanks to you!
The first coffee shop I went to on a regular basis was Diedrich Coffee. They were the big man on campus, actually, in my town when I was a teenager. They were to us (on a smaller scale) what Starbucks was in other places. It's my understanding though, that eventually Starbucks came in and bought out many of the locations. Some of them closed down altogether. After I had been going to the coffee shops for a while I decided I wanted to make espresso at home. I thought it would be fun to have my friends over for fancy coffees in the evenings on the patio at my parents house. So for my 16th or 17th birthday my parents bought me an entry level espresso machine. It was the Krups Espresso Mini. I still own it and use it to this very day! Sadly, I never got the hang of making espresso at home. Back then I was dumbfounded by it, but now I've learned about espresso machines and how they work. That little Mini is steam driven, not pump driven, so basically nobody can get a true shot of espresso out of that thing. I do say, I'm still quite fond of my 100 dollar milk frother, regardless!
These days I'm also reading about coffee. I have two of Howard Schultz's books checked out from the library. He is the Founder and CEO of Starbucks, in case you didn't know. The things Schultz accomplished and the short amount of time he did it in is absolutely astounding. To hear him tell the tale of his long love affair with coffee and business, I can't help but wonder if he had a crystal ball or something. As I'm reading "Pour Your Heart Into It" and "Onward" I find myself shaking my head and chuckling with amazement at these adventures. The more I read about Howard Schultz and Starbucks, the more I love what they stand for and would love to share that joy with you all! I also would like to re-read "Uncommon Grounds" by Mark Pendergrast, which was given to me by my brother Paul. This book is "a coffee-flavored history of the modern world." Quote from inside the book jacket. Perhaps I shall take a stab at writing up official reviews of these when I'm done with them.
I could probably sit here and write about coffee for the rest of the night. Heck, I've already been composing this blog off and on all day! But there's chores to do, dinner to make, and beans to grind (no, that is not a chore!) so I will close off with the intention to write more on this topic later. There are far too many good things about coffee to limit myself to this one post!
I hope to see you soon, and look forward to your comments!