My Addiction: The Truth Revealed

My name is Jason and I am addicted….to COFFEE.

I have been drinking coffee since I was 16 years old.  (What does that make it now…10 years?  15?  HA!)  In the beginning, I mimicked the way my parents drank it, which was straight up black.  Over the years, I have added more and more cream to it, but never any sugar.  The only time I’ll take it plain is when the only creamer available is powdered.  This abominable concoction is sweet (probably to cover up the chemical taste) and just ruins the coffee for me.

So of course I am writing this with a cup by my side (latte with and extra shot).  This is my second cup of the day.  The first gets administered immediately when I roll out of bed.  The speed at which this coffee is prepared is of the utmost importance.  For more than a decade, I actually heated my milk and water in the microwave and drank instant.  That way I was drinking coffee 90 seconds after getting up.  My coffeemaker right now is a Keurig single-cup brewing system, which requires a seemingly interminable THREE MINUTES to brew a cup.  It does make a remarkably good cup-o-joe, so I put up with the delay.

I have used a wide variety of coffeemakers over the years.  I started with a stovetop percolator in my first apartment which made terrible coffee.  Luckily I was working the breakfast shift in a kitchen so I could have it at work.  I have used a couple of different Melitta drip cone models, but they take too long for me at that hour.  I had an electric espresso machine at one point that made excellent coffee, but it was far too complicated for me before I have had caffeine.  I used a Moka Pot for awhile, the flaw with that one being that I had to operate the stove; open flames that early are problematic.  (Nothing is more brutal than setting off your smoke alarm before your first cup!)  I bought a Neapolitan Pot once and used that briefly, too.  Although not technically complicated, it did involve turning on the stove (see above) and then, unbelievably, grasping the whole, scalding hot contraption from atop the flame and TURNING IT UPSIDE DOWN.  Okay, so that one lasted about a week.  I even own a French Press Pot, but I rarely use it.  It is, though, my favorite way to order coffee when having breakfast at Muse.

There is a major flaw with nearly all of these brewing systems.  You must, annoyingly, clean them before you can use them again.  In the many years that I worked early shifts (i.e. 4:00 am), there was no stopping to clean a coffee pot before I went out the door.  Facing a dirty coffeepot upon awakening is NOT a good way to start the day, let me tell you.  This is what led me to Nescafe Instant.  There was never a dirty pot to clean and I could alter the strength to suit my taste.  I want to make clear that I was not drinking just any instant coffee.  It had to be Nescafe and it had to be from a particular country of origin.  Nestle makes different coffees for different markets.  I learned that the ones manufactured for the U.S. and Canada were not strong enough for me.  In my neighborhood market in Chicago, I was able to buy the Mexican version.  I have also enjoyed jars of this product from Greece, Ivory Coast, Spain and several other locations.

When we travel, one of the most important activities on our first day anywhere is figuring when and where we can get coffee the following morning.  When we are on a cruise, it’s usually easy.  Normally the buffet is open 24 hours.  If not, there is always coffee available somewhere on the ship.  On our summer driving vacations, it can be a bit more complicated.  Sometimes, we have our own coffeemaker in the room.  Sometimes, we have to get up and go out for coffee before the bed-n-breakfast has it ready.  Once, early on in our relationship, we ran into a real coffee snafu.  We checked into a bed-n-breakfast in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.  It was a beautiful room in a lovely, charming inn.  We were informed, upon check-in, that coffee would be available at 8:00 am sharp.  The tone of this declaration clearly left no room for discussion.  8:00, take it or leave it.  We are always awake hours before this, so we set out after dinner to figure out where we could get an early cup.  This charming town has strict zoning laws, so there was no Starbucks.  There was no fast food of any kind…not even an early-opening McDonald’s.  The one coffee shop on the Main Street opened at 10:00 am.  WHAT???  There was a diner in town, but they were closed for the evening and had no sign posted with their hours.  Our AAA guidebook told us they opened at 8:00, but still…so late?  Our conclusion:  There is no coffee available to the public in Niagara-on-the-Lake before EIGHT O’CLOCK IN THE MORNING.  We first found this criminal, then entirely laughable.  It’s an adorable little town, but not really set up for guests like us.