Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Morning coffee? Yes, please!

I've had stretches in my life where I enjoyed an occasional cup of coffee in the morning. I also have several boxes of different flavors of tea bags in the pantry, since I like a nice mug of hot tea some days. For a couple different periods in my life I habitually stopped for 32 ounces of Dr. Pepper on my way to work.

But my current routine is more than a little different. I wake up and pretty quickly ask myself, "Phil, do you want to brew a pot of coffee before you leave home? Or do you want to stop at Panera or another coffee shop for a special brew? Or do you want to drop a K-cup in the Keurig machine in the office lounge?"

Decisions, decisions. One thing that's certain, though. My mornings don't very often get far into the day without coffee of some type. Now, I'm not so hardcore that I drink it black; give me cream AND sugar, thank you very much. 

But this is a big change for a 46-year-old who has consumed coffee very casually and sporadically for much of his adult life. Now, there is nothing casual -- or sporadic -- about it.

It's a good thing Panera isn't right on my way to work. If it was, their employees would know me by name and would know to have the hazelnut canister full as soon as I walked in. In my still-amateur opinion, the Panera hazelnut is the best offering out there, outclasses anything I've had from Starbucks. So that's more of a special treat. Most days it's using a K-cup to fill up one of two office mugs: my oversized, bright yellow smiley face mug, or my SL,UT mug, courtesy of a friend in Utah. I've dedicated most of one desk drawer to storing K-cups. (Note to self: As of this morning, the drawer is in need of replenishing pretty soon)

When McDonald's recently ran a special where they were giving away small coffees (no purchase necessary) for a two-week period, I took advantage of that freebie for 6 or 7 of those days, most of the time happily walking in and asking for my free coffee without taking the bait and buying food to go with it. And the first few times I just ordered it black and then doctored it up in the office. One morning when they asked if I wanted cream and sugar, I said, "Yes please." They asked how many of each, and I had no clue how to answer that question. At home and work, I just pour the additives out of the containers, never thinking of it as a number of sugars, or a number of creams. I think I said a couple of each, but whatever my answer, the number clearly wasn't big enough for my taste buds. It was not drinkable until my cup received some extra attention once I got to work.

As a child I remember my dad, a black coffee drinker for as long as I ever knew, saying that he started drinking coffee with cream and sugar and backed off over the years until he developed a taste for it black. Honestly, I don't think I'll get to that point.

But he had a big head start on me. Remember, I just started this coffee train rolling at age 46.

Tell me: How do you drink your coffee? And where is your favorite coffee brewed?