Frumpy Mom: Why coffee is my favorite drug

I have recently discovered that there are people in the world who do not drink coffee. And here’s my question: What’s wrong with you?

I’m not offended that you don’t drink coffee, because that means there’s more for me, but I just don’t get it. If you can drink a beverage that makes you more alert and perky, that has been known and vetted for 500 years, that has traveled all the way overseas from foreign continents just for your drinking enjoyment, why wouldn’t you?

I mean, wine has some of those qualities, but it’s not very useful for breakfast when you’re trying to remember why you woke up and the names of your children.

Yeah, some of you are going to blather on at this point about how you don’t like the taste, or about how the acid upsets your stomach or about how you prefer tea, and I say, you’re all wimps.

I don’t like black coffee. So I take my delicious dark roast and I add cinnamon, cardamom, almond milk and a dash of cocoa powder. It’s the perfect beverage.

I don’t have a lot of rituals in my life. I don’t go to church (don’t tell my mother). But my coffee drinking requires specific rituals every day of my life.

They start the night before when I set up my automatically timed coffee maker to go off the next morning at 6 a.m. I add my ground coffee and condiments, water and such. Then I go to bed.

In the morning, Cairo the Jerk usually wakes me up at 5 a.m. for breakfast. I dump some kibble in his bowl in the dark. Then, I doze back off until I hear the magic sounds of the coffee maker coming to life and smell the warm, earthy aroma of the brewing beverage.

This smell is what finally convinces me to climb out of bed and lumber sluggishly into the kitchen, where I look around in a stupor for an empty and clean coffee cup. It needs to be a very large cup because plus-size women need plus-sized coffee.

Then, I stumble back into my bedroom and wait for the caffeine to work.

This is the way life is supposed to be. Now, some of you vary this ritual a bit, perhaps by being snooty and using a French press to make your coffee. (No, it’s not dirty. Look it up.) Or making the coffee when you actually get up, because you were too cheap to spend the extra $10 on the programmable model.

Or a few of you readers have informed me that you still use an old-fashioned percolator, which is fascinating to me because I remember my parents using one back before Mr. Coffee was even a gleam in his father’s eye.

My mother would buy the cheapest giant can of coffee she could find, preferably one for which she had a coupon, and then she’d pour it into the filter basket of the percolator. Yuban, Folgers, Maxwell House, they all tasted the same to me. Weak yet bitter at the same time.

Then, the coffee pot would stay on until bedtime, rendering the beverage an unusual color and density of tar. I don’t know how it tasted, because I was too afraid to go near it.

I understood even as a child that coffee was a caffeine delivery system, but it wasn’t until my first trip to Europe – specifically Vienna – that I had my first taste of dark roast coffee and realized that it was actually supposed to taste good.

Sadly, then I had to come back home to an America that had not yet embraced Starbucks or Trader Joe’s, so it was years before I was able to enjoy coffee again.

That joyful day when I walked into my first Trader Joe’s and discovered shelves full of delicious, dark roast coffee beans, my world was forever changed. Thank you, ancient people of Arabia, for inventing coffee. Thank you, countries like Kenya and Guatemala for growing the delicious stuff, roasting it and making it available for me to drink.

And thank you, coffee, for making it possible for me to clear my brain fog every day of my life. For those of you shaking your heads and sitting down to email me about how unhealthy it is, I did try once to quit coffee for my health. It didn’t improve my health, it just made me lonely, because I got so unpleasant and surly, no one wanted to be around me. So I started drinking it again.

Luckily for me, my daughter is a barista at the largest coffee empire in the world. Yes, the one based in Seattle. She gets a free bag of coffee a week, and sometimes she brings it over to me.

And for those of you British people out there who drink tea, I forgive you. It’s been my experience that the tea in your country is delicious, while the coffee is generally wretched. So I understand you. Take a swig and carry on.

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