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Coffee: a Fixation

[My morning salvation, Octobre 2007.]

There are few things in life as perfect as a good cup of coffee — oh, a good night’s sleep or, say, falling in love come pretty close, but for those of us who appreciate a decent cup of joe, elevating ‘decent’ to ‘delicious’ is one of life’s simplest and most appreciated pleasures.

I’ve gone on about coffee before, but on the heels of a jetlagged week it’s become ever more apparent to me that coffee — once a luxury item reserved for Friday mornings, payday, or when I was really tired — is now a rash necessity in my life.

I’m not sure how I feel about that.

I blame my job. Back in August, after much debate, my office installed one of those magical brewing pots that comes complete with packets of pre-measured coffee in our spacious and light-filled kitchen (Please note that this kitchen is much nicer than any kitchen in any of the apartments I’ve ever inhabited. What’s that? A kitchen in one’s workplace, you say? A kitchen with a dishwasher and a full set of cooking knives and pots and pans? Just one more reason to love San Francisco.). A lot of the sales guys here come in the early-morning hours before it’s light, even, so naturally they need to fire up the coffee pot to get the day started. By the time I come in, around 8ish, they’re on their second pot, and it’s often freshly-brewed and just right for drinking. I’ve found that I’m powerless to resist the lure of coffee available at all times, delicious and hot, and from Peet’s. My coffee consumption has increased exponentially since last summer, and it seems I’m unable to do a thing about it.

Then, too, there is the little cafe just around the corner from my office that sells — exclusively — coffee from Blue Bottle. They also offer organic milk, which warms the very depths of my heart, as well as organic sugars, cream cheese for the bagels, soups, salads, yogurt parfaits … (should I go on?). Occasionally I’ll get a granola, or a bagel, or, if I’m feeling very decadent, a fruit pastry, but what I’m really hankering for is an americano, made short, with a splash of half-and-half and a jot of sugar. Blue Bottle, which is based across the bay in Oakland, is truly the best coffee I’ve ever had — inky, dark, and smoky-sweet all at once — and I’ve been sending it round the country to my fellow coffee addicts to bring them into the fold (it’s worked). My nearby Italians make my americano just right, but at $2 a pop, I try to limit myself to once a week, or once every other week, as a special treat.

So pretty much I’ve gone over to coffee. You can see it can’t be helped. I hardly ever drink tea any more, and while I miss it very occasionally, if I skip my daily cup or two of java, I feel a bit off. My friend Sally says she likes a cup with breakfast to get her brain working (and since they rise with the sun out there in Inverness, I see the wisdom in this practice) and I’ve come to rely upon that morning brain warm-up myself. If I’ve improved on it to add another cup (bringing the grand total to two) or even another (which means I’ve then had much too much caffeine for one day), I have only myself to thank — or blame.

This afternoon I am happily zipping along, fueled by that aforementioned Blue Bottle espresso drink. I am hoping the inevitable crash comes long after I’ve been ensconced at home for the evening, when I can safely stretch out on the couch and drift off to dreamland to the tune of 9.30, as I’ve been doing the past few nights (see: wedding; jetlag; cross-country flights; whiskey; over-active socialization). I’ll dream of my beloved brew all night until the morning — when I’ll do it all over again.

Ah, cafe. I’d write poems to you every day if I weren’t so hopped up on the caffeine to arrange my thoughts properly.

Not to mention (though of course I shall): My farmers’ market opens in just two weeks, and I can’t wait! Early-season strawberries would be rather perfect with my morning cup, don’t you think?

It’s a hard life.


  1. I have never liked coffee… until about a month ago. I am afraid and excited at the same time. I had no idea it could be so good.

  2. I am a fellow caffeine addict myself, but I am deprived of the wonderful coffeemaker at my work. I think the Environmental Protection Agency believes that we should run on pure water alone :)But that doesn’t stop me from running to my local coffee shop at every chance I can get.

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