Caffeine in the Morning

You know how you always remember where you were when a life-changing event happens? I vividly remember the circumstances of my first taste of coffee. It was awful. I was about ten. It was a cold Saturday morning in March and my parents and I were waiting in line outside the junior high to sign me up for swimming lessons the next summer. They must have been less worried about stunting my growth than my freezing to death when they handed me a steaming cup freshly poured out of the Thermos. The bitter taste on my blistered tongue made me wonder if “a mother’s love” was an oxymoron.

I’m sure my becoming a daily Pepsi drinker for many years was a result of that moment. Not only does the sweet drink have enough caffeine to get me going in the morning but if you look at the list of ingredients you’ll see it also has citric acid besides the caffeine. So I told myself it’s a time saver, like drinking coffee and orange juice in one gulp.

As you can guess, during my years as a broadcaster I needed a lot of pick-me-up to keep going at any and all hours. I was making good money but when I got to a six-pack-of-soda-a-day habit I didn’t have a drinking problem as much as a budget problem. I was too young to care, and in those days no one even knew, about the health issues of that much soda but I still needed a life-style change. And the jury is still out about the health issues of coffee.

Caffèllatte as being served at Kaffebrenneriet Torshov, Oslo, Norway

The TV station had coffee on the brew 24/7 for free. More than a professional courtesy, it’s a professional necessity in the industry. So some fifteen years after first trying coffee and spitting it out, in a move of economic necessity, I tried coffee again. This time I first poured enough sugar and creamer in it to equal the sweetness of Pepsi. Basically I created a drink that had sugar and creamer with just enough coffee to add kick, and a new addiction was born.

Many years later, long after I left broadcasting, a friend showed me how it’s all about the stale oils in the brewer that make coffee bitter and introduced me to the coffee press. It was a time-consuming but worthwhile morning ceremony that invoked a much better tasting cup of coffee. Of course technology affects all aspects of the human existence so recently the single cup brewer has become the companion I wake up with every morning. Each cup can easily be made with a different gourmet flavor combination. However, I’m probably defeating the purpose of the flavor assortment because I still put sweetener and cream in the coffee out of habit. But now I just tell myself it’s a “Latte”.