Coffee vs. Red Bull: which is more civilized?

November 2, 2014

coffeeI love a cup of hot, strong coffee in the morning, and not just a cup. A big mug.  The coffee’s got to be good, too. None of that Maxwell House or burnt Starbucks for me.  No, it’s got to be rich with a great bouquet, and then thickened with a slug of half-and-half swirled deep within.

It’s not that I need the buzz in the morning. Well, I could use the kind of coffee jolt other people report, but caffeine just doesn’t do that for me. I don’t feel a thing. I just like the taste of coffee first thing in the morning.

Not like those horrific caffeine drinks that young people consume in great quantities despite the fact that they taste like swill.  Like Red Bull. No, coffee is a refined beverage.

Or it was before Starbucks got hold of it.


No, I’m not in Paris, but I love this quote.

Oh, to sip cafe au lait from a small, white cup in a Paris cafe, maybe with a sweet macaron on the side.   So civilized. Not like taking a trenti non-fat, chemically sweetened frappucino to go in your big gas-guzzling Escalade. Not like that at all.

But I’m just back from Sicily and in my homeland we like our coffee hot and dark.

I have to admit I still like a little bit of white in mine. A cappuccino, maybe, with a cornetto on the side. The perfect breakfast. (A cornetto is sort of like a croissant, but in Italy.)

Almost a decade ago I spent a month in Rome and that was my breakfast every day at a tiny cafe a few blocks from my apartment.

And it’s still my favorite breakfast when I’m in the motherland. Always with a delicious coffee.

Oh sure, coffee’s not good for you, some studies show.

Or yes, coffee IS good for you, other studies say.

Well, whatever. As in all things, moderation.

When I was a kid, it was commonly believed that coffee would stunt the growth of children, do you remember that?  I don’t remember drinking coffee growing up or even at college, but once I hit adulthood, I hit the pot big-time. Coffee-pot, that is.

So, wondering about your own relationship with coffee: love it, hate it, or know any good old wives’ tales about it? Do you let your kids drink coffee?



17 comments on “Coffee vs. Red Bull: which is more civilized?
  1. Laura Kennedy says:

    I was given coffee/milk as a child, as was my brother. I’m 6′ and he’s 6’4, so there goes the “stunt your growth” argument. I let my kids have it also if they wanted some, which wasn’t all that often. (Although for a while, it was the only way Lizzy could get thru breakfast without her head hitting the plate.) With both girls at 6’1″ and Mike topping out at 6’10” I think we can conclusively lay that one to rest.

    However…I am now, in my 60s, limited to one-half cup of decaf per day, or my heart kicks into overdrive. Would that have happened had I not been caffeine as a child? Probably…but I do wonder.

  2. Toni McCloe says:

    Very funny. I love Italian coffee. I remember getting on a plane from Rome a few years back when the (US) stewardess served ‘coffee’ that looked and tasted – you’ll excuse the expression – like dishwater!

  3. I have to have my coffee in the morning…though unlike you, mine must be pale and sweet. Red Bull is disgusting…but there are some caffeinated Mountain Dew fruit punch varieties that I actually like.

  4. Haralee says:

    I love coffee. I love the smell and the taste. I love coffee ice-cream. I love a cup of coffee in the afternoon as well as several cups in the morning.Unfortunately I have had to go decaf. With wonderful processes available now decaf can taste as rich and full body as regular. I say that living in the Pacific NW where coffee is king and do know instant Sanka is still served for decaf in other parts of the country. Abroad, decaf is not readily available either and I go back to regular.

  5. Janie Emaus says:

    I love a good cup of strong coffee in the morning, too. And then in the afternoon. But anything after 6 or so, will wake me in the middle of the night.

  6. Carol, I would love to join you for a cup of real coffee at a sidewalk cafe in Paris or a cozy shop in Italy. Maybe in our dreams?

  7. Unless I am sick (or ahem…going in for a procedure that requires fasting…Ugh), my day begins with coffee made from fresh ground beans. I hardly ever have it in a cafe, well unless we are traveling. I however am not adverse to Starbucks dark roasted coffee blends–but it has to be dark. Like you, I take it with a little half and half. That’s new though, for years I poisoned myself with artificially sweetened non-dairy creamer, but I have sworn off all things sugar and processed like that, so i switched to a dab of half & half. There’s something about the hot mug that says, bring on the day, for me.

  8. I’ve never been a coffee drinker — or a Red Bull drinker. I’m all about iced tea and Diet Coke. And, yes, Paris is always a good idea.

  9. Ruth Curran says:

    I love the whole coffee experience – the sound, that freshly brewed smell, the feel of the mug in my hand, the feel and the aroma of the steam as I hold the cup up to my mouth…. The fact that I am addicted to the caffeine (seriously addicted) is almost secondary – almost.

  10. I love coffee! I have the most wonderful memories of my dad pouring the last few sips of his sweet, milky coffee into my milk. It’s the only way I could drink it!

  11. Love this post! I adore coffee. One of my early web identities was “cuppakona.” My blog tagline mentions fair trade coffee. And I have some lovely memories of coffee, brandy, and a bit of chocolate at cafes in Barcelona.

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