The ritual of coffee

October 14, 2009

I love the ritual of morning coffee.

Waking up early and brewing two big mugs of strong, hot brew.

Black for M. Half ‘n Half for me.

And none of those tiny, pussy coffee mugs for me. The bigger the mug, the better, and I’m always excited to find a new mug on sale. I just scored this big, white, African-patterned mug for $3 at Starbucks.

But I’ve found great coffee mugs on sale just about everywhere. And I only buy them on sale. Unless they’re gifts.

Making coffee is the first thing I do when I get out of bed. The funny thing is that I don’t get a buzz off coffee. I just like the taste first thing in the morning.

And I’ve always loved other coffee-related rituals. The very first book-cafe I knew was in Capitola, California. I loved the combination of books and coffee, which was later popularized by Borders and Barnes and Noble.

Mr Toots, on Capitola Beach is another fun and funky place, going back to the 1980s. I spent many a wonderful time there with a girlfriend, drinking chai or coffee in between beach time. Before sunning at the beach was recognized as a health hazard.

In recent years, a trip to a coffee-bookstore was a “family” ritual for a group of people I spent time with. There was a lovely little bookstore-coffee shop in downtown Pacific Grove (now under different ownership and not the same). I loved sitting around the table with our coffees, talking books and trash.

And then there’s the Big Sur Bakery and its coffee artisans. Many, many weekend mornings there. Either sitting on the sunny terrace or inside on a foggy morning.

M. is a Starbucks man. And no fancy drinks, either. Black drip coffee is his poison, and the New York Times.

When I’m out, a regular drip coffee doesn’t do anything for me. Hell, I could make that at home and it’d be much better.

No, if I’m out, I want a chai tea latte. Or a nonfat mocha, no whip. Or, if it’s Christmas time and the weather has a little California bite, a cinnamon dolce latte. (Coffee is just not the same in Florida.)

Coffee’s big business. But for me, it’s a ritual replete with memories of wonderful times gone by.

And good times to come.

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