Friday, September 26, 2014


I was searching Google Images for a picture for this post when it occurred to me
to take a picture of my own mug of coffee. By this time in my daily routine, the coffee
 level is way down in the mug - almost time for a second cup.

I read somewhere that the 29th of September is National Coffee Day. It is also our son Richard’s birthday, but that’s relevant only because he is a master coffee lover. We all are in this family. I can do two cups, occasionally three, of regular in the morning and perhaps a cup – decaf now – in the evening after dinner. 

I’m back to drinking my coffee without sugar. I’d had it that way for my first coffee-drinking years because that’s the way my mother drank it – I never thought of sugar. But back in the early 60’s when we were converting the bank’s checking accounts to computer, I had many late-night sessions trying to get it all to prove.  At that time there wasn’t a fast food restaurant on every corner – LOL, not even a handy bar on every corner in that neighborhood – so I started to add sugar to my coffee for a little bit of extra energy value. I kept up using sugar until just about this time last year. For some reason I grew to dislike the sugared coffee and just stopped using it. I am really loving my coffee again.

Scandinavia leads the world in per capita coffee consumption, Norway being fourth down on the list after Finland, Sweden and Denmark. (The Norwegians have always believed in moderation.)  So where did I have the worst cup of coffee I ever tasted? Of course, Norway.  I suppose the Norwegian rail system, the NSB, is known for its excellent service, but not for its cuisine, shall we say.  And I also suppose that in that early hour of the morning, heading on the train from Kristiansand to Stavanger, it was easier for them just to use the leftovers from the night before. I’ve had awful coffee – that stuff at the bank that had sat there on the hot plate for hours is a prime example – but before this it all was passable, drinkable.  This Norwegian stuff really tasted like paint thinner, like panther pee - though really, I can only imagine those flavors. Whew! Very worthy of entry into the Coffee Hall of Shame. I must say that we did have some great coffee in Norway, but they are hardly remembered in light of that railroad swill.

The best cup of coffee I ever had? Right here in the U.S.A.: Vermont, to be specific, at the original King Arthur Flour shop in Norwich. Frank and I went up there on a regular basis to stock up with their flour, the best, and other cooking and baking ingredients. On this particular trip there was new coffee to go with our traditional purchase of a baked goodie. It was the late 90’s, and the first time we’d ever seen or heard of the Keurig coffee pods. We picked the Green Mountain Coffee Vermont Country Blend – after all, we were in Vermont. Not knowing how good it might be, we selected the smallest serving – wrong! It turned out to be the best coffee we’d had to that date. We should have gone for the biggest size. Vermont Country Blend is still Frank’s favorite.

When the Keurig machines became available for home use we got right on the band wagon.  Sure the pods are expensive, now around 60¢ a pop, but they’re better than anything from Starbucks. (I have to wonder at the folks who line up at Starbucks each morning and fork over a lot of cash for their daily fix. An investment in a Keurig and the many varieties of pods and many available dairy coffee flavorings would save them wads of money – not to mention time spent on those lines.) I’ve sort of justified the cost in my mind because we are getting a fresh cup of coffee every time, and because we don’t leave any coffee sitting, undrunk and burning, on a hot plate. And at times, with great double coupons and coincidental sales, I’ve gotten the price well below 30¢. And now the super market chains are getting in on the act with their own house blends – pretty good ones in fact.

So, all this looks like a testimonial for Keurig – it was unsolicited, to be sure. We dread the times when our machines have broken down – and this has happened. I’ve got a pound of coffee stashed in the freezer and our old coffee maker is up in the pantry, just in case, but I’ve not had to resort to the old way of brewing. The big box stores are open every day and we’ve been able to replace the machine toot sweet, but I’m still really leery of being without my coffee.  

And do you want to know my favorite flavor of ice cream?  Coffee, of course!

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