Here in Oregon, we’ve got coffee kiosks on every corner, and I never stop. I don’t drink coffee. It’s not a health thing. I hate coffee. I can choke down coffee-flavored ice cream, and I have drunk a wee bit of Irish coffee (whiskey, whipped cream, sugar, and a littlecoffee), but you won’t catch me walking around with a Starbucks or Dutch Brothers cup of java. I have nothing against those places. I love their pastries. But I’m not a coffee drinker. I think it’s genetic. My mother didn’t like the taste either.
Coffee is almost a religion here in the Pacific Northwest. We’ve got our own Newport Bay Coffee Company, as well as our Starbucks, Pirate Coffee Company, Espressgo, Coffee Stop, Dutch Brothers, Pacific Grind, Central Roast, and more. Some folks can’t seem to get through their day without hitting the drive-through. One actually HIT the drive-through in June at Dutch Brothers in Newport. She lost control of her car on the way in and wiped out a stop sign, a fire hydrant and some landscaping, ending up with her car on its side. Emergency vehicles and curious crowds lined the street like it was a parade, but the woman was not hurt, and the coffee-pouring resumed shortly after the car got towed away. She was arrested for DUII. I guess she really needed her coffee.
I don’t understand why people need so much coffee. I’ve noticed lines at the coffee places even on Christmas and Thanksgiving when presumably wherever people are going will have coffee. Folks get coffee on the way to get coffee. Of course what they’re buying may be fancy espresso drinks instead of just plain coffee. But how do they manage the expense and the calories? And how do they sleep at night with all that caffeine?
My late husband was a coffee guy, but just regular joe, please. Black. Strong. He’d buy bags of coffee beans and grind them up in this fancy grinder that sounded like it was shredding bones. An early riser, he took the grinder out into the garage so as not to wake me up. He could drink coffee at night and go to sleep just fine while a sip of his mother’s kahlua (made of vodka and coffee) would have me staring at the ceiling for hours. It was a sad day in Fred’s progression through Alzheimer’s Disease when he forgot how to make coffee.
I come from a different tribe. I drink tea. I require tea. Strong black iced tea at lunch, herb tea the rest of the time. I have been known to avoid restaurants that don’t serve iced tea, so I guess my addiction is just as bad as that of the coffee heads’. Most coffee places serve tea, but it varies in tastiness. Starbucks, for the record, I hate your chai tea.
My favorite coffee place is Arrowhead Chocolates in Joseph, Oregon, way in the northeast corner of the state. Arrowhead was the go-to place for those of us camping out at the Fishtrap writers workshop at Wallowa Lake last month. It has Wi-Fi, air conditioning, chocolate and yes, coffee from Stumptown Coffee Roasters. Plus, they have great tea. The owners take pride in coming up with new blends of teas, stuff I can’t even explain, but it always tastes good and is served over honest-to-God ice. Heaven.
Dear coffee drinkers, I don’t get it, but we’re each welcome to our own addictions. If you come to my house, I’ve got plenty of tea. If you need coffee, I’ve got some of that, too, but you’ll have to brew it yourself. I don’t remember how to work the coffeemaker either.
What’s your favorite caffeinated beverage?