Right now, the Crankee Yankee (my husband) and I are about the only people I know, besides my parents, who drink black coffee. Now that a mere cup of coffee has become a rather foo-foo drink, it’s rare to see anyone who likes their coffee “straight up.” It wasn’t always that way for me, though. When I was old enough to drink coffee, I loaded it up with milk, sugar, and when I could get away with it; chocolate syrup. It was more like a sundae than a cup of coffee. Gradually I just drank it black, and grew to love that bitter yet aromatic flavor.
I have been to the standard coffee stops, where I stand in gobstruck wonder at all the choices I hear people ask for–mocha latte, cappuchino, mochiatta, frappichino, etc. And then there are all the unique combinations of espresso with three pumps of this, that or something else. And toppings: grated nutmeg, sprinkles of Madagascar cinnamon, hazelnut dust, etc. It boggles the mind (well, my mind, anyway). When did coffee get so designer-y?
A good cup of coffee is for me the key to a good day. I love the taste and smell of it, and love the way it makes me feel. When I was a kid and went skiing on the weekends with my dad, we would always stop for lunch and have pretty much the same thing each time. Dad would have a burger with a black coffee, and I’d have a hot dog with a glass of milk. I used to equate drinking coffee with your lunch as the epitome of being grown up. Now that I do it, too, I find that lunch with a coffee is just as satisfying as my dad always thought it was.
I think our taste-buds mature just as we do. Remember how delicious Tang used to taste? For those of you who are not Baby Boomers, Tang was an orange-y gritty powder stirred into water and well highly preferred by kids over orange juice. (I just checked –Tang is still being made!) But the last time I took a sip of Tang on a dare, it gave me the sugar shudders–brrrrr!
But really–coffee now is a huge business. Flavored coffees; island coconut, hazelnut, vanilla creme, french toast, blueberry (urgh), caramel; you name it, there’s a coffee flavor for it. The only coffee I knew about growing up was either Maxwell House or 8 O’clock Coffee. My grandmother made it in a percolator, and its friendly “blurp, blurp, blurp” was part of the symphony of the morning along with bacon sizzling and toast popping up. Coffee is a ritual I love, and black is the way I love it.
The last time I went to one of those fancy-schmancy coffee shops, I ordered a modest mocha latte. Not only did I get a ‘well, what kind of provincial do we have here?’ look, but a pretty hefty price tag, too–$4.50. And of course, they want a tip for the privilege of making that modest mocha latte. Don’t get me wrong, it was good, but not $4.50 plus tip good.
So, tell me–how do you like your coffee? Anyone else like it just plain black with nothing in it? Just curious.