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Mark's First Coffee (217.2) - Mark's Journal
Mark's First Coffee (217.2)
Coffee LabsThanks to zercool_panem for the interesting question about when and why we started drinking coffee, and how we take it.

I've always liked the taste of coffee, and my parents used to give us spoonfuls in our milk, back when they drank coffee. They both stopped, and switched to tea and Postum. (Now that's a blast from the past! Roasted grain instant hot beverage, anyone?) My mom eventually missed coffee, and started drinking decaf when she was working full-time. She "needs" a freshly brewed cup of decaf every morning, but can't take caffeine. (She also keeps "real" coffee in the freezer for visitors, but brewed in her Black & Decker cup-at-a-time brewer, it's awful. I drink tea, or make a run to Coffee Labs.)

It probably wasn't until I was at camp, and either a staff trainee (CIT) or a counselor, that I started intentionally drinking cups of coffee. The camp cafeteria had what was, no doubt, awful coffee, and I put milk and sugar in it. I can recall drinking lots of sweetened tea on cold mornings, but at some point switched to coffee. This may have coincided with increased morning responsibilities beyond managing to wake up, shower, and shuffle to breakfast.

Timber Lake West cafeteriaI have clear memories of the dining hall at camp; the coffee urns were against the front wall to the left of the food line. I guess there must've been pitchers of water and "bug juice" on the tables, with urns up front for refilling them, but that's less clear. Speaking of clear, there were beige plastic tumblers for the hot and cold drinks. The same was true at the staff lounge, where I occasionally also drank coffee or tea, on cold or rainy evenings. Were there other options? I somehow remember a refrigerator being in there, but don't recall if there was anything to drink other than tap water.

I don't think I was really ever in the coffee habit at high school or at home. Then I got in the habit of drinking a cup of coffee daily at breakfast at Noyes Dining, the west campus dining hall at Cornell that was later called Jansen's. (The alums who endowed the building were Agnes and Jansen Noyes, and I guess first names came in vogue.) We made better coffee at KDR, but nothing as good as we have now. It was the responsibility of whoever was on "PD/WU," or evening phone duty followed by morning wake-up duty, to make the first pot of coffee and hot water in the morning.

After college I drank lots of coffee at work. IT, don'tcha know. I don't really have a clear recollection of there being a coffee pot at Baka. You'd think there must've been, right? Maybe Mickie or Tom had one next door. I actually think I didn't drink all that much coffee, except from time to time at the Corners Deli, until I got in the habit of going over to JJ's Cafe with Peter. Mid-afternoon coffee and oatmeal raisin cookies became a big habit.

Pourover RemeraThere was passable coffee at CCC and then at 120 Maple Ave, especially when one of the more premium office brews was added. That got taken away, and now I buy office "frac packs" of Community Coffee for our kitchen. (I'd spent as much stopping for a retail cup of coffee on the way to work every day as I do on a supply of coffee to share.)

At home, I sometimes use my Senseo pod brewer for a single cup, or use a pourover brewing method when I'm in the mood for a better cup, or know I'm making more than one. I have a four-cup brewer with a nice matching thermal carafe, and guinness_duck's old combo 10-cup brewer and espresso machine for bigger batches or for brewing espresso. I virtually never touch it.

I drink so much coffee, 2-4 cups a day at work and lots of refills if I go out to breakfast or brunch, that I should probably be hopelessly addicted and have major withdrawal symptoms if I don't drink any. But, I probably went from an average of three cups a day to a cup every three days over the week-and-a-half break, and often don't bother having coffee at home on the weekend. I may just not addict easily.

CappuccinoThese days I drink brewed coffee black, almost exclusively. If it's really awful, I might add milk and sugar. Also love espresso, especially after dinner, and I occasionally go for a cappuccino if I'm in the mood for something froofier. (France and Italy do some things right.) I really slipped into the cappuccino habit thanks to the free cappuccinos at several stations at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference. I managed not to succumb to buying too many after returning home the first couple of years, but the arrival of the Queen of Tarts made it an easy temptation to succumb to.

What about you?
8 comments or Leave a comment
aregulardyke From: aregulardyke Date: January 17th, 2011 06:13 pm (UTC) (Link)

I Remember Coffee ...

Unfortunately, all I get to do is remember ! I can't drink coffee these days, mostly because the acid really upsets my stomach. If I want caffeine, I'm stuck with tea ... which isn't all that bad, but sure isn't the same ...

When in college, in the early 70's, I used to drink the equivalent of 3 Mr Coffe-sized pots, per day ! This was mostly because I was staying up half the night, doing the things rebellious college students do ... lol ... needed the coffee to make it to class.

I think my favorite coffee is one that has a good strong chocolate component ... otherwise, I like a medium roast, nothing too dark or thick. With cream, but never ever sugar ! Also, NEVER stuff like hazelnut or other flavors ... aside from chocolate ( and it's hard to find a good quality chocolate coffee ! ) I like coffee just as it is.

In the late 70's,I remember going to the old College Spa Restaurant late weekend evenings, and enjoying a tiny little cup of ( I think it was ? ) espresso, with a lemon peel in it. Delicious !

I really miss drinking coffee ... the aroma makes me want a cup, but I know I'll pay dearly, so I resist and don't indulge.

Oh, yeah ... I didn't drink coffee until I went to college in 1971. My Mother made pretty awful coffee ... wasn't her stong point. My Father still likes just plain 'American' coffee, the kind you find in a good diner ... tho at home, he actually PREFERS instant ! He can make it for himself, one cup at a time, and adjust the strength to his mood. I think he developed this strange preference around all the instant coffee he's drunk on camping and hunting trips.

Edited at 2011-01-17 09:18 pm (UTC)
mama0807 From: mama0807 Date: January 17th, 2011 06:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was probably about 12 when I started drinking coffee, but I didn't really get into the "habit" of it until college. I've recently scaled back on the caffeine and at home I drink decaf. I'll grab a cup of caffeinated from Wawa after dropping Meghan off at school on Weds and Thurs mornings, and also drink caffeinated at work.

I've let M have sips of my coffee...she used to like the iced coffee I would get at the Farmers Market every Saturday and she'll take tastes of my decaf.

Edited at 2011-01-17 09:14 pm (UTC)
marc_breaker From: marc_breaker Date: January 17th, 2011 07:05 pm (UTC) (Link)


First coffee was had cutting firewood, probably about age 10. Something to warm up while waiting for Dad to get the next tree picked out and lined up for dropping. I drank LOTS of coffee when I was in the Army, when we were in barracks Ralph, Darrel and I usually went through 10 or 12 12-cup pots a day. As a security guard I was drinking a 40-cup Urn in a 12-hour shift, 6 days a week. Now I seldom go all the way through a second 12-cup pot in a day. I prefer a darker roast, and have found that "Black Silk" from Folgers Select makes an excellent pot.

kitchenqueen From: kitchenqueen Date: January 17th, 2011 07:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was never a coffee drinker until I moved to the midwest. People would offer me coffee, and I would politely decline, while inwardly going, "OMG why would anyone drink such a vile brew??"

Once I moved here, my friend Dawn (who is from Seattle) made it her mission to make Jesse and me coffee drinkers. She started with her gateway drug - the mocha. We started having our small group meetings at their house, and we'd always have coffee or tea.

The nail in the coffin of being a non-coffee person came when we got our Keurig brewer. We got it for free. Jesse had been drinking coffee off and on, and we had the opportunity to get a free Keurig for using our Discover card. So he used it the one and only time - to buy coffee. I started having a cup once in a while, tasting the different roasts and flavors available in k-cups. I fell into the habit of having a cup every morning with my breakfast and morning pages. I still have a cup once in a while at small group, but always decaf. I'm more likely to partake of tea, since most of our ladies are tea or cocoa people.

On a semi-related note - my MIL and FIL are supermarket coffee drinkers. Alice brewed some during our visit last year, and it was VILE. Step away from the Maxwell House and nobody will get hurt.
mhaithaca From: mhaithaca Date: January 18th, 2011 02:45 pm (UTC) (Link)

The 8 O'Clock Coffee that A&P was famous for is actually pretty good stuff, and I remember the supermarket used to have a grinder at every checkout counter so you could buy a bag of beans and have it ground for you before you headed home. It's still around, but way harder to find.

I remember being pleasantly surprised that the canisters of real Folgers coffee, as opposed to Folgers crystals, are also pretty good.

But we now live in a world where everything from Gimme! Coffee roasted up the hill to the best coffees from around the world are a few clicks away.
kitchenqueen From: kitchenqueen Date: January 18th, 2011 03:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
Most places around here have a grinder in the coffee aisle where you can choose your beans and grind them yourself. Jesse has his own grinder and an airtight container where he keeps his beans. He's way more of a coffee snob than I am.

On a semi-related note, we have a grocery store in Algonquin that sells tea by the ounce. One of these days I'm going to invest in a tea ball and try some.
queenmabwords From: queenmabwords Date: January 18th, 2011 12:37 am (UTC) (Link)
My parents used to drink real, ground coffee long before I was a twinkle in my Dad's eye especially when they lived in the tropics, but by the time I was more than a twinkle, they had switched to instant. After #5 where they too tired to grind beans anymore? At some point when I had graduated college and was working I started making my own percolated coffee, I eventually convinced them to do the same by giving them and my siblings bean coffee for Christmas. I still give them coffee occasionally to keep them from backsliding, although most resist grinding their own.

I tried coffee a couple times in my parents' house, but didn't like the instant. I occasionally got diner coffee but it's espresso drinks that convinced my to get more serious about coffee, although not to the point of having my own espresso maker. I used to get espresso drinks in Ithaca once I worked at MacK. and was excited when O-town finally got their first espresso machine, even though they didn't turn it on until NOON in the first year or so after it was purchased. You can lead the horse to an espresso maker but you can't make them turn it on early.
sskipstress From: sskipstress Date: January 18th, 2011 02:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
When I was little, mom drank instant coffee with milk and sweet'n'low in the mornings before we all went to school. I can't remember how old I was when I first started making her morning cup with the same kettle of water I used to make instant oatmeal for my brother and me. Some time later, I learned how to make coffee with real coffee and a Melita filter, and I'd make that for her on weekends and snow days.

I didn't drink coffee until college, and then only when I went out for breakfast. After college I'd usually drink tea at work, but sometimes I'd have a cup of coffee, often mixed with Swiss miss because the coffee was pretty vile. When I lived in Austin, I would go to coffee shops to meet friends or read a book; that's where I started drinking cappuccino, which is probably my favorite drink made with coffee.

The best cup of coffee I ever had was in an ice cream shop in an underground shopping mall in Heidelberg, Germany. It was slightly sweet and not really bitter at all and full of the flavor of coffee the way that good dark chocolate is full of the flavor of chocolate.
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