Friday, May 31, 2013

Coffee: Addiction or Healthy Drink of Choice?

“As long as there was coffee in the world, how bad could things be?”
― Cassandra Clare, City of Ashes

I was at Starbucks this morning reminiscing about my very first Starbucks experience.  I wandered into that first Starbucks in Denver, CO one crisp autumn morning because I was drawn to the line that snaked OUT THE DOOR.  I wondered to myself if this was the only coffee in town or was it simply THE BEST coffee in town?  Since I was on a business trip and the Starbucks was conveniently located across from my hotel, I decided to try my luck and wandered to the end of the line.  I reviewed the menu of choices: lattes and cappucinos with unpronounceable names and sizes.  It was like entering a whole new world.  Howard Schultz is the J.R.R. Tolkien of the coffee experience.

My precious.
Finally, the barista handed me the steaming cup of bitter, dark brew.  I inhaled deeply.  I was unaccustomed to such an over-roasted bean at that time and I ended up putting in a LOT of cream and sugar. I found myself a wee bit sad at the end of that first cup. Apparently, it only takes one.  I was hooked.

Since that day many, many years ago, I have consumed enormous quantities of Starbucks coffee.  So much so that a guy at work who does an impression of me always lifts his hand to hold an imaginary cup as he sashays in imitation across the office.  And I've branched out over the years to include tastes of other coffee shops but, still, nothing compares to that wonderful dark cup of delicious bitterness. 

I don't think I can live without coffee.  At least, I can't live in HAPPINESS.

I set out to find out a few facts about the bean to see if I can justify (or at least understand) my unquenchable thirst for java.  The last one is a zinger (that's called a teaser so you'll keep reading...I'm getting used to this whole blogging thing). 

  1. According to the National Coffee Association (yes, there IS such a thing), there is a legend that coffee was first discovered many centuries ago by Kaldi, an Ethiopian goatherd who noticed that his flock had trouble sleeping after eating some berries from some native trees.  Kaldi told some monks in the local monastery about this (because, obviously, monks are the first people you go to when you figure something out) and they made a brew from the berries.  The brew kept them awake during long prayer sessions (apparently, they had some pretty lengthy talks with God).  And the love affair with the bean began.
  2. According the International Coffee Organization (yes, there IS such a thing), over 1.6 BILLION cups of coffee are consumed worldwide every day.  I wonder if they're counting my six or more cups per day?  
  3. Many people say the French press is the best way to get a nice cup of joe.  But if you're hooked on an electric pot, there are multitudes of reviews out there for everything from a $15 Mr. Coffee to a $2,899 Impressa J9.3 One Touch TFT.  I calculated it out, and I can get 1,208 Venti cups of coffee for $2,899.  So, basically, that's over three years of once-per-day Starbucks minus the cost of coffee for the machine.  I am looking for a new coffee maker currently, but I probably won't spring for the Impressa.  
  4. The old warning that coffee will "stunt your growth" is untrue.  Coffee, however, DOES have some caffeine which stimulates the nervous system.  And, according to, more than one or two cups a day can cause anxiety, dizziness and sleeplessness.  WHAT?? 
  5. The world's most expensive coffee is Black Ivory Coffee.  It comes from beans taken right out of elephant poop.  Yep, this Canadian businessman feeds elephants coffee beans.  Then, after the beans are digested, they are harvested from the poop, sun-dried and then roasted.  And all this will cost you about $500 per pound.  Apparently, it's very smooth.  The tagline for their Web site reads: Naturally enhanced by elephants, ethically and with relentless passion. 
I will probably stay away from the Black Ivory Coffee but ONLY because I can't afford it.  If I had a private jet, I would fly up to that production facility post-haste and ask in my BEST redneck voice:  "Ya'll got some of that passionate poop coffee?"

Until then, I'll stick with my Venti dark roast.

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1 comment:

  1. I have a BUNN coffee maker. I am totally in love with it. It is so fast! Look into one.