Monday, April 10, 2017

The love of coffee ~ my column from Sunday's paper

I’m “procaffeinating” this morning. That’s the tendency to put off doing anything until I’ve had coffee. It’s an affliction that began early and I’ve struggled with it all my life.

The blame rests on the shoulders of my mother. We lived in the old house in Sloss Hollow when I was in grammar school and my older brother and sister were in high school.

My mom rose early and cooked breakfast for my dad, who left for work around 5:30 a.m. But the first order of business each morning was putting on the coffee. She was a little scary until she had her coffee.

After she got him off to work, she made another pot and had a few moments of peace to herself before she had to get us ready for school. During those moments, she sat at our old Formica kitchen table sipping her steaming cup of coffee.

I loved the smell of her coffee, so one morning I asked if I could have some. She thought for a moment and then poured a little coffee in a cup, put in milk with a spoonful of sugar and pushed it across the table to me. It was love at first sip.

Thankfully, my wife Jilda is also a coffee connoisseur too. I’m not sure I could have gone through with our wedding had she not been into coffee.

For years, we had a membership with Gevalia Coffee. Every month we received a new shipment. Coffee from Brazil has a different flavor than coffee from Africa.

One of our favorite kinds was Sumatra coffee from Indonesia. During the holidays, Gevalia shipped us flavored coffee, which was a treat. Hazelnut Mocha was one of our favorites, but there is no substitute for the “REAL THANG.”

Some of our favorite venues where we perform our music are coffee houses. Without exception, coffee houses are the best places to play. The people there tend to be ones who embrace new tastes, not only in coffee but in music.

We normally spend the money we make performing on bags of coffee for our stash at home. Music for the nectar of life seems like a fair trade for us. Our motto is: “Will Play For Coffee.”

Coffee first appeared on the African continent in Ethiopia during the 11th century. It quickly spread to Yemen, Istanbul and other countries in that region. The coffee flower smells like jasmine according to Wikipedia, and they called coffee beans, “The Magic Fruit.” I get that.

When either Jilda or I have a doctor’s appointment that requires fasting, it’s the lack of coffee that is problematic. Both of us are easy going people but encounters with us are risky on coffeeless mornings. (Is that a word?)

This morning, I sat tapping the keys trying to think of a topic for this column. I could hear our coffee maker gurgling in the kitchen. When Jilda asked if I’d decided on a topic yet, I shook my head.

She said, “You’re procaffeinating!” The coffeemaker beeped indicating that my morning fix was ready. I smiled, not only because I was about to enjoy that first taste of coffee, but also, I knew what my column would be about this week.

NOTE: I will be signing books at Jasper Mall today from 2 until 4 p.m. Y’all come by, say hello and bring me a cup of coffee if you don’t mind.


  1. I hope you get lots of visits - and coffee.
    I developed a sensitivity to it and had to give it up. It still smells divine though.

  2. I too love coffee, and I also love that you grew up in Sloss Hollow. There are NO Hollows in New Jersey.

  3. Im a big coffee drinker too. I remember mom giving me the same cup of serum when I was young. It was actually using my tiny tea set. I can drink it black if I had to, but I prefer a vanilla creamer.
    Have a successful day at the mall.

  4. I too am a coffee lover and pretty much start every day with a good cup of hot coffee. Last summer I even developed a taste for iced coffee. I too hope you have a great day at the mall with the books and the coffee!

  5. I have a cup of coffee to start my day and I like it with 10% cream, no sugar
    but I'm not a coffee connoisseur. I go to work at the farm very early when it's still dark and come home after the calves are all fed and bedded to have breakfast. I haven't learned how to have a leisurely cup of coffee.

    There was a time when I grinded my coffee beans to have a great cup of coffee until my husband claimed my coffee grinder to grind seeds and nuts to add to his cereal. It meant that I had to clean up the grinder every time, so I bought the ready ground coffee.

    The best cup of coffee I ever drank was from freshly roasted coffee beans that my son in law roast in his coffee bean roaster. So yummy.

    Hugs, Julia

  6. I enjoyed the Column. Thanks for the caffeine tribute and history lesson. Have a good one, I just did. I take it BLACK and hot.

  7. I had a different reaction to my first cup of coffee as a child. I felt cheated because it smelled so good but was sooooo bitter. I stuck with hot chocolate.

  8. Anonymous1:57 PM

    Black, please, with NO sugar; I'm a purist!!

  9. I'm a tea drinker. Never did like coffee. But it was a fun column.

  10. I love a good dark roast (Sumatra, yum!), but just realized there's so much I've yet to learn about those magical beans.

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  12. I never knew it smelled like Jasmine! Coffee is a wonderful ceremonial thing for me! The smell is able to transport me back to my childhood! The percolator Grammy used to be a comfort to me. Hubby does not like coffee at all, but are marriage has worked out :o) Drinking 1/2 and 1/2 now days, too much coffee gives me the jitters. Happy Easter and Spring 10/4 Good Buddy
    Hope this comment works!

  13. Coffee is a fast friend. My parents put some tablespoons of coffee and sugar in my milk to make me drink the milk. You and me, Rick & Jilda.


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