Voulez-vous un café?
For us coffee lovers, the java bean can be a highly debatable topic. So, what’s all the bumble about? Well, some are dedicated to a certain type of roast and dare not stray from their ultimate brand/love, whereas others are experimental in their tastes and always willing to try the latest and greatest on the market, including brewing machines themselves. Then, there is the general umbrella of caffeinated or decaffeinated–the latter category of drinkers leaving the first to question, ‘Why even waste your money?’. Add in the topic of whole bean vs. already ground, the type of grind, etc. and a once simple subject suddenly gets very complicated and opinionated.
I’ve always loved coffee and as a child, I can remember taste-testing my mom’s cup many a time—the smell of the brew intoxicating even back then. I’ve also been a longtime fan of anything coffee-flavoured, which not all people are even if they consume the real deal; most often because the imitation stuff tastes nothing like the original. It just so happens that I am an impartial subject on the matter and enjoy both. Like myself, avid coffee drinkers tend to have fond memories of it from an early age, it seems.
Once I began University and hit the working world, coffee and its stimulating effects were quite simply a necessity, as is the case for many folks. I never went overboard though, as some are known to do (i.e. the energy drinks of today) and at the time, I drank the run-of-the-mill caffeinated brand, adding in cream and sugar to my liking–nothing extravagant by any means, nor could I have afforded anything different. When I started suffering from panic attacks, however, my whole java routine had to change drastically since indulging in caffeine was a big no-no, as is the case with others who suffer various afflictions. If not borne out of need, some people’s take on the great debate between caffeine vs. not comes about as a result of the ever-changing research, which seems to support one over the other, depending on the day. Then, there is the majority of the population who will simply decide for themselves what their morning cup of joe will be based on taste. With me, for the longest time after being diagnosed with anxiety, I had to leave my favourite bean drink behind and switch to herbal teas–not exactly the same, but a decent fill-in. If you’ve ever had to shift gears like me, it can be quite difficult (especially at first), but the ensuing result is usually reason enough to keep up with the change. In my case specifically, restricting caffeine also meant having to limit my other favourite drink of choice –sweetened iced tea–and lo and behold, chocolate was a problem too:-(. Now, for us women, that is a pure travesty and probably the most difficult addiction to break, even above coffee. Luckily, over time, when I learned how to control my anxious tendencies, I was slowly able to add some of my favourites back into my daily life and so came the switch to decaf. Since it still contains some traces of caffeine, I definitely had to limit myself, but at least it was doable and more importantly, I recognized the signs of when to back off, such as periods of high stress, etc. As a side note, I also incorporated exercise which was a huge help in every way, separate from monitoring my intake of things, including sugar—another major culprit.
Today, I still try to stick to more decaf products than not, leaving some hard-core leaded drinkers to wonder why myself and people like me even bother in the first place. I guess in my mind, decaf or not, I am still part of ‘the club’ that I so enjoy being a member of, and that counts for something since psychology definitely plays into it all. After all, I think java connoisseurs, regardless of the sort, would agree that they simply look forward to having something tasty in their morning mug–a ritual that seems to helps them get their day started off on the right foot, if you will. Without it, one can feel lost and even out of sorts.
As an addition to this subject, I will also say that thanks to our trips to Hawaii in recent years, I’ve been introduced to 100% pure Kona beans, which tend to be some of the least acidic, less potent ones out there. Pure delight, really. I mean, once you’ve tried them, there really is no going back when you are reaching for the fully-leaded drink in particular, though the cost of up to $90+ US a pound can be a bit of a deterant. As a treat, however, I can assure you that the beans are worth every penny and something that I very much look forward to sneaking it into my repertoire on weekends, especially. Maybe you have found a similar gem? The good news is that between my Kona coffee and my homemade mocha indulgences (thanks to my husband’s gift of a Breville espresso maker a few years back), the two seem to balance out in that I don’t have to pay $5.00 a cup at Starbucks/Second Cup, which would likely add up way more quickly than my favourite Hawaiian export. The very best part about my espresso machine is that I can purchase decaf beans to brew, and yes, there is such a thing! If you haven’t tried a decaf espresso drink, namely a mocha, you really ought to—it’s simply delectable and you might just surprise yourself in not being able to tell the difference.
On that note, I will leave you with a little joke that my husband made this morning related to the whole java discussion. It’s one of those grit-your-teeth kinda jokes that only we may find funny, but I feel compelled to share it anyway. As we were brewing our morning pot of decaf, our pint-sized coffee maker let out some very loud snorts of air toward the end of its cycle. He kidded that the machine must have been snoring at the thought of having to serve up something decaffeinated. Hopefully, I have not left you snoring at the end of this blogpost:-). If so, just reach for a double espresso–that should wake you up!