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Espresso Love

March 5, 2008

When I was growing up, it was a given in my house that Mother IT was never going to consider making a move in the morning until she had consumed her requisite 2 cups of coffee.  I never understood her affection for the bean.  Then and now, it’s taken black, no sugar.  Bleck.  Ask her and she will tell you the story of how she learned to drink it that way.  In college, she belonged to a sorority and lived in their house.  At dinner, male students were hired to serve, literally, as waiters for the girls.  When it came time to coffee after dinner, you could get the coffee yourself, but cream and sugar had to be brought by one of the men, which was “horribly embarrassing.”  She learned to drink her coffee forgoing the luxuries of cream and sweetener.  That story alone should tell you that I am not always that much like my mom.  I’d be pulling a “Oh boy, boy!  Come forth and provide me with dairy!”  But I digress.

Flash forward four decades, and you have someone who, like her mother, cannot exist without imbibing a caffeinated beverage in the morning.  I tried giving it up, but I was grumpy, and who needs that?  Plus, it speeds up your metabolism, ever so slightly.  And who needs a slow metabolism?

I bought a coffee maker recently, but I’m not really down with the drip.  Overall I prefer espresso based beverages over ice.   But if that’s what’s available, I’ll glad down a hot cup o’ joe, just to get my fix.

I’ve heard over the past year a lot of people talking about coffee.  Strangely enough, for people who have such strong opinions, none of these people actually drinks coffee.  But they feel like they can talk about it.  No more I say, no more.  I am here to dispel the rumors that you folks perpetuate…

First, it’s time to stop saying that all coffee tastes the same.  Yeah, right.  Just like all wine/soda/beer/bottled water tastes the same.  You may find people argue about which tastes better, with “better” being subjective, but you cannot really argue that it all tastes the same.  There are differences in the kind of bean as well as how it’s brewed and served that equal differences in taste.

Second, again, “best” is subjective.  So while people say that McDonald’s coffee is just as good as Starbucks, they mean that they LIKE it as much as Starbucks, although I certainly don’t see how that could be. 

But that’s the joy of opinions.  Everyone has one.  And here are mine.  My favorite coffees, in descending order.  Remember, I’m ordering iced lattes for the most part, so that’s what the judging was based on.

5. McDonald’s – I’ve heard people rave about their iced coffees – so good!  So cheap!  I’m at a loss for that.  They’re bitter, for the most part, and don’t have a very pronounced coffee flavor.  I get these when it’s convenient.  Say, Little IT’s going to the ear doctor and is starving for a meal, and McD’s is nearby – great, I can kill two birds with one stone.  But I certainly don’t seek them out. 

4. Starbucks – sure, I like them.  The one in my town is very good.  But I find their iced latte to be a bit too strong, as as rule.  And they’re the priciest option, never a good thing. 

3. Dunkin’ Donuts – a good choice when I am getting Little IT breakfast on the go before school, so it goes with the two birds vote.  They tend to be a bit weak, so sometimes I ask for an extra shot. 

2. Seattle’s Best – this is a sad one, because we don’t have very many of these around NY or NJ.  But when I see a store or counter, I’m there.  Newark terminal A?  There.  Newark Airport next to Borders?  There.  My closest Borders in White Plains closed, and with that, my dreams of SBC. 

1. Chock Full O’Nuts – yes, hard to believe, but good old Choc makes a great iced latte.  They’re large, and very tasty.  They’re also located in my workplace.  Coincidence?  Maybe.  I’d probably go the most to whatever was closest to me, but I really do like them.  The Hoboken one has horrifically long lines in the morning, but I wait.  It’s worth it.  They’re perfect, at least to me.  Good milk to espresso ratio.  Damn tasty coffee. 

Feel free to agree/disagree/flame violently in the comments.  Remember, these are my opinions and your mileage may vary. 

4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 5, 2008 7:59 pm

    I make 4 cups every morning with Stew’s hazelnut mixed with a columbian using my farberware perculator. So yummy. “Don’t talk to me till I’ve had my coffee”
    This was actually the first gift on a magnet that my husband (then boyfriend) gave me. Boy did he know me.

    I also love dunkin’ donuts. I think Starbuck’s is too bitter for me but it’s the only cool place in our town so I go there often. I have had seattle’s best but only in airports as well. I do like it though.

    My hubby drinks it black and his story is that somebody dared him and then he got used to it.

    I am a light and sweet kind of girl. Now with skim plus, fat free half and half, and a splenda I can still do this realatively low calorie.

    Now I am in the mood for a great cup of coffee.

  2. March 6, 2008 3:42 pm

    Hey I was a chi-o too like Mother IT 🙂 And sadly I was in college in the 90s and we also had male “busboys” that did our dishes.

    Ok so my opinions on java. McD’s lattes are too sugary for me but work in a pinch. Starbucks is predictably good and you can have it like you want it. Their beans sometimes taste over-roasted to me but it’s ok because I like my coffee stiff. I prefer making my own with a coffee press and espresso beans from Dean and DeLuca or getting mine from one of the local coffee joints – actually a place called Cognizent Coffee close to my house has DIVINE coffee – perfectly roasted. I also like Seattle’s Best – but alas we also only have those in select Borders stores and I don’t even know what the Choc Full O Nuts place is…I know – us midwesterners…

  3. March 7, 2008 12:54 pm

    I was a total tea drinker until the office started brewing Peet’s, and since Peet’s has no mild brew, I was an instant caffeine junky. It’s sort of a relief to taste DD’s mild sweetness when I’m on the east coast, but all-in-all the ever smoooooth Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf rocks, but only when they aren’t screwing up my order – that’s a morning buzz-kill. (ex-boy works at Peet’s home office, Sunday mornings I sneak in and they have a full barista set-up with all the syrups and flavors. It’s a half hour of good fun.)

  4. March 16, 2008 9:43 am

    Why not buy the very cool IT ILLY espresso maker in a great color and do it yourself at home. Put your savings in a college fund or better yet, you’d make a great “barista~”

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