Monday, April 14, 2008

When did you start your addiction?

Last years flowers still hanging out after new growth appears

Of course we all have addictions. Some are legal and some are not so legal. If you are reading this blog, you probably have a thing for needles and yarn. Maybe you also like a little FO every once and a while. If you're me you might have a huge thing for FO. I can't get enough of them and the cool thing is that I can get at least one a week unless I am struggling with something like the Big Green Monster.

Now I feel a little dirty after writing all that, but I have another addiction. I started a bit younger than most. I have to blame the start of this addiction on my mother. She would cringe every time I would tell people at the age 5 that “I loved coffee” and people would look at her like she was crazy for giving me this adult beverage. Ok so it was not straight coffee it was as my husband likes his coffee, a little coffee with my milk. My mother allowed me to heat up milk in the microwave (a new to us and came with the house appliance) and then place an exact number of instant coffee crystals in my coffee. The number of crystals was based on my age. So when I tell you that I loved the taste of coffee and that I am very picky, you understand that I learned to discern the taste of milk with and without and I loved the special little taste that coffee added. I also loved things made with coffee.

It was another 5 years later at the age of 10 that I tasted real full blooded coffee. I was being watched by a friend of the family who did not have kids. That evening there was an adult function which I attended with my parents since I was practically a mini adult from the years of being an only child and only grandchild. I got to help this friend get ready. She asked me if I would like to make the coffee. I said ok and started to get out what I considered “coffee stuff.” After she finished laughing at my choice of items, she taught me how to set up Mr. Coffee. Her way quite intrigued me. She used ground coffee but she added ground cinnamon (my favorite breakfast cereal additive, yes odd, but remember only grandchild here). After it finished brewing, she let me have a taste and let me have it black, then with a little sugar, and then with cream added. Of course I needed all those things because of my little milk with coffee habit.

But by the time I reached 15 and had moved out of the house (ok moved to boarding school), I had developed a full blown coffee habit. I got myself down to black Kenya AA coffee. The stuff was heaven in a mug. I loved it and my 2 pot a day habit (listen don't judge me it was only a 4-cup coffee maker). Maybe a bit much because at the age of 18 my body started rejecting caffeine. This was totally not fair because chocolate had also become off limits to me. Chocolate made me lose my lunch (even the smell of it) and Coffee made me have convolution. Upon graduation from high school, I cut out the coffee and learned to love tea. Let me tell you, I thought tea was vial. Most disgusting stuff ever. The only stuff in the college cafe that I could bear to drink was the mint tea. After a year of drinking mint tea I loved the cool menthol taste. I stayed off coffee for a total of two years.

During that time I loved my mint, but I had discovered Chai tea. Yes yes that means tea in another language but Chai had this almost coffee flavor that I loved. It lead me back into coffee. It did not help that if a guy wanted to hang out with you but not “ask you out”, they would ask if you wanted to go for coffee. Now this coffee house things was new to me. They had all these strange words on the reader board. I tried them all. At first I picked and chose what sounded interesting, pretty soon I get started with the first item and worked my way down. I was back to my old love of milk and coffee. The latte was picked for the nice coffee flavor and its cheap price tag and giant mug. I could sip at it all night and not get another.
As graduation drew near, I looked for a place to attend art school. I wanted to knit for a living but first I wanted a degree in art. Where else did I land but in the Pacific Northwest, the land o Starbucks. I started heading to Starbuck because my fav store was not out here. I stuck to drinking Chai lattes since I did not really care for the taste of 4buck's house coffee. Luck would not allow me to continue drinking my Chai's and coffee because my convolutions came back. Stupid things. At this point I switched to herbal chai (without a speck of caffeine) and Steamers. I never felt deprived but my coffee maker felt deprived.

My return back to coffee was 3 years ago. I probably drink on an irregular basis the same amount of coffee that I did back when I was in High School. I don't have an every day habit, because I don't need the caffeine but I love the taste and nothing can chase that love away. I hope I have kicked the convolutions in the teeth. Every allergist I have visited has told me there is no part of coffee that could cause me those problems nor do I have an allergy any more.

I know I have become spoiled living in the abundant land of coffee where on every corner. Even out in the sparsely populated areas, you can find a coffee shack (for the uninformed, this is a trailer like building that is permanently placed in the middle of a parking lot so that you just drive up and get what you need.) I realize this every time, I leave the NW, because I miss being able to decide I want coffee instead of having to hunt for coffee. I know there are 4bucks in every state in the Union but I don't go there. It is not anything thing against big business or any such thing. I just don't like the burnt coffee I can taste every time I get a glass.

Currently I am in the fifth largest city in the US, in the land of my birth, but I think the only coffee place I have seen has been Starbucks. Any one know a good coffee place in Houston?