Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Evolution of a Coffee Junkie

It all started for me with the Starbuck's Frappuccino....isn't that where it always starts? I was in college. I was Baptist. Our version of going out for "drinks" involved what was evoked from a espresso machine and not from a pub or club or bar. Actually, I take that back, I can remember my first espresso dating back to high school. Mulino, Oregon is a town with a population less than 3,000. My oldest friend and I decided to pay the first and newest in-town business a visit, which was a rinky-dinky drive through espresso stand. We walked. I ordered a Latte. She ordered a Mocha. I was a rookie. I didn't know that it would have been a better idea to order a flavor to accompany my latte. I hated it. I liked my friend's mocha a little bit more. (or the chocolate in it no doubt). It wasn't until college, however, that this kind of socializing happened on a regular occasion. I remember moving on from the Frappuccino to the white mocha. I felt more like a coffee drinker with something other than the Frap. It's such a beginner's drink. From there I started dating a hunk (whom I married) who drank Americanos. He liked the real stuff, no artificial gunk, but the rich flavor of true coffee accented with cream. I suppose this is where it became serious for me. Once I could drink coffee for the sake of coffee, and no longer for the sake of having a sweet treat over conversation, I knew that it was here to stay. I still enjoy a 1/2 the chocolate mocha or a 1 pump-vanilla caramel machiatto here and there, but on a normal morning we've been relying on freshly ground beans and our in-house French Press. Rich and delicious without much bitter. Just how we like it.

I'm curious, particularly from those of you that commented on my last post and share a love with me of your cup of Java, how did it start for you? Did you start with a tin of Folgers and a black Mr. Coffee pot? or did you start out like me, with the sweet stuff that evolved into the richness and joy of the pure flavor? Do you still only drink coffee from a "coffee shop"? or, did you start drinking coffee in some greasy-spoon diner somewhere? Let's here it.

12 comments:

Jen Green said...

K - I loved this post! It brought back so many memories. I remember you drinking Fraps. I started drinking coffee occasionally when I was a kid (8th or 9th grade) but always with cream. My junior year of high school I tasted my first Rhumba Frappaccino (they got rid of them after after a few years and good thing or I would weight 400 lbs right now.) From then on I was hooked. I frequented Starbucks as often as my small income would allow and even sometimes more than that. In college I tried to limit myself to a Sunday Starbucks run and a slice of Great Harvest bread but I could never keep to just once a week. My junior year at WB I was introduced to Javalation, the best drive through coffee stand in the world (and they had punch cards). It was right by the Texaco gas station and Carl's Junior on Lancaster, you had to have gone there at least once while you were at WB. That became my demise. I would plan my day around their iced mochas with whipped cream to die for. In the spring when I was working in the gym as a cage worker I would drive through before my shift and then sit on the counter in the ice/uniform room and play my guitar and drink my 22oz iced mocha that would last all night. Since I moved to Japan I don't get much starbucks, it just doesn't taste the same here and they don't have decaff espressos. When we first moved here they were still selling Rhumba Frapps so of course I had a few of those until Lola came along and I had to cut back on my caffeine intake. 2 years ago Amy bought me a Bialetti espresso maker (italian) and I have wonderful espresso in the comfort of my own home (where the barista speaks english). But you know nothing beats a cup of black coffee with breakfast and a french pressed coffee with dessert.
We make the italian espresso and pour it over vanilla ice cream, it's to die for.

Jonathan said...

Yeah, it started with the Starbucks Carmel Macchiato, then White Choc Mocha, then Americanos, finally to the fresh roasted french press black. I still enjoy going to the coffee shop as much as I can, especially in Europe, but I've quit the sweet stuff unless it's a special occasion.

Oh, it began some in high school. We'd go to the Borders coffee shop in Eugene, but it was really WBC that hooked me. This sounds funny, but there's a certain romance to a great cup of coffee.

KA said...

Jen - haha, I enjoyed reading your comment. Yes, I have fond memories of both Great Harvest and Javalation as well. I can just see you playing your guitar, not working, and drinking your javalation iced mocha. the espresso poured over the ice cream sounds amazing!
when are you guys coming home? and is home going to be in WA, or somewhere else?

Jonathan - we share a similiar track to black coffee. haha I agree that there is a romance to a great cup of coffee, and i would be enjoying the culture of european coffee shops as much as possible as well. Enjoy!

Julie A said...

I also love this post. Ha. I am such a coffee fanatic. I started drinking coffees every Thursday when I had a two hour biology lab followed by a three hour Chemistry lab. My body wasn't used to the caffeine so It felt like I was on crack. I would order a iced white chocolate mocha with whip cream. I would drink it really fast so the caffiene would enter my system rapidly. Since then I too have evolved to simply loving the taste of coffee itself. Our absolute favorite coffee shop shut down yesterday so I am going to have to find an alternative to my morning ritual. They made a killer cup of coffee. I might have to give the french press a shot. You might get a call from me for some pointers. The sad thing is that I could keep writing a long time about this topic. I barely scratched the surface:) Love ya girl. You have the best posts.

Grandpa said...

I have to post a response on this one. When i 1st drank coffee Starbucks had yeat to be invented. My 1st cup of Joe was in a little greasy spoon in Rexburg Id called Bill's Cafe in about 1970 when I was about 16. Bill's has since been wiped out by the flood of 1976. I needed two heaping teaspoons of sugar just to get it down but that's what I had to do to look cool. My friends & I spent our remaining high school spare time hanging out & Bill's and Stockman's Cafe drinking sugar & coffee for a dime. Free refills.
In collage a few years later a seasoned veteran coffee drinker friend challanged me to drink 2 -3 cups w/out the sugar I had developed a taste for. I had to force that down as well but again... I wanted to be cool and sugar wasn't cool. I never took sugar in my coffee again. In the last 40 years I have evolved a taste for freshly ground beans with a dash of 1/2 & 1/2 if a available. If not I go black. I don't think I could force down a cup with any sugar at all now.
Whats a Frappaccino anyway?

The Timmerman's said...

I used to think I was a coffee lover but over the last year I've realized I was just a fake! I think it was more of a social thing for me rather than really liking the taste of coffee. The only time I drink it now is if I'm really in need of a good pick me up or I am going out to catch up with one of the girls. And I always get the same thing...a grande vanilla latte (extra hot during the winter and iced during the summer).
I didn't start drinking coffee until I moved to the Pacific NW. The small town in Nevada that I grew up in didn't even have a coffee shop until my senior year of high school (and it was where all the "druggies" and "skater kids" hung out so it intimidated me).
I definitely enjoy my latte every once in awhile, but it's not something I can't live without. Unfortunately, my can't live without drink of choice at the moment is a Diet Pepsi with lemon. It just hits the spot!
Hope you and the fam are doing great!

KA said...

Julie - I just remember a time at WB when we were seniors and a group of us ran into you aimlessly at starbucks/great harvest. We offered to buy you a coffee, you may have just flunked a final over at willamette, (haha) and you told me that you were secretely hoping to run into somebody you knew so they would buy you a coffee. it's occasions like this that make me feel so fond for you!

KA said...

Dad - what i wouldn't give to have a picture of you and your buddy at Bills at age 16 with your white greasy spoon mugs in one hand and the sugar container in another. I can just see you, looking cool. Thanks for commenting, Love you!


Kari - the diet pepsi with lemon sounds pretty good. but i have to say, it's no good cup of coffee. :) Miss you crazy woman!

Heather said...

I have such great memories of coffee... My parents were big Folgers drinkers. I remember even as a young child enjoying the smell of the coffee grounds. My parents were black all the way, but they drank it pretty weak. I think I started having a cup on Sunday afternoons with my dad after church when I was in Junior High. As the addiction grew, I started taking coffee to school when I was a junior in High School! Still - black, like my parents. I'd enjoy the occasional Mocha, Carmel Macchiatto, or Frappaccino with my friends, but I still loved the black coffee.

When I got to college, my dear roommate Jamie and I made coffee every morning. I then realized the huge difference that freshly ground, good quality beans make. I'm ashamed to say that I've become quite the coffee snob! I can't hardly drink my parents Folgers anymore, nor can I drink the coffee they make at my work - horrid stuff!

I stopped using a drip coffee machine a few years ago when it broke. I took it apart and realized how gross the tubes had become. And I actually cleaned it once every month or so! I bought a French Press and that has become my go to cup every morning and I love it so much more. With freshly ground beans, of course! I also have a Bialetti espresso maker that I use for special occasions. :) The next thing I want to get is a Chemex coffee maker. It basically makes drip coffee that you pour yourself. Then when my parents come over I can make them some weaker coffee that they will enjoy more.

By the way, I can't drink flavored coffee any more. It makes me sick to my stomach. If I go to Starbucks these days it's either black coffee or a cappuccino. I love the taste of the espresso with just a little bit of cream and the yummy foam on top. Oh how I love coffee...

Chris/ty said...

I started drinking it regularly at WBC too... Gradually I liked less and less flavor and now I only drink it in the morning with a splash of non-fat vanilla creamer. :)
I remember skipping chapel or going late just so we could go to that coffee place by all those gas stations with Julie and Kelee. Good times.

Julie A said...

Hey Kiki,
I enjoyed talking to you the other day even though it was brief. I remember when I ran into you guys at Starbucks. That was awesome. So halarious looking back at that situation. I thought for sure I just failed my Chemistry final and prolonged my graduation date. I had no money when I walked into Starbucks, just hoping somebody I knew would be in there. I am so glad you guys were there!!! Couldn't have wished for better company.

Magnolia said...

KeriAnn... I remember getting that coffee with you. Then I ended up working at the MillBarn Espresso.

I know this is an old post, but I am having so much fun going through all of your blogs.

Miss you Bee.


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