Saturday, October 3, 2009

Coffee in the Morning

I need coffee in the morning; it is not exactly an option. I’ve been known to chew coffee beans to wake up enough to remember how to use the coffee pot. My one true talent is sleeping, but this talent does not include waking up.

I rarely make my own coffee, thankfully, the munchkins at work make it for me. Since neither drinks coffee, they don’t mind making it strong enough to induce heart tremors. Wonderful! Coffee should not only have a flavor, it should be felt in the chest.

Sadly, I think the true enjoyment of drinking coffee is vanishing. I seem to be the one of the few who still truly enjoy a cup of Joe. Oh, half my class shows up every morning carrying something from Starbucks, but a half-decaf-double-mocha-skinny-fat-crappachino hardly qualifies as coffee. It’s more like a hot milk shake.

If you truly like the taste of coffee, why put all that crap into it? You put enough milk, sugar, cinnamon, and chocolate sprinkles into 30 weight motor oil and it won’t taste bad either.

Coffee is usually one of the things professors list when someone mentions “poor students.” Somehow, a student carrying a cell phone that cost more than my first car, an Ipod, and a $5 designer coffee does not exactly fall into the category of poor.

Have you ever wondered why coffee is called a cup of Joe? There is a great story that Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels outlawed alcohol on US naval ships in 1914, ending the long tradition of grog and rum. Since the strongest drink left on ships was coffee, they called it a cup of Joe in his honor.
This is a great story, not true, but still a great story. That’s okay. I’ve always believed that there is so little truth in the world that we shouldn’t waste it, we should use it sparingly.

So, unofficially, I can tell you there are five grades of coffee; Coffee, Java, Joe, Jamoke, and Carbon Remover. On any given day, I’m happy to have anything in the top three categories. The bottom two can only be made by true coffee illiterates; tea drinkers, the US Army, and Mormons.

I didn’t believe another category was possible, at least I had always believed this until today. Now, I can now add to the top of the list; Peaberry. I don’t mean the chain of coffee shops; I’m talking about a type of coffee.

Peaberry, or caracoli, is when the coffee cherry produces a single seed instead of the usual double. With more space to develop, the bean is pea shaped. Since the bean is rounded and lacks edges, the bean roasts more evenly. In all, the taste is far more intense and robust.

Robust is putting it mildly. Think coffee on steroids. Coffee good enough to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained glass window. Strong enough to grow hair on a billiard ball.

Unfortunately, it is expensive enough that you may have to finance your first cup.


  1. There really are not many people who enjoy proper coffee these days.
    Personally I learned to like coffee sitting nightwatches in the norwegian Air Force. There we made coffee that was strong enough to stand up on it's own. I still make it the same way we used to make it in the guard room, which I credit as the reason my civilian friends don't come over for coffee anymore...

  2. I agree completely. I have never heard anyone say they needed a weak cup of coffee?

    Do you still live in Norway?

  3. I still live in Norway and it is so cold now that I have increased my coffee intake in order to stave off constant hypothermia.
    One of your history students was an exchange student at my college.(Nice to meet an american who cares about things outside the US.)He tipped me to this blog.

  4. You will be happy to hear that Mr. Briley just finished, quite successfully, my Early American Military History course. I belive he has just graduated and is looking at a Masters in Geography.

    Are you in the Norwegian army?

  5. Honourably discharged from the Royal Norwegian Air Force. Quit the military to go to college. Political Science.
    Looking to finish the degree off-campus, and then use it as a base for a masters in Intelligence and Security.