Monday, April 26, 2010

Espresso and Me

I love coffee. If there is one thing that I don't want to live without, that is it. When I was a kid, I said I would never drink the stuff. One too many times, I'd caught a whiff of 'coffee breath' from the adults, hovering around the room, on any given occasion. I think my own dad was known to have an entire pot, devoted just to his habit, at one point! I'm sure he's cut back some, now.

No, my drink of choice, as a teenager, was Mountain Dew. I would have one every day, after my paper route, along with a package of Reese's peanut butter cups. Now, I can hardly drink even one can of pop(unless it's on ice); the fizz is something I'm no longer used to. Funny how things change, over time, isn't it?

With the popularity of all the coffee shops around, it's no wonder that I'm hooked. I remember when I first walked into one of those places. I looked at the menu and wondered, 'what should I order?' Hot chocolate? A friend suggested, "Try a white mocha; it tastes kinda like chocolate and tones down the coffee a bit." So I did...and here I am, today--one of my favorite drinks!

But, there is this annoying thing called a budget. Yeah, going to coffee shops more than once a week really adds up fast. I usually go through the one place in town that has a drive-thru. Tuesday is my day for treating myself! I love the aroma of a good coffee shop. I could sit in one for hours and feel like I'm home...except I'm not, which means I can actually relax for a significant amount of time!

One of the best gifts I ever received was an espresso machine. My mom gave it to me on my 30th birthday. It is a gorgeous, stainless steel, Breville machine. I laugh at how I was figuring out how to use it. It took me 3 months to realize that the two cups went under the two drips, where the espresso comes out. I would put one cup under both drips and quickly move it out of the way to make room for the second cup. If you've ever watched them make espresso, at a shop, you know what I'm talking about! Too funny. Sometimes we learn slowly!

I've saved a lot of money, using that machine. I've also learned how to make my drinks a little bit healthier, as well. Coffee drinks shrink your wallet, but expand your waistline--not a good thing, after having 2 babies! So anyway, I make my drinks with flavored creamer--just a little bit--and then add some Stevia--a natural sweetener, that comes from a plant source. Since having my coffee this way, I've found the drinks at most shops to be too sweet. The locals are nice enough to accommodate my special requests for less sweetener.

What I love most about coffee is what it represents: hanging out with friends. Sitting down over a cup of coffee is my favorite way to catch up with the people who are important to me. I want to hear about what's going on in their lives, good or bad. I even like the occasional 'European-style' coffee experience: sit down next to a perfect stranger and see what happens. You never know until you try--it's kinda fun! 'best friend' in the AM! Looking forward to our usual date...until tomorrow!