By: Elizabeth Webber Akre
I’ve never been what you would call a coffee fanatic. I have tons of friends who claim they can’t even speak to anyone before a cup. Others post little coffee-craving cartoons on Facebook to further educate those around them not to approach them before that first cup. Some just plain love the stuff all day long.
In college, I, like many other students, would drag my little coffee maker to various late night study sessions, sometimes consuming two or more pots in a night. I think some of it was just college bravado (”Yeah, we stayed up ALL NIGHT studying for that exam- lots and lots of coffee”). Of course, the true end result was doing as well on the exam as I would have anyway and a belly full of acid in the morning! However, I had an epiphany my junior year when I spent a semester in France…home of the coffee drinker.
I’m not exactly sure what is different about coffee in France, but it’s definitely different. You know how awful it is to take a cup of cold coffee and try to revive it by reheating it? It doesn’t work. But guess what? It works in France. My “French family” made a giant pot of coffee every night before bed. In the morning, each person would measure out a cup, place it in a pot on the gas range and heat it up. And it was good. Really good. What was in that coffee that would allow this to work? Must be some ancient French secret!
After returning to America, my love of coffee waned again because I simply couldn’t find anything here that was good enough. So, I went years without even bothering with it. Diet Coke was my morning caffeine fix for ages. Now, don’t get me wrong, every now and then I’d stumble upon a good cup of java. For instance, can you resist a basket of bread and butter with a bottomless cup of coffee at the Gourmet Shop? And, no matter what anyone thinks, Starbucks makes good coffee. Each winter, the lovely aroma of coffee would beckon, and I although I liked the idea of coffee, I just couldn’t find the right stuff.
** Then, I discovered the Keurig **
What a remarkable invention! Rather than making a whole pot of coffee at home and wasting half of it, we can make one cup at a time! There’s no waiting around for a pot to brew, no one standing there with their empty cup just staring at the machine, waiting, waiting. And, there’s tea, hot chocolate, hot apple cider and a bazillion types of coffee to choose from. This thing had my name written all over it. Of course, I couldn’t buy one for myself. So, I bought one, wrapped it up in Christmas paper and presented it to my husband. Crafty like a fox, I am! And, here’s the kicker…I found not one, but several coffees that are worthy! French roasts galore, full test, decaf, half caf, flavored, bold, mild. Finally, I could join the coffee nation and actually enjoy it again. But, what about my husband Neil? He kept turning his nose up at the coffee. Oh, he’d enjoy a cup of Earl Grey or English Breakfast tea, but no coffee measured up for him. So, while I was having my $0.41 cup of coffee, he was heading down to Starbuck for his $3.00 “red-eye.” Hmmmm…what was I to do?
As luck would have it, I popped into the Starbucks in the Vista while the little one was at ballet. Being the coupon-addict-savings-hog that I am, I immediately zoned in on the quietly advertised sale. Boxes of Starbucks K-cups were B1G1. What???????? The boxes were already priced less than I’d seen in the regular stores. I quickly did the math and realized this was a heckuva deal. I loaded up on coffee, crossing my fingers that this would finally cross Neil over to the Keurig side of the world. Guess what? It worked. He was skeptical at first, but alas, he found that this Starbucks-at-home was actually Starbucks-from-the-store worthy! (He says the Starbucks bagged coffee at home just doesn’t stack up.)