“Hello dark roast, my old friend …”
Sweet elixir of life … or vile, unsatisfying habit: which is it?
After years of coffee consumption, I’m at a crossroads.
I didn’t start drinking coffee until I had kids. You kinda have to. They have youth and vitality on their side; on your side, you have age, treachery … and coffee. Caffeine levels the playing field.
I made up for lost caffeine pretty quickly.
It wasn’t long before I was quaffing upwards of a half dozen cups daily.
By noon most days, I wasn’t sure if the earth was shaking or if it was just caffeine jitters. Regardless, these personal earthquake drills were a small price to pay for boundless energy.
Initially, coffee wasn’t a morning ritual, but something I did with friends. I was a social drinker.
But it’s a slippery slope, isn’t it? Soon, I couldn’t leave the house without a full traveler cup. I swore I couldn’t write without a steaming bucket of joe poised at my right hand. I went from coffee abstainer to coffee addict in record time.
Before I went over to the dark side, I drank tea. According to tea aficionados, the tea I favoured barely qualified as tea. I liked the palest, blondest, weakest of teas. Ideally, I liked my tea in a bone china mug. Clear, unsweetened; faintly tinted – hot water, really. The sort of tea the English call ‘gnat’s pee’. I could get a week out of a single tea bag. In fact, my preferred cup of tea was made with a once-dunked tea bag; I liked that first rinse of tannins to be washed away. When someone would ask me how I liked my tea, I took pains to make them understand. With a flick of the wrist, I would demonstrate how swiftly the tea bag was to be removed from the cup. It didn’t matter. Rarely was I served a cup of tea that I found drinkable. Airline tea was the worst. Bitter, cold and visually indistinguishable from black coffee. They might serve it somewhere over the prairies, but they started brewing it as soon as the blocks came out from behind the wheels.
Twinings is reputedly the oldest tea company in the world and has been conducting business from the same address in London since they opened in 1706. Twinings offers master classes and bespoke blending sessions at their flagship store on the Strand. Perhaps you can concoct something to rival their enduring favourite, the Earl Grey blend? Richard Twining created this beloved custom blend for Prime Minister Charles Grey back in 1831. It’s from this beloved bergamot-infused black tea that I find myself now jump-starting my mornings. My morning go-to has evolved to something called a London Fog. You’ve probably seen this foamy drink listed in various coffee shops all over the world. What you may not know is that this drink was created in Vancouver. The back story may or may not involve a pregnant woman looking for a milder caffeine buzz. The only thing we can be sure of is that the drink calls for Earl Grey tea, vanilla extract, and frothed milk. If you’re ordering one of these in Scotland, however, ask for a Vancouver Fog.
It only makes sense that a local company would offer a lovely version of this Earl Grey derivation. Vancouver-based Domo Tea makes a stoneground version of a London Fog that offers the advantage of consuming the entire, antioxidant-rich tea leaf.
Slowly, my stockpile of espresso is dwindling to make room for similar products. Domo makes one called Elixo which claims to be a ‘cold blaster’ but I love it any old day. With these healthier alternatives, there’s been an evolution in the most dangerous drinking game at my house: seeing just how long I could go without coffee.
The answer is, apparently, weeks!
Maybe even forever?
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This week’s question for readers:
WHAT’S YOUR GO-TO HOT BEVERAGE? HAS IT EVOLVED OVER THE YEARS? AND IF SO, HOW AND WHY?
Send your answers by email text, not an attachment, in 100 words or less, along with your full name to Jane at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will print some next week in this space. You can leave a reply below.
Responses to last week’s question:
CARS, CABINS, BOATS: DO YOURS HAVE NAMES? HOW DID YOU DECIDE ON THOSE NAMES?
My uncle is a Fire Chief in Washington state. I always liked the clever name of his boat: Fire Escape.Amber Stewart
Our current boat is called “Good To Go”. We were trying to come up with a name and one day while we were preparing for a trip with the boat, my wife asked if we were done and out of nowhere I said yup, good to go. Our last boat was a yellow boat that we affectionately called “The Banana”. A friend has a Harley and his boat is called “Hog Wash”. Hog being a nickname for Harleys and the wake a boat leaves behind, sometimes referred to as the wash. My friends had an old cabin in White Rock from when the area was recreational. It was old and rough but a great place to spend time. It was called the BarnacleMike Perkins
My family has had a great tradition through the generations of finding interesting names for our boats. The strangest one belonged to the 8’ Toro sailing dinghy that my father made for my sister and I to learn how to sail in as small children. Hi Cockalorum Jig Jig IV took up the entire stern. We had as much fun sailing that dingy as we did saying its name! Apparently it is an old English children’s game.Julia Baker
I knew of someone that named their boat “My Uncle’s Boat”. If someone suggested maybe going out on this boat the gentleman could say “that’s a great idea but it’s my “uncle’s boat” if he didn’t particularly want a certain person to go out on his boat. His cabin was named “My Uncle’s Cabin”Brian Simonson
The only car I ever named was an old beater I bought for $100 back in the seventies. Don’t ask me why, she just looked like a “Martha”. Many years later, a lawyer friend of mine told me of his encounter with a colleague at a gulf island’s resort where his friend had his yacht anchored in the harbour. His friend was a fellow criminal lawyer, and his boat was named, what else? “Crime Pays”!Terry Taylor
Back in the 1960s my sister drove a huge all-white American station wagon that she had named Moby Dick. And when my brother made his millions in the high-tech field and sold out, he retired, bought a boat and named it Free@Last.Geoff Eldred
I have come across some very clever names for boats. Here are three.
1. My favourite is “Running with Scissors”.
2. An architect had a boat which he called, “The Site”. When clients phoned on Fridays, his receptionist could say, truthfully, that he was on the site.
3. Another architect/contractor reference was in a photo of a large cruiser towing a small dingy. The name of the dinghy was, ”Contract”. The name of the large boat was, “Change Order”. This photo may have been photoshopped, but was clever nonethelessCarol Jones
Here’s another name which still makes me laugh. Years ago, when boats were still moored near the Bayshore Inn, I saw a small motorboat, painted red and aptly named “Blood Vessel”. I would love to know whether it’s still in use.Fiesta de Vries
When we had first bought my car, it was a tremendous milestone. No longer would we have to tread through during downpours, and getting, just to fit the strict bus schedules. As such, we thought it would be fitting to name our new ride. I wanted to go for the name of a goddess; it had a powerful engine deserving of a powerful name. We spent many nights discussing, settling for no less than perfect. Nike, the goddess of victory, was an option, but we discarded that idea since the brand was a lot more renowned compared to the actual goddess it was named after. We considered Athena, the grey-eyed goddess of wisdom, seeing as it was a silver Ford. However, my mom remembered the story of Persephone, in which she was abducted and her mother would only get her back for half the year, thus bringing spring to the world. It was still bitterly cold, and the fact that we now had a vehicle to take us places, gave us hope for the arrival of spring. Coincidentally, we had bought our car on the day of the Chinese Spring Festival, so it was too perfect to pass up. Some things are just fate, I guess.Annie Kwok
When we bought our recreational property 31 years ago, it was a bare lot. It took us a couple of years to build some structures, so we always referred to the property as the lot. Hence, our cabin is “The Lot”.Linda Kask