My mom, one of 10 kids, grew up on a Minnesota dairy, where coffee was an appropriate beverage regardless of one’s age — something about helping the kids stay awake so they could work.
Anyway, I did not grow up on a farm, but I was raised with that same coffee-is-OK philosophy, and thus did I begin drinking it regularly at about age 7. I’d get up for school, read the Oregonian and have my cinnamon toast and coffee — often dunking the former into the latter.
And I’m something of a primitive when it comes to coffee: I like it black and extremely hot, and instant is OK by me.
I was in my early 20s when designer coffee began to take hold, and to me the notion of a triple-mocha-latte-frappuccino seemed like the most ridiculous thing in the world. I even remarked that it was just a fad that would never last (and one sister-in-law, a $4 coffee devotee, always delights in reminding me how wrong I was).
Still, I can’t help but sort of laugh at the spendy coffee crowd. To them, the drink is some sort of gourmet recreational experience, where as to me it is something hot, black and bitter — and, I suppose, energizing — that I start, and punctuate, each day with.
My general rule is at most four cups per day, all before 5 p.m., at which point I switch to beer. Of course, sometimes I have more than four cups, and sometimes I shift to beer earlier; just depends on the day.
I do try to hold the coffee consumption in check, though, lest I end up like news editor Kim Jackson did one day some years back: on a gurney, being hauled out of here by EMTs.
We feared Kim was having a heart attack; turns out his discomfort was traced to the “10 cups” of coffee he’d just drank in a three-hour period.
Further discomfort was traced to the photo Mark Ylen shot of him being carried away; the middle-finger salute toward the camera was a giveaway.