Monday, February 18, 2013

Full Caff, Half-Caff, Decaf: What's Your Brew?

When I posted this early morning photo on Facebook last fall, my brother reportedly commented (in wry, paleontologist humor, no doubt): "Look, she's built a coffee shrine." 

In my defense, I'd argue that the photo was meant to highlight the little patch of fall color in the window-- a view I love, complete with hummingbird feeder. But my big brother is admittedly a coffee-hound and recognizes his own kind as readily as he can identify a dinosaur bone fragment. Which he may indeed use as a coffee stirrer. 

 I love coffee. I love the way the grounds smell on my fingers after I add 8 scoops to the basket of our Cuisinart at bedtime. And I especially love the gurgle-whoosh of the coffee maker in the morning, the rich aroma of my favorite brew wafting through the house in cozy, dark, pre-dawn hours. On deadline, sometimes I'm up before the hummingbirds. 

Coffee has made an appearance in all of my books. In fact,  it was almost a character in Disaster Status. 

Those of you who've read this second Mercy Hospital book, may remember a quirky ocean view coffee shop called "Arlo's Bait & Moor."  Here's a snippet of a scene set there:


Annie Popp glanced first at Scott and then at Erin, and in an instant Erin felt strangely self-conscious in a bait shop she’d visited all her life. But then, she’d never walked in here with the best-looking man she’d ever met. Don’t say anything, Annie. Please.

“Hey, Annie,” Erin began casually, inhaling the rich scent of coffee and what she’d bet were fresh-baked lemon bars. “How’s it—?”

“Well, would you look at this?” The gray-haired proprietress set down a pair of needle-nose pliers, and a grin lit her sun-weathered face. “My Sea Dog black and my Starfish Latte extra cinnamon. Together.” She swept aside several pieces of sea glass and driftwood, then planted her palms on the counter, sighing as if the planets had finally aligned. “Praise God, it’s about time.”

“About time?” Scott asked.

“That you two met, of course.” Annie nodded and her earrings, blue glass and silver beads, swayed back and forth. “I told Arlo it makes no sense; you battling that cold ocean like a tortured soul every morning. All alone. And you, Erin. How many summers have you been coming here with your grandmother? And your grandfather, may he rest in peace. I’ll never forget that Labor Day weekend Iris was sewing your Wonder Woman costume. You paraded down here in your bathing suit twirling a gold lasso, with that crown sitting lopsided over your pigtails and all those ‘magic’ bracelets. Skinned knees, no front teeth, and knee-high to a grasshopper. But you doubled up your little fist and told us you were ready to fight.”

Erin groaned. 

Scott chuckled low in his throat. “Trust me, Annie. She’s still fighting.” 

The only issue I seem to have with coffee is the caffeine. In the past year or so, we've gone from full-jolt, to half-caff, and now to de-caf. Here's why:

Yup, my heart perking along at 220 this past Thanksgiving. Nearly swooned into my mashed potatoes--talk about drama! Paramedics in the house, fire truck outside, wide-eyed grand children. Apparently this medical fiction author will stop at nothing for research. And, fortunately, it all turned out just fine. Still . . .

Though caffeine didn't directly cause the excitement, I see no sense in flirting with this scenario again.  So this is my "coffee shrine" update:

Hazelnut Decaf, unsweetened Almond Milk. I still get the pre-dawn gurgle and whoosh, the wafting of lovely aroma. Warm cup, great taste. But no side order of firefighters, paramedics and the ER team--I prefer that those good folks stay in the pages of my fiction

Not that I'm always good: I recently met an aspiring author at Peet's coffee. She graciously offered to treat me, recommending the Blueberry Mocha. I ordered it decaf, with soy milk. Then the server raised his brows: "You want to top that with whipped cream?"

Sometimes you gotta walk on the wild side.

So, your turn. What's your favorite brew? Coffee, tea? At home or at a coffeehouse? What do you add to it? Do you have a favorite mug, special spot to sit and savor? Do share!

** An author feature, review and giveaway of DISASTER PLAN may be found at Linda Maendel's wonderful blog. Visit her here: Hutt-Write Voice.  **


JoAnn said...

I love to make my morning mocha. I have a barista and I make peppermint mochas with that. But the morning mocha is Caffe D'Vita Cappuccino Mocha. Nothing better! I do have a couple of favorite cups! I am all about using things I enjoy to drink from.

CandaceCalvert said...

Wow, JoAnn--we're all coming to YOUR house! What a setup! Your new house, I should say--love the photos you've been posting. Thanks for stopping by!

Anonymous said...

I'm usually a hot chocolate girl. No surprise! Lol this fall, I discovered chai tea lattes. mmmmmm Don't have them often but yummy when I do!


MaryAnn said...

We're cutting down on caffine in our house too. I drink about a cup and a half of regular coffee in the morning then switch to decaffinated tea.

CandaceCalvert said...

Andrea: I'm not surprised about the hot chocolate! But (confession) I've never had a Chai tea latte. What does it taste like?

Mary Ann, the change to decaf coffee was easy for us because we'd been half-caff for quite awhile. As far as tea goes, hubby likes herbal. Do you mean decaf regular tea?

Anonymous said...

I'm a full caffeine... A large 2 sugar and 2 cream is my coffee of choice :)

CandaceCalvert said...

Lisa, I remember those days--I think your fave was my fuel when I worked ER. Flavored or non-flavored coffee?

Anonymous said...

I have to go decaf on coffee, soft drinks, tea, etc. because too much caffeine gets my heart racing too much too. I do like a good "real" cup of hot chocolate once in a while with real cocoa, sugar, whipped cream, etc. Love your new blog!


CandaceCalvert said...

Totally understand, Sheila--let's leave the racing hearts to . . . the love scenes. The kind of pitter pat that doesn't require an EKG. Yum on the cocoa--such a treat. Thanks for dropping by the blog. I think we're going to have fun here. I can't wait to get a peek into my fellow authors' kitchens.

Kathy T said...

Hey Candace, I love the way that you make adapting to new and important lifestyle changes so fun and interesting! Kudos for that! I also really enjoyed the scenes set at Arlo's Bait and Moor in the book. Made me want to visit it desperately. That's the sad thing about fiction...I want to meet the people and enjoy the settings with them. You create such darn lovable characters!

Julie said...

No coffee and no tea for me. But I love Coke. I gave it up though for a long while. I've kind of been cheating though and have had Coke Zero way more than I should lately. I love the bubbles. Like you with the whoosh of the coffee maker, when I hear the pop and fizz of a coke can being opened I'm all giddy! I splurge now and then on Starbucks hot chocolate for a treat and something warm to drink BUT the last time I did that I ordered it with 3 extra shots of chocolate(they put two usually so that added up to 5 shots of chocolate), big mistake! Besides the racing heart, the massive headache for the next two days after kind of put me off of hot chocolate for a while! Ack!

Anonymous said...

Loved this post. I too love coffee, usually the flavored variety with a little milk and sweetner. Like you lately, I've started having some health issues, seems to make my tummy hurt, so I'd really backed off and switched to tea. Not tea bags, tea leaves. Then the other night my hubby's coffee smelled so good I decided I should have a cup. The caffeine in coffee effects me much more than that in tea. My goodness, I was up almost another 7 hours and it was my bedtime. I have Critical Care and plan to read it in the next month. Also looking forward to buying all of your books and reading them. Hugs and Blessings, Susan Fryman

Ann Street said...

Wish I liked coffee. But my drink of choice is Diet Coke or Diet Pepsi. ;)

Hutt-Write Voice said...

Thank you so much for mentioning my blog in this post and also for being a guest on my blog!! Have a beautiful day!