I love coffee....

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I love coffee...

I love the aroma...the taste...the color of coffee...

When I get up in the morning, the first thing I do is hit the brew button on my coffee maker...before I do anything else. The aroma fills the kitchen and I sneak my first cup out of the carafe...a happy moment:).  The day is off to the right start as I head to my chair for quiet time in the Word and prayer. 

I don't remember when I had my first cup of coffee, but I know I was quite young. My family moved to Brasil when I was 3 and returned when I was 8...yep, five years in the coffee capital of the world. I remember my mother making coffee the Brasilian way...putting ground coffee beans in a white flannel like bag and pouring hot water over it. The aroma was heavenly! Milk was heated and I drank a cup of cafe con leche, before walking to school.  My dad would get up each morning and walk several blocks down the streets of Juiz de Fora to a coffee bar for his first cup of cafezinho, the equivalent of a strong shot of espresso with sugar stirred in, served in small demitasse sized cups. Keep in mind, this was the early 1960's, long before Starbucks had made any appearance on the world scene. Coffee was a significant part of the culture in Brasil...I saw fields of coffee beans growing, rows of coffee beans drying in the sun, and huge burlap bags of coffee beans at the market.  My parents even brought back gifts to their siblings of gold plated coffee leaves with coffee beans attached. Sadly, they gave them all away...wish I had one of my own. 

Upon returning to the United States, my dad quit drinking coffee for several years because he could not stand the quality of coffee available for brewing at home, and really couldn't stand the coffee served in restaurants and churches that he said "was like drinking dirty water." This meant that I too took a hiatus from drinking coffee until I got my first real job, working at Bethany Home in Everett when I was 16. I would walk there after school and work for several hours in the laundry and the two "snacks" that Bethany supplied were coffee and bread for toast...the perfect after school snack! So, my coffee habit kicked back in and by college, I was hooked! My first stop prior to class was always the college coffee shop, for a strong cup of coffee...black. At night, if we were studying for a big test or working on group project, we would head to Perkin's Restaurant and Bakery in St. Paul and order our own individual pots of coffee to last long into the night...coffee worked wonders!

Fortunately for me, and my dad, my family settled in the Seattle area upon our return from Brasil and guess what opened here in 1971....yep, Starbucks Coffee, Tea, and Spice. Though it was years before Howard Schultz took over and made Starbucks what it is today, the coffee culture was growing in the Northwest. Now it seems like there is some sort of coffee stand at every corner! After drinking coffee black, straight up, with nothing added for many years, I went to Italy with my friend, Pam. We stayed with her cousin and husband in the lovely town of Treviso, not far from Venice. And, every morning we began our day with a cappuccino, from a local coffee bar. The cappuccino was perfect; smooth, with a strong shot of espresso with not too much milk, and a little foam on the top, served in a plain white china cup...oh, I fell in love! They were consistently good no matter where we went in Italy and only cost 1.20 Euro.

 At Babette's Feast Bakery in Long Beach, CA

At Babette's Feast Bakery in Long Beach, CA

Upon returning home, I tried to duplicate the Italian cappuccino at home with my little espresso machine, but couldn't come close enough. Starbucks does an admirable job, especially when you can order it in a "for here" cup in the shop. I've also had good success ordering cappuccinos in small coffee shops/bakeries when out and about. My all time favorite breakfast is a wonderful cappuccino and an almond croissant...delicioso! I still drink my coffee black in the morning, and save the cappuccino experience for a treat. How about you? What is your favorite way to drink coffee?