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COFFEE

My coffee addiction goes back a long ways–probably since I was about 16. Then it was coffee with my girlfriends at Elva’s cafe in Northome. Since Elva made fresh homemade doughnuts every morning, coffee immediately developed very pleasurable associations. There really is nothing quite like one of those long-ago crispy from deep-lard-frying, so-soft-and-sweet-inside doughnuts. Likening them to Dunkin Donuts products is like saying Kobe beef is similar to a McDonald’s burger. Really!

By the time I graduated high school and moved to Minneapolis coffee was a serious part of my morning life, somewhere in there it had been joined by cigarettes. And that ritual only grew stronger…and became ever more satisfying. Morning paper, morning coffee, morning cigarettes. Even though it has been quite some time since I smoked, that tradition has a very fond place in my memory. That first sip of coffee and first drag from a cigarette after you wake up is surely as satisfying a drug high as any illegal substance ever grown or invented. Needless to say coffee and cigarettes became a consistent part of everyday… all day. I know I know…I am a fortunate person to have escaped the grim effects so often accompanying almost a lifetime of smoking. So far so good.

Now, while my coffee addiction has not gone away, it has lost its nicotine partner; it is generally restricted to the early part of the day; and it is far far more expensive—thanks to the advent of Starbucks.

My choice of caffeinated beverage these days has been venti non-fat lattes—which would be perfect every morning (and this week since I’m working late every night I’ve indulged) but that does get a little pricey. Now my latte has competition which could make the trip through the drive-in even more costly; I’ve become quite infatuated with something called the Valencia Orange Refresher. Here’s how it’s described. “Three varietals of orange combined with floral and fruity notes from orange peel, cardamom, jasmine and apricot lightly caffeinated with Green Coffee Extract, served over ice.”  Yeah, whatever.

To make up for this extravagant lifestyle on some days, other times I come to work with the assortment you see in the photo above. It’s much cheaper, especially if you use an old ice cream container for your coffee and heat it at work.

If this all sounds like a commercial for Starbucks remember, if I had a choice, I would still pick Elva’s café any old day.

Yesterday Morning:

Finally, at the window. The morning can begin.

Finally, at the window. The morning can begin.

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