The day is better when started with sips of caffeine. Though I grew up drinking tea, my years at college made me a coffee drinker. After graduating, I moved to Berkeley when Peet’s Coffee was making its debut and here, after being introduced to the ultimate brew, I was hooked. This is not to say that tea does not bring nostalgia, and more often than not I demand a good cup of Jasmine, Green or Oolong tea. In fact, I end most of my days with a cup of herbal tea – chamomile or mint mostly.
In our kitchen, the exhales of steam from the final drops of coffee dripping into the coffee maker signal my day’s start. Currently, my husband and I have gone back to making drip coffee after years of owning old fashion espresso makers and fancy espresso contraptions that automatically tap the coffee grinds and push hot water through. Though the new capsule systems produce good tasting coffee, we just cannot come to the practice of making coffee this way. There is romance in letting water come in contact with grounded coffee to extract the oils, flavors and color.
Perhaps the best part of the coffee ritual is being able to cradle the mug with both hands to feel the warmth of the heated ceramic. In some ways it is the morning prayer for the want of a good day ahead. It is a moment to wake up and look forward to what might be possible this new day.
Whether it is a cup a coffee, a cup of tea or a hot cup of water, wrap your hands around a warm mug and take a moment to believe that this new day will bring amazing possibilities.
Though on most days I enjoy my morning coffee black, I make additions on other days. During the periods of the year when I am training for a running event, more often than not, I sprinkle grounded cinnamon and turmeric into my coffee believing it helps my joints by decreasing the pain in my knees as it is purported to have anti-inflammatory effects. I am not yet convinced it works, but it certainly makes my coffee taste exotic.
Coffee with heavy cream and shavings of dark chocolate is as daring as I can get for starting out the day. But perhaps the most decadent addition to the morning java may be dropping a slab of butter on top of the dark brew. Witnessing the formation of a shiny puddle on top of the dark brew borders on magical. Add chocolate or caramel sauce and cream and you will be jolted to another stratosphere.
The following are suggestions of coffee additions for when a treat is needed any time of the day:
- Cream or whipped cream
- Milk and sugar
- Dustings of cardamom, cinnamon or turmeric
- Shavings of dark chocolate, milk chocolate or white chocolate
- Kahlua, peppermint schnapps, Irish cream or rum
- Vanilla or almond extract
- Caramel, butterscotch or chocolate sauce
- Ice cream or gelato
- A slab of butter alone but better with some of the additions above