December 31, 2010

Coffee Will Not Make You Sober

Remember, as you salute the year, coffee will not make you sober.

Coffee: A sure way to sober up?
By Mayo Clinic staff
Coffee's about as helpful as a cold shower or a brisk walk in sobering you up. That is, it's not helpful at all! Your blood alcohol level starts to rise with just one alcoholic drink. The only way to lower your blood alcohol level is to stop drinking and wait. It'll simply take time for your body to metabolize the alcohol.

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December 25, 2010

A Beautiful Trio: Espresso, Croissant, Cappuccino

Espresso, croissant, cappuccino

Cold? Snowy? Every day is sunny in Brockeimia. If not, I go to where it is beautiful.

At a cafe on the east coast, sitting outside in an area cordoned in by short black painted fence on a sidewalk, I enjoyed a full meal. First, a shot of espresso, then the main entree, a nicely prepared cappuccino, with a croissant on the side.

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December 23, 2010

Coffee Cup Before Pouring

At a favorite cafe, I might order just one thing: coffee. I might add a bagel or slice of toast, but it is usually just a simple cup of coffee. Let's pretend nothing here: The coffee is not the same quality as in a finer coffee shop. The ambiance is what a diner's is... filled with everyman, from all walks of life. You get what you pay for, but this is the life of the average coffee drinker. They are not interested in syrups, whip cream, Kona, brown vs white sugar, pull technique, or any other factor in coffee or a coffee drink.

That's what you see. The average man's $1.50 mug, basic sugar and flavored creams. America drinks this everywhere. The brown cup is hazelnut, the blue is vanilla, and the white is plain half-n-half. The white envelopes are plain sugar. The blue envelope is some kind of non-sugar sweetener. I took the picture a week or two ago.

The job gets done. A basic coffee and a basic set of flavor options. Much of life happens at the table pictured above. I have met with friends, clients, vendors, old, new and potential.

It may lack the romance of a misty cafe in Vienna, but Vienna misses the romance of an intimate table in America's heartland. No Austrian accents or talk of Beethoven, but conversations about city politics, traffic and baseball teams fill the air.

What I See
A waitress who thought skipping college was the best choice so she could make quick money wistfully looks at the men in suits, wondering if they will notice her in her new sundress beneath her diner apron. The men in suits argue about the cost of real estate, only glancing at the girl who, at 19 is half their age not realizing she knows this, but is OK with it.

A few men in from a construction site working on the interstate rush in for a late morning early lunch, and eat too fast to notice any of this.

A retired man in a rich blue shirt with a golf logo reads a newspaper where he sits every day, and the waitress calls him Tom.

A young buck brings in a Bible and discusses its finer points with a friend, see the young waitress and tip her more than their meal was worth. That $20 will help her more than they know. An older waitress sneers at her, because she has given up hope. This coffee shop is her bitter life, and she is afraid the younger one will leave before her. When she was 19, she got those tips too, but did nothing with them.

All on a Monday. Tuesday will be much the same. The coffee is good enough.

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December 22, 2010

Tasty But Not Overpowering Coffee Candy, Fit for a Picnic

I unwrapped a piece of United Coffee Candy while Nancy and I sat for an afternoon in a park. Dulcet, yet strong flavors filled my imagination as we cleared the branches for our blanket. The candy's metallic maroon wrapper soon lay tossed in a pocket, or a bag, who knows where?

A mid-city stream during a quiet picnic can be as cacophonous as a mid-state river. Rapids, wind, gulls all called out to each other as autumn began its march through the wane of summer. Undeterred, Nancy and I read the poetry of the day: our own, and that found in an old professor's reading list. Many hums and other murmurs of agreement brought us through a dozen pages and an hour of reading.

We asked, "Is that a complex form or does it just organically resonate mellifluously?"

Not all questions can be answered while distracted by the pleasant confluence of her eyes, the falling leaves and the coffee candy. All blended into a gentle sweetness: to see, to smell, to taste.

Now, three months later, I find the wrapper in my satchel, and the stream rushes just as hard. The gulls are gone, but the poetry remains. May your bag of United Coffee Candy reach as deeply, taste as complex, and remind you of poems read on a bank.


December 10, 2010

Mandy Patinkin - Coffee in a Cardboard Cup

Mandy Patinkin - Coffee in a Cardboard Cup

Mandy Patinkin is the complete performer singing about the hurry of today's life. Coffee is the metaphor for life, that we pour it too quickly, drink it too quickly, and miss out on relationships in the process. Lyrics below.

I agree.

Mandy PatinkinMandy Patinkin CD including song Mandy Patinkin - Coffee in a Cardboard Cup from the musical 70, Girls, 70

The trouble with the world today, it seems to me,
Is coffee in a cardboard cup.
The trouble with the affluent society
Is coffee in a cardboard cup.
No one's ever casual and nonchalant,
No one waits a minute in a restaurant,
No one wants a waitress passing pleasantries
Like "How're you, Miss?"
"How're you, Sir?"
70, Girls, 70 (1971 Original Broadway Cast)"May I take your order please?"
The trouble with the world today is plain to see,
Is everything is hurry up.
It's rush it through, and don't be slow,
And BLT on rye to go,
With coffee (I think she said)
Coffee (I know she said)
Coffee in a cardboard cup.

The trouble with the helter-skelter life we lead
Is coffee in a cardboard cup.
The trouble, the psychologists have all agreed,
Is coffee in a cardboard cup.
Tell me, what could possibly be drearier
Than seafood from the Belnord cafeteria?
Seems to me a gentleman would much prefer
"How've you been?"
"Would you like the special, sir?"
The trouble with the world today is plain to see,
Is everything is hurry up.
There's ready-wear, and instant tea,
And minute rice, and my oh me,
There's coffee (I think she said)
Coffee (I know she said)
Coffee in a cardboard cup.

The trouble with the world today, beyond a doubt,
Is coffee in a cardboard cup.
The trouble is the way we like to take things out,
Like coffee in a cardboard cup.
No one knows the meaning of utopia
Is dining at the corner cornucopia,
Seems to me we wouldn't be such nervous wrecks
With "Hello, there!"
"Be right back!"
"Would you care for separate checks?"
The trouble with the world today is plain to see,
Is everything is hurry up.
It's all become looney tunes
With sugar packs and plastic spoons
And coffee (I think she said)
Coffee (I know she said)
Coffee (I'm sure she said)
Coffee (She must have said)
Coffee in a cardboard cup.

December 6, 2010

Excellent Christmas Gift for Teachers, Writers and Book Readers (Who Love Coffee)

Excellent Christmas Gift!

Books are good food. wash them down with coffee.

In your life, and in mine, are coffee lovers and book lovers. Librarians, teachers, students, editors, writers, and that friend you always see huddled with a book on the train or in the cubicle next to yours. It might even be a pastor, priest or rabbi you want to simple say thanks to.

Priced cheap for Christmas (the mug pictured is just $11.49), there are tons of mugs, t-shirts, bumper stickers and more.

November 26, 2010

Thankful: A Cup of Coffee in a Beautiful Cup

Coffee, as served... from a kind host after dinner is perhaps the most delicious found on this Earth.

No matter how perfect the bean, none compares to the coffee poured by dear friends after a gracious and satisfying traditional Thanksgiving dinner. I am thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving from my home to yours.

November 25, 2010

Tryptophan Slowing You Down?

Lots of turkey today? No time to sleep this afternoon in that beached-whale-food-hangover-fetal position?

Try coffee.

Or, if you are not drinking coffee today, or eating turkey, but trying to sleep, try reading about Tryptophan. (

November 10, 2010

Latte Macchiato via Nescafe Dolce Gusto Single-Serve Coffee Machine

Familiar Like the Girl Next Door: Latte Macchiato Meets a Delicious Need

A Latte Macchiato.
The product of my
Nescafe Dolce Gusto Single-Serve Coffee Machine.
My Nescafe Dolce Gusto Latte Macchiato was born on my counter, not royal, nor so humble that I would not enjoy her company. Finding companionship with wine glasses, she smiled at me, and together, we ran through the morning with celebration of sugar, caffeine and artificial milk. It lacked the superb richness of a true, cafe-birthed Latte Macchiato, but brought me a plebeian convenience, like a girl next door's beauty and familiarity.

The process for her creation was three-step. First, the mere heating of the machine. Second, the insertion of the milk-foam capsule and pulling hot water through it. Third, and lastly, inserting the espresso-like coffee capsule, and likewise pulling it.

I can, and often do, make a more sophisticated latte macchiato, but the time it takes, though worth it, is not always available. I enjoyed tasting this drink, knowing fully what it could be, but accepting it as it was.


November 5, 2010

Nescafe Dolce Gusto Single-Serve Coffee Machine review: Good Coffee Drink, Hard to Find Pods

Do you remember watching old Star Trek reruns, and seeing the special effects were not on par with modern techniques, but loving the show anyway? The end product, all of it together, from Captain Kirk to the Klingons, the story was good and often insightful. The Nescafe Dolce Gusto Single-Serve Coffee Machine is like that. It cannot equal the carefully made latte or espresso produced with a $1,000 machine using the finest beans. It makes no pretense of doing that either. Its sell is its quick and easy-to-use convenience, with enough quality to satisfy the average coffee drinker.

Why do I like it? When friends come over who are casual coffee drinkers, who might not appreciate the difference between a French and Colombian roast, but would like a hot tasty drink, this helps me serve them quickly. Like other single-serving machines, like Keurig's devices, it delivers coffee speedily, and can do so to the unique tastes of my guests. I can make a fresh pot of standard coffee, or espressos, but to offer variety without adding flavored syrups or taking a long time, I need a single-serve machine.

Nescafe KP210050 Dolce Gusto Single-Serve Coffee Machine, BlackSome drinks require two pods: one for the milk-like foam, and the other for the coffee itself. First, make the foam, then, make the coffee. Others only need on pod, and from it (depending on the pod), you can make either regular coffee, or an espresso-like drink. The directions are clear for every kind of drink. For anyone who finds Caribou or Starbucks acceptable, this will provide a smile. Because Nescafe controls the amount of coffee and the grind, the drink is the same every time.

Pods are not as easily accessible as Keurig's are, as various coffee producers do not seem to make theirs to fit the Dolce Gusto, and so I cannot give this top ranks.

True, my favorite cafe's business will not be challenged, but as I can find the pods, I will keep a stock on the ready when unexpected guests arrive.


Useful Dog Tricks performed by Jesse (A Coffee Loving Jack Russell Terrier)

Puppies are, by default, caffeinated. When God was making their blood, an angel was walking by, bumped the table with the ingredients, and God's coffee spilled in. Not once in the history of puppies has anyone ever said, "Now that puppy has no energy."

However, this has led to addiction problem with Jesse. He wants more. Throughout the day, he, like I, pursues another cup of coffee. Smarter than the average dog, he can help himself.

Understandably, he does whatever it takes. What I want to know is how he, without these very useful opposable thumbs, lifts the espresso cup to drink?


Music: Josh Woodward, "Coffee." Check out more of his music: and

November 2, 2010

Coffee, Raisin Toast and Voting

The early morning brinked with a slow greeting as I considered my opportunity. Today is voting day. Election day. I am one who finds most of politicking distasteful, bringing out the worst of friends and the media. But, still, to vote is what I must. Decisions were to be made about Congress, local funding, judges and other issues. Some mattered to me more than others.

The beautiful Katie served me, ready and awake long before dawn in near-empty cafe on the Brockeimia southern border. Overlooking a highway, I saw others en route to vote, and smiled. This is America. We are not the only country with the freedom to vote, but we do have that freedom we consider, I consider, so dear.

So I ate quickly, swallowed the coffee, now sweeter than usual, bid Katie good morning, and left for the mile trip up the road to cast my ballot.

If you haven't, please do.

October 25, 2010

Books Are Good Food Coffee FUNtainer Food Thermos

Books Are Good Food Coffee FUNtainer Food Thermos

Newest Brockeim coffee container. Soup works too. Not quite a mug, but pretty snazzy for you travelers. 

$18.09 for you discriminating buyers.Great Christmas gifts.


October 4, 2010

Intelligenstia and Two Old Friends Bringing Two New Friends

My nap ended as the bell rang. 5:30 pm on a Saturday? Two smiles with three bags of two kinds of coffee stood in my doorway. Delivery.

Knowing fully well my desire for good coffee, but not always able to access it, these friends pursued for me what God alone could create: delicious Yirgacheffe Adado and Finca La Soledad.

Coffee would wait until morning, and it did. Its patience for me is more enduring than any lover.

In the meanwhile, these friends laughed and told stories about our adventures through the years, and of things currently important in our lives. They told me too about drinking coffee at Intelligentsia, a new and exotic place for them. We shared a meal, and we shared friendship, as old as it is new again.

The Coffee
First, the Finca La Soledad from Guatamala. This is as mild as it is delicate, perhaps not ready for an espresso. My espresso tastes are darker, but I will tomorrow experiment with a few cups of it dripped.

Two half-pound bags of Yirgacheffe Adado from Ethiopia... one I brought to the home of a friend who often enjoys coffee with me at hours earlier than known to songbirds. The other will wait a few days.

Organic Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Adado
Succulent and floral, high notes of jasmine atop lime candy, lemongrass and bergamot. Fresh fennel, currants and sweet herbs surface at the apex and taper into an aromatic aftertaste while the finish - long and velvety - brings notes of maple and malt.

Itzamna, Guatemala: Finca La Soledad
A complex mouthfeel which is balanced, lofted and active frames the rest of this cup. Grilled fruit, peaches, and fudge-like notes in the finish coax out the genuine character of Finca La Soledad.

October 1, 2010

September 30, 2010

Good to Almost the Last Drop: A Hurried Illy Adventure

Empty Espresso Cup
Finished. Sad words to any great adventure, I know, and sadder still as remnants of the relationship remain scattered inconveniently.

My espresso... I've had better, and purer. This was sugared. Creamed. Delicious, yes, as they always are, but this one was rushed in preparation.

I had no time. I found time. I made time. What didn't exist came into existence, and in this time, I made a common double espresso with Illy beans.

In my hurry, I did not attach everything tightly, and some ground coffee filtered through. Regrets, of course, but deadlines called sharply, and I had to move on.

As I sometimes do, I added heavy whipping cream, lightly whipped with a spoon of sugar. This magnifies the acuity I sense when sipping.

"Found my coat and grabbed my hat. Made the bus in seconds flat," sings Paul McCartney in A Day In The Life. A bus was not required, but with my hat and coat in tow, arrived in good stead.

Do I say the drink was a success? I finished it amid the difficulties presented by my watch, but pledge to attune more carefully to the day before me. Success enough.

Today, now, a day later, I found my cup where I left it. It was not carefully laid in the sink or dishwasher, but on a bookshelf in my office, near where a collection of Mark Twain is kept. The remnants are dry, but its sweetness endures.

Things you can buy from Amazon that will help me purchase more Illy. Click, then buy anything. 

September 25, 2010

Lavazza and the Big City

This espresso drips while barely a glimmer in my eye. My host offered it proudly when I traveled east. In an office in the thick of a major city, a contrast of a beautiful building and homeless citizens sleeping and begging on the sidewalk, we found our way to the seventh floor. How hard is to walk on by knowing how much easier my life is... I felt no guilt, but only wondered what I could do.

After stopping at his office to discuss our business of the day, we moved on to more pleasurable things. Business, after all, is a trifle unimportant when there is espresso to be enjoyed.

Lavazza Espresso Point Machine
Lavazza Espresso Point Machine
I am a sipper. My host drank two shots quickly, like whiskey bar shots without the accompanying beer chasing. The machine (Lavazza Espresso Point Machine) served Lavazza Super Crema Espresso. Durable, and light enough for the sensitivities of a varied office place, Lavazza was a fine choice. I took my time, and moved on.

September 24, 2010

Afternoon Coffee is Like a Lover Leaving

I am always a little sad when I finish the last from my afternoon double espresso. It is like a a lover leaving on a morning train.

How the sweetness comes to an end. There will be no more. Not today. I can reach, I can reach, but the train still leaves. Attached fingers must let go. Last drops must be sipped.

Last Train To Clarksville
by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart

Take the last train to Clarksville
And I'll meet you at the station,
You can be here by four-thirty,
'Cause I've made your reservation, don't be slow,
Oh, no, no, no,
Oh, no, no, no.
'Cause I'm leaving in the morning
And I must see you again,
We'll have one more night together
'Til the morning brings my train and I must go,
Oh, no, no, no,
Oh, no, no, no,
And I don't know if I'm ever coming home.
Take the last train to Clarksville,
I'll be waiting at the station,
We'll have time for coffee-flavored kisses,
And a bit of conversation, oh,
Oh, no, no, no,
Oh, no, no, no.
Da-da-da-da-da-da, etc...
Take the last train to Clarksville,
Now I must hang up the phone,
I can't hear you in this noisy railroad station,
All alone, I'm feeling low.
Oh, no, no, no,
Oh, no, no, no,
And I don't know if I'm ever coming home.
Take the last train to Clarksville,
And I'll meet you at the station,
You can be here by four-thirty,
'Cause I've made your reservation, don't be slow,
Oh, no, no, no,
Oh, no, no, no,
And I don't know if I'm ever coming home.
Take the last train to Clarksville,
Take the last train to Clarksville,
Take the last train to Clarksville,
Take the last train to Clarksville.
fade out...

September 22, 2010

Uma Thurman, A Nice Hot Drink (of Coffee)

Uma Thurman, A Nice Hot Drink of Coffee.
What more do you need?  Hot, sweet, easy to drink, quick buzz, and the likelihood of a satisfactory encounter. And the coffee looks good, too.

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