By Pamela Brownstein
I didn’t always love coffee, but it slowly crept its way into my life, one bitter cup at a time, and now I can’t imagine going without it. Actually, I can, because I tried not to drink it when I was pregnant and it was awful. I missed the savory aroma, those first delightful sips, the distinct caffeine buzz that acts like a green light in my brain: now you can start to work.
My parents drank coffee all the time when I was growing up and I loved the smell. Nothing wakes me up on the right side of the bed like the smell of a fresh-brewed pot of coffee (cue cheesy Folgers commercial from the 80’s). It reminds me of warmth on cold New Jersey mornings and comfort knowing that no matter what the day brings, a hot mug of goodness is waiting just for you.
As much as I enjoy the home brew, like any coffee snob, the best part about a sophisticated coffee drink is that you don’t have to make it yourself. Baristas practically live to serve a well-versed coffee drinker such as myself.
Both coffee shops downtown have quality coffee and serve as natural gathering spots for friends or meetings. The Mint Mocha Frappuccino at Common Ground on Bay Street is simply amazing, but also addicting, so I have to limit my intake. My go-to at City Java is a non-fat vanilla latte, but I recently discovered the frozen cappuccino and it has been my favorite drink of the summer.
I am also a huge fan of the coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts. In New Jersey there are Dunkin’ Donuts on almost every street corner, so when the one opened on Boundary Street you can bet I was one of the first people in line at 5:30 a.m. on the first day to get my free travel mug.
I was devastated when Firehouse Books & Espresso closed. I would go there everyday before work with my Firehouse to-go mug and fill it with Snickerdoodle for $1. I have dreams about that coffee, it was excellent.
Of course, I married a fellow coffee snob. Just as I worked in a coffee shop in college, he worked at a coffee shop in his hometown for seven years and perfected drawing a design in foam on the top of a latte. He likes to grind the beans, and his friend from work roasts his own beans and gives us a jar almost every week. That coffee is so bold, it’s a fabulous way to start the day.
When my life was a little more laid back, I used to think the best way to enjoy coffee was slowly, in silence. But now with my hectic working mom schedule, I don’t care where I drink it, but I crave that cup of Joe more than ever.
By Pamela Brownstein