The other day, though, my husband commented on the cycle of coffees I go through when I am in this marathon-like stretch of productivity. In fact, it was he who suggested I blog about it, so thank you Dear Spouse. What he was commenting on was the transition I make with the various beans and blends, depending on what type of work I am doing, for how long, and to what extent I am beginning to show signs of burn-out-syndrome. Perhaps those of you who are self-proclaimed coffee addicts can relate.
Topping off my list of favorites is Kicking Horse Coffee. This little Canadian-company-that-could grew out of the Rockies, addicting innocents like me with their Fair Trade goodness. My two favorites are 454 Horsepower (for those moments when I need a serious gear-shift) and Kick Ass, for when I need a kick in the… well, you get the idea. Both are wonderful dark roasts, possibly too dark for most people I know, but ohhhh so delicious and wonderful.
Now that I am no longer on Canadian soil, it’s not as easy to pick up the black-bagged beans. Plus, economy rules, so usually when I make my ultra-cool trip to Costco (come on, work with me… it’s cool to go to Costco, right?), I grab a 2.5-pound bag of Starbucks French Roast. I am an equal fan of the Italian Roast, only Costco doesn’t carry it in its usual army size option. If I’m really pinching Costco pennies, I’ll even pick up the adequate alternative of Starbucks House Blend packaged as a Kirkland Signature product. Hey, it’s a rough economy. Sometimes we need to make compromises.
Ahh, but you caught me. House Blend and French Roast are on entirely different sides of the roast chart, you say. You are correct. But this is exactly what Dear Spouse was referring to. Yes, I prefer – by far – a super dark roast. But, as I drink… oh… about 15-20 cups of coffee in a 20-hour period (don’t judge!), I concede it is not always the best choice to only consume dark, dark coffee.
Thus, here’s my ritual. In the morning, when I wake up, I enjoy a couple of cups of premium dark roasted coffee. Yum! But, for the majority of the day that follows, I defer to a smoother, milder brew. Yes, that generally increases the caffeine intake, but it also allows me to enjoy the next dozen or so cups of coffee without entirely losing my tastebuds. Perhaps in the late night, I will relax with another dark roast, but throughout the day I have found that variety in beans keeps me fresh. It also keeps the coffee tasting fresh. Each new pot is like that first cup in the morning.
So, what grounds me during my hectic day? Ha. Get it? Grounds? Okay… that was a lame one, I’m sorry.
While in Canada, my choice coffee for the big stretch of the day was President’s Choice West Coast Dark Roast. Yes, I know, it’s a dark roast (technically), but it also has a very smooth bodied taste (in my opinion). Now that I am on US soil, I have fallen in love with Trader Joe’s Smooth & Mellow Blend. This is a very smoooooth cup of coffee, sold in whole bean (just the way I like it), offering a perfect balance of taste, aroma, and addictive elements.
I am also a big fan of picking up locally roasted beans. Usually when perusing a farmers market or passing through a quaint little town while on vacation, I will come across a local roasting company or a mom-and-pop kind of establishment. This is such a great way to discover coffee and add to the pantry.
One of the bag of beans I recently picked up was a French Roast from The Righteous Bean, a Fair Trade coffee company. They have distribution throughout 30 states, but I happened upon it at a little local market. I was very pleased and will definitely buy this delicious bean again.
Another favorite of mine, when I lived in Canada, was a London, Ontario based company called Las Chicas del Cafe, otherwise known as "the coffee chicks." They make a really, really great Dark/Continental Roast that I swear I will stock up on when I pass by there again someday.
As a writer, it’s important to have a complete tool-box to keep me going: Notes on my current projects, a cooperative computer, sticky note reminders, workshops and local events to keep me motivated, online groups to meet new people, and… a well-stocked pantry of various coffee beans. It’s a staple. It’s just as important (no, more so!) as giving myself time and space to think about character development or plotting. I have never had coffee block. Coffee has never rejected me. And coffee always gives me four-star reviews. Now, what writer can do without all that?
So, dear reader, whether you write books or simply enjoy reading them, what’s your favorite coffee (and where can I get it)? Do you have marathon sessions at work or in writing that you turn to coffee for moral support? If you don’t drink coffee, what’s your secret? Go on... spill the beans!
I’d love to continue this discussion, but I’m afraid I have to go make a fresh pot of…