Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Coffe and Technology

As I am sitting here typing this post, I am also sitting in a hot coffee spot.

Who would have thought that coffee and computers would one day go hand in hand? Almost every brew station I enter has some sort or wi-fi connectivity going on. At first I was opposed to the idea, but I must admit, as time has gone on, I have become a fan.

For some reason, even out in public places, it is getting more difficult to connect with people face to face. People are busy, preoccupied, or just plain not interested in building relationships. B3eing online seems to help reduce the awkwardness of sitting alone at a table. It also creates a sense of connection to others.

How ironic that cyberspace connection - global and anonymous, has replaced the face to face interaction in the neighborhood caffeine filling stations!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Stop and Smell the Coffee

Ok. It's been a couple of weeks since I last wrote of my beloved coffee spot. It is not for a lack of love for my java joint.

It is because it is the holiday season.

I have been scrambling to get all of my busywork done for the Christmas Holiday. Rush, rush, rush, and run, run, run have been my mode of movement for the last few weeks. I have neglected to just sit and enjoy my place of nirvana in a cup. I have not slowed down enough to fill my cup. I have not savored the aroma of relaxation that I always find in my caffeinated home away from home.

But tomorrow is another day and another chance to stop and smell the coffee.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday...

In general, this term is used for the Friday after Thanksgiving-the first big shopping day that retailers really slash prices to draw consumers in.

I assume that the "black" means that at the end of the year, the retailers will be turning a profit, not a loss - ergo in their bottom line is in the "black."

It's not Black Friday for me for that reason.....

It is Black Friday for me because for some reason, more than any other day of the year, I need a cup of hot, strong, BLACK coffee.

Maybe it is because I am still in a tryptophan stupor from the enormous amount of Turkey I ate the day before. Maybe I am suffering a sugar crash from all the pumpkin pie. Maybe, just maybe, it is a coping mechanism to prepare me for the long holiday season ahead.

Monday, November 24, 2008

My Cup Runneth Over

Whether you call it java, joe, brew, or just plain coffee....ever cup I drink comes with overflowing blessings.

First, I am blessed to be able to get myself to my coffee spot everyday. I have been blessed with good health, safe and reliable transportation (via my car, my bike or my feet).

Second, I am blessed that I am able to purchase my cup each day. Yes, it is only a $1 refill each morning, but it today's world, many don't even have that much extra to spend.

Third, I am blessed to live in a place where I am allowed to come and go as I please, whether that be to my coffee spot, or anywhere else.

Lastly, I am lucky that I even have a refill mug to....refill. There are many people in the world that don't even have that!

The small things that I sometimes take for granted, come into clearer view at this time of year. I am grateful for all of the big things, but the little things get a bit clearer.

I am grateful that every year at this time I realize - my cup runneth over.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Give Me a B!

On any given day at my coffee spot, this is what I see...

Blackberries ringing,
books being read,
business being conducted,
Bibles being shared,
babble between friends and acquaintances
babies begging for mom's attention, banging tables and biting bitty snacks,
big mugs brimming with brew,
boisterous boys and girls on their lunch break,
Best and worst traits of people.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I need a Cup!

I missed going to my coffee spot today. It is now too late because, unlike many of the big java players, mine closes at 4 pm.

My day just hasn't flowed the same. My routine is off and that is throwing the rest of me off.

I feel lost.

I feel sad.

I feel like I need a cup of coffee!

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Crew Behind the Brew...

Let's face it - we go to our favorite coffee spots for selfish reasons.

When we step up to the counter to place our order, our thoughts are on the satisfaction and instant gratification we will soon be receiving from what we are about to imbibe. The hot, caffeinated liquid we are about to partake of not only warms our bodies from the inside out, but also warms our soul. It makes us feel good.

Have you ever stopped to think about the crew behind the brew? Besides a weekly paycheck, does their service to us warm their hearts?

I would hope that at least to some extent those that are waiting on the customers in my favorite coffee spot do it because they enjoy the daily interaction with the public. But even if they don't, as responsible and socially conscious coffee consumers, we should do our part to bring them a little bit of satisfaction- in gratitude for how they help facilitate ours.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Can There Be That Many Blends?

Have you ever wondered if the coffee industry is just trying to pull one over on us, the poor caffeine dependent public? Is it all just a big joke and the coffee "execs" are sitting in their big offices with their sterling silver coffee mugs laughing?

Seriously... its amazing how many different blends of coffee there are. It seems like everyday of the year there is a different "blend" brewing. From Thanksgiving Roasts, to Winter Blends, to Holiday Brews, to Christmas Coffee, just to name a few at the holiday time, how is a consumer to choose? The constant flipping of the "serving today" sign is enough to make even the most skilled seaman a little seasick!

How do you tell an organic shade grown bean from a hillside in Central America from a full sun, city grown bean roasted in central Los Angeles - laden with pesticides? I don't know that you really can. For now I guess we just have to trust that the coffee companies are being honest with us.

Is there such thing as a coffee sommelier? Maybe I can get in on a gig like that......Hmmmmm.

Friday, November 7, 2008

It's The Little Things...

If you have been reading my entries, you know by now that I have a favorite coffee spot that I visit daily. I go there as part of my routine and would be lost without it.

But, I do on occasion visit other java-joints for a special coffee fix. One of them is the national coffee giant.

At this time of year, this java-joint changes the color of their cups. They go from an everyday, ordinary cup in the hand to a festive celebration in your grip! With the simple change of the vessel, the holiday season rockets into full swing.

I don't know why, but the sheer sight of some thing as little as a cup sends my soul into a frenzy of delight.

I guess it's just the little things in life that bring me joy.....

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


I expected to hear quite a bit of political chatter as I stopped by my coffee spot...

I was very surprised to not here a single political word uttered. I don't understand why after such an historical night (let's face it - regardless of which camp you were in, you have to admit that history was made with Obama's election,) people weren't buzzing with conversation. No electricity and excitement over his nomination, no frustration or disappointment over McCain's loss, no laments or vents or validation of anything.

Are people afraid to voice their opinion? Are they afraid to face the fact that the nation is changing? Or maybe is it just that politics is too heavy a subject before the morning cup of coffee?

What do you think?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Variety is the Spice of Life

This afternoon when I went into my coffee spot, my favorite table to the right of the coffee table was not available.

I had to find a new seat...and that threw me off of my game.

As I sat at an alternate table, I found it hard to concentrate, I was distracted by customers coming in and going out the door, and I was much more in tune to the different noises around me.

As I sat reading my book, I came across a chapter dedicated to adding variety, mixing it up a little, getting out of the same old routine.

I suddenly looked at my seat in a different light. I saw it as an opportunity to view the coffee spot through different eyes....to spice it up a little.

How do you create variety in your life?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

God Bless the Soul....

Let me start by proclaiming:

God bless the soul who first decided to grind and boil those funny brown beans!

What would you do if you didn't have your coffee?

I'm not sure what I would do. I don't know if I would have another vice. I don't know if I would replace my brew with chewing gum, sunflower seeds, soda.....I just don't know.

It is hard for me to imagine because drinking coffee is so ingrained in me. For heaven's sake, I have been drinking it since I was 13. I think by my age, it is a permanent fixture in the part of my psyche that harbors habits.

I just don't think I could get the same type of satisfaction from anything else. I enjoy the warmth of the cup - even on a hot day. I enjoy the smell, the taste, the texture and the site. I enjoy the environment that I am in when I drink it. It is comforting and calming; a place where i can be myself without anyone else's expectations boxing me in.

What other harmless vice could replace all those things? I would guess none. So, I am sticking to my good ole' cup o' joe.

What do you enjoy about your coffee vice?

Sunday, October 26, 2008


I pulled up to my coffee spot this morning. SCORE! I got the parking spot right in front of the door.

I walked in and again - SCORE! My favorite table to the right of the soda machine was sitting there, empty, just waiting for me.

I get in line to order my Sunday bagels and sweets to take home to the family and for a third time - SCORE! The pumpkin muffins were freshly made and iced, waiting just for me to take home.

Now I am not a believer in fate, but I do believe that some things are just meant to be. I don't think that the stars aligning in a certain way will increase the chances that something good will happen. I believe that if we live our lives in a way that treats people the way we want to be treated - by the golden rule, we will be rewarded.

In this case, I am a faithful and loyal customer to my coffee spot. I visit it almost every morning. I am patient even when the line is long. I clean my table up after I use it. I am friendly and polite to the employees. In return, my coffee spot provides me with good service, a place to rest my weary bones, and some darn good coffee!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Coffee Culture

Isn't it amazing that there is a whole culture and language associated with coffee? This coffee culture looks and sounds something like this:

Inhabitants enter their caffeine habitat and form a long row, each facing the back of the next. They stand in silence, occasionally searching the clear glass vessels containing sustenance for the morning meal. Their eyes move from the glass vessels to tablets placed above them. They appear to ponder over their next move and how they are going to be successful in their hunt for nutrition and hydration. In turn, each steps forward until they are facing another inhabitant at the front of the row. The only sound heard is when the two communicate in a language understood only by other members of their culture. The language appears to only consist of adjectives, but somehow the communication is clear. The inhabitant in the line exchanges some currency - usually made out of some type of plastic, and within minutes, the morning hunt is complete. The inhabitant proceeds to either a designated eating area where an electronic device or informational material is observed; or to their transportation vessel where then they partake in fruits of their hunt - still in silence. -Mozilo, 2008

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sacred Grounds

As I looked at my facebook page this morning, one of my friends posted a comment that she was enjoying a nice cup of a very large coffee chain's coffee. Immediately, I began to crave a cup of that hot, dark, rich, liquid sunshine. I needed to fill my tank with a gallon or so of high octane morning juice.

Because my eyes were glued to my monitor, my thoughts wandered to how I could combine two of my loves, coffee and blogging. How could I could successfully juggle a steaming hot cup of liquid that is glued to my hand for about an hour a day and at the same time move my fingers at lightening speed across my keyboard? Do I get my coffee and bring it back home to sit in front of my computer, isolated from my coffee crowd; taping out words one letter at a time with my free hand? No - that just didn't feel right. Do grab the kids laptop and take it with me to my coffee spot where I can enjoy the atmosphere around me, but still be somewhat isolated in my blogging zone? No - that didn't feel right either.

What I have concluded is that I must keep my two loves separate in order keep the sanctity of each. I must stave off my desire to multi-task to more fully enjoy what energizes me. I must recognize that my two loves are on Sacred Grounds.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sunday Morning Coffee

I get my coffee everyday. But Sundays are special.

Sunday mornings are special for a few different reasons. First, it is the one morning of the week that my family has breakfast together. We eat, read the paper and share a meal of bagels, sweets and coffee. Secondly, it is the one morning of the week that no one is rushing to get out the door early for school or work or getting up at the crack of dawn to go to work out. Lastly, it is the morning that I take about an hour to myself to just chill at my coffee spot.

I have a different routine on Sunday mornings than I have for every other day of the week. I get up and and ready for the day before the rest of the family gets up. I am out the door and on my way to the coffee house before they are stirring. When I get to my caffeine palace, I find my usual table, to the right of the soda machine, plop down my refill mug and magazine, and then go and get in line to order. On this day, I order not only my brew, but also bagels and sweet treats to take home to the family. I order two refill cups o' joe - one for me and one for my husband.

Instead of heading right home, I spend sometime with me, myself, and I. I open my magazine. In the quietness of the Sunday morning landscape of my coffee spot, I can read, think, and relax in preparation for the upcoming week.

Once I have had my chill time, I head back home to my family. I put out the bagels and sweets, and we enjoy our Sunday morning breakfast. Each one of us benefits from my coffee spot on Sunday morning. I get my time to recharge myself for the week ahead, and my family gets not only bagels and sweets, but also a better adjusted mom and wife.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Oh For Shame

I has been several days since I last posted at Chat and Brew. It is not that I have nothing to say about my favorite coffee joint. Nor is it that I have lost my passion for my cup o' joe in the morning. I have been MIA because of....well.....shame. I have been unfaithful to my beloved coffee confidante.

Like so many others, my attentions have been captured by an alluring and seductive suitor. It flirted. It persisted. It distracted me with it's captivating appearance. This cunning courter that I write of ensnared me with the tantalizing and all powerful proposal of a free cup of coffee. In my weakness, I succumbed to it's advances.

It was good; a delicious and bold brew donning a beautiful blue and white accouterments. Steamy and hot, it enticed me with an aroma that was robust and unyielding. I drank it, for that moment, unabashedly.

However, at the next break of dawn, a wave of contrition engulfed me as I realized what I had done. My heart sank as I thought of the joy that my coffee spot had brought me and how flippantly I had betrayed it. I vowed that morning that my a.m. cup would fill from no other font than it.

Shall I encounter this suitor again? Perhaps. Will I fall prey to it's diabolical plan to lure me from my one true coffee love? I pray not.

With a firm will and a steadfast heart I will do my best to stay true to my coffee house.

(Recap: I had a free cup of coffee somewhere else and felt bad about it.)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Fall Beans

I love walking into my coffee spot in the fall.

The shop brews an autumn blend coffee that is absolutely delicious! It is a nutmegy, rich, dark roast. Perfect with a little cream and some honey.....oooh, it's so good. Pair it with one of their warm pumpkin bagels, and there you have it, the breakfast of queens.

It seems that everyone in there is in a different mood when fall rolls around. People are a little more pleasant, a little more talkative, and a little less likely to complain at the long lines. I'm not sure why this happens. Maybe it's because here in the southwest, where it is still 100 degrees during the day, the fall menu signals that cooler weather is acomin'.

We don't have the fall foliage like a lot of people do. We don't have "sweater weather" in October - that doesn't come until December. We don't even have harvest festivals and parades that are a staple in many areas of the country at this time of year. All of the autumnal activities that usher in the fall just don't happen here. It's almost a little sad.

But, here, at least in my little corner of the southwest, I will choose to be joyful even though we don't have a true fall. I can be happy that the cooler weather is coming - the forecast says we'll be in the upper 80's next week. I can enjoy the changing color of the bagels as they add pumpkin flavored to the mix. And I can and certainly will enjoy the fall beans!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

I Can't Stay Away!

OK, now tell me if this is pathetic.

I got of work around 12:30 and had to run some errands. I had to get gas, find a birthday present and get home by 2:20 for my daughter to get home. As I am running the last errand, I see that I only had a few minutes to get home. I had an internal argument with myself about just heading right home or stopping for my cup o' brew. The cup o' brew had just too strong of a pull. It won the argument.

Even when pressed for time, I HAVE to stop for my coffee. My favorite brew summons me - like a moth to the flame; like a magnet to steel; like a bee to a flower.... Well, that may be a bit dramatic. I'm not sure why, but even when pressed for time, my desire for my cup wins out. I am weak. I just can't stay away.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A Fresh Cup

My routine has changed just a bit....

I started a part-time job so my morning coffee stop has been moved to an afternoon, after work coffee stop.

In the morning I see the same old crowd - the regulars - my fellow coffee connoisseurs shuffling in to the store and up to the counter to purchase their cup of caramel colored sunshine. So, this afternoon while I was enjoying my bagel and p.m. coffee, I was able to see my favorite coffee joint from the afternoon perspective.

Sitting next to me was a man I had never seen before. The manager (with whom I am on a first name basis) introduced me to him. He was a very nice man. He had a wonderfully positive attitude and seemed genuinely interested in who I was and what I was doing. He was cheerful, and full of conversation. He was also physically challenged.

Now I don't know what the nature of his challenges were, but I could tell that whatever it was, didn't hold him back. I was so inspired by him. I also thought about challenges that I may face in any given day from a different view. I realized that a lot of them are challenges I make for myself. Regardless of where they are from, it is up to me to rise above them and do it with a positive and joyful attitude.

Now don't get me wrong...I love the morning crowd; the same old brew - I mean crew. But sometimes, it is nice to mix it up and try a fresh cup!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Creature of Habit....

As usual, I stopped by my coffee joint this morning.

I stood in line, ordered my usual bagel toasted with peanut butter and 99 cent mug refill. I paid my $3.33 bill and then headed to the self serve coffee pots to fill my cup.

I looked at the brew signs as I do every morning. I assessed the various roasts and then decided on the vanilla hazelnut brew....as I do every morning. With one hand I grabbed the honey bottle and the other the creamer carafe and poured both in the bottom of my cup. I then placed my cup under the spout and watched as my cup filled with hot, caramel colored liquid. I gave my cup a swirl, grabbed a wooden stirrer and a few napkins, and off I went.

With cup in hand, I made my way over to the first table to the right of the soda machine, wiped it off, pulled out my chair and sat down. The coffee cup and bagel basket each had their place in front of me. It had be this way to accommodate the book that I was reading this morning.

From the corner of my eye, I saw some of the other regulars. I gave the expected "How ya doin'" wave, and quickly returned to my coffee and book.

Now what is so special about this? Nothing really. It's just that I do this same thing every morning. It has become such a part of my daily routine, that if I don't follow it, my whole day is messed up...we're talking cranky, frustrated in just plain not fun to be around. I am completely dependent upon this morning ritual. I have truly become a creature of habit.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Different Brew

As I entered my usual coffee spot this morning, I came upon a big yellow school bus parked outside the front doors. Now I have seen students before, in fact, I see some students there almost every morning. But never before have I seen them bussed in.

I watched them as I enjoyed my cup of java and bagel.

They sat in groups at the various tables. The groups seemed to represent many of various "high school culture" groups. There were some with brightly colored hair and piercings, some that looked to be athletes, some that looked to be what we used to call the preppy group.

As they ate their various breakfast selections from the bagel/Kids, pastry case and drank their coffee drinks, sodas and juices, they chattered away in their teen language. Some of the conversations were mellow and quiet while others were spirited. Still some were melodramatic, carried on in the way that only teens can get away with.

I am not sure what the group of teens was doing there, but I have to applaud them. Although they were in a big group and among their peers, they were polite and respectful to those around them. They cleaned up after themselves, and conducted themselves with maturity while they were there. They were quite a different brew than what I often observe in large groups of kids.

I wonder what the bus ride was like after the caffeine and sugar kicked in......

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Breakfast with Boo

This morning I went to a very large coffee chain for coffee and breakfast. My middle daughter, Boo, didn't have school today, so she joined me for a coffee drink and oatmeal.

As we sat there, I was amazed at what goes on in a coffee house. There is a constant mix of almost frantic activity and calming relaxation. I know those two don't mix, but they sure sit in juxtaposition in this setting. I watched men carrying out business transactions and a mother lecturing her grown son. But, sitting right next to them were people quietly reading the paper. I watched a new trainee at the counter become obviously flustered as he took orders as well as a seasoned calm coffee professional trying to coach him through his trial. I saw complicated drink orders being processed right along side the simple drip brew. These elements that seemed so contrary to each other existed in harmony in this place.

The coffee house is an interesting world to watch. But for today, the only interest I had was sharing breakfast with Boo!

Morning Coffee...

I don't know about all of you, but I am useless until I have my morning coffee.

Like many, I am a self declared coffee addict. Now it's not the caffeine. I can go decaf with no problem. It's not the fancy-schmancy drink combos you can order. I can go just plain brew straight up with no additives and still be ok. It's not even the whole status thing of walking out of any particular coffee joint donning a high fashion, oh so now paper cup. I am just fine with my 99 cent refill mug.

For me is simply the experience of coffee. It's the smell of the beans, the look of the steam rising from the cup, the sheer joy of that first sip of a deep dark roast wake me up coffee! The perking up of the senses as the morning's first cup trickles down my throat is a thrilling and exhilarating experience every day.

I may sound over the top about this whole coffee thing. This may be true. But every at place I have purchased a cup of coffee, I have experienced new things, made new observations, and simply enjoyed taking in the atmosphere.

In my postings here, I hope to share some of my thoughts and observations with you as well as have you share yours with me.

So grab a cup of brew, have a seat, and let's chat over coffee!