People often say that you are what you eat. In this case, perhaps you are what you drink. For years, I never liked coffee. I was a tea and Diet Pepsi girl. But with the advent of a Starbucks and Caribou Coffee on every street corner, I started to try it. Besides, I don’t get enough sleep, so I really need the caffeine. After trying a bunch of different types and flavors, I’ve learned this:

I love coffee. As long as it doesn’t taste like coffee. Give me your largest cup, a couple of shots of espresso, add a LOT of skim milk and throw in a flavor shot – cinnamon or gingerbread if you have it. Oh…and don’t forget the whipped cream. Yeah – I know the skim milk and whipped cream cancel each other out. I just can’t help it.

So what does that say about me? Well, I guess it says that I tend not to dismiss things because they fall into a category. Just because the drink has coffee in its name – which I will never like the taste of on its own – I don’t immediately assume I’m going to hate it. In fact, I took it as a challenge to find a coffee drink that I would like. I’d call that stubborn. Yep. That sounds about right. I like my coffee a bit frivolous and frothy. Check…totally me. My writing isn’t going to win the Nobel Peace Prize or put an end to world hunger. But, it might make you laugh. And the big glass – well, when I like something, I want to savor it. When I find a new author that I love, I go out and buy their entire backlist then read those that week. And heck, as a performer, I’ve learned never to do anything small – not even my mistakes.

This might not work for everyone, but I’m curious….what does your coffee choice – or lack or coffee choice, say about you?


  1. Anonymous // February 16, 2010 at 10:26 AM  

    I've had one sip of coffee in my life and the experience was so bad I've never repeated it. Couldn't believe people put that shit in their mouths voluntarily. I get the whole acquired taste thing -- I mean I drink whisky, right? -- but there was something different in kind here, not just degree. So I'm tea guy. And if you think that means I have to turn in my man card, well, I'll fight you for it.

  2. Nephele Tempest // February 16, 2010 at 10:30 AM  

    I currently have a mug of Seattle's Best Breakfast Blend on my desk (in a Starbucks mug), black, no sugar. I do the coffee drink thing from time to time, but more as a dessert than as a coffee fix.

    As a child, I used to beg my mom to spoon coffee from her mug into my milk, and however much she gave me was never enough. I wanted my milk to look as coffee-colored as her actual coffee! (I distinctly remember this ritual taking place while I watched Captain Kangaroo, so that gives you an age bracket.)

    I think it's safe to say I'm a die-hard coffee addict. I love my coffee...

  3. Steve Weddle // February 16, 2010 at 10:41 AM  

    Coffee. Black. In a mug.
    No cup and no saucer.
    That is the baseline.

    Now, if the coffee is thick enough -- percolated espresso, for example -- then the smaller bit of goodness can slosh around in one of those tiny cups with a saucer. The thickness/strongness of the contents clearly offsets the namby-pambiness of the container.

    No cream. I put milk on my Honeycombs, so I don't need more.

    No sugar. I get enough from the 4-6 PopTarts I consume each day.

    Coffee. Black. In a mug.

    As for whiskey, Jack Daniels. In a tumbler. No ice. No umbrella.

  4. Anonymous // February 16, 2010 at 10:48 AM  

    My coffee this morning is in a white mug labelled "Le Cafe Spitz"; not sure what that means. My mother-in-law owns a coffee shop and in college I made myself try all types of coffee drinks until I settled on a turtle latte. Sure, frothy, sweet and plenty of caffiene, but I couldn't tell. I figured, my man's mom is the coffee gatekeeper and I could be getting it for free (like the free milk from a cow thing!). So I'm the same; don't let me taste the coffee and we're good. And I totally do the skim with whip; in my mind; doesn't cancel anything out!

  5. Anonymous // February 16, 2010 at 11:05 AM  

    Couldn't drink coffee for years. Got through college on caffeine and nicotine, Pepsi and cigarettes. Gave up cigarettes in 1993 and the Pepsi is now only a special treat. Reduced to finding way to get caffeine, learned to drink coffee with lots of sugar and milk.

    Now, give me a caramel macchiato or an cappuchino with a strong espresso underbelly and I'm in heaven. Discoverd flavored syrups with no calories. Got an espresso machine for Christmas several years ago.

    Love the flavors, but also love the stronger aftertaste of coffee. My favorite ice cream is coffee or cappuchino so guess that means I'm thoroughly hooked now! LOL

  6. Barbara Monajem // February 16, 2010 at 11:11 AM  

    I like my coffee intense, but my stomach prefers it with milk. Usually I compromise by buying cappucinos from Starbucks, but I'm in Toronto this week, and yesterday I got the best cappucino ever from Second Cup (and mentioned it in my Harlequin Community blog today, along with complaints about no snow. Really.). Now and then I indulge in Turkish coffee... Whoa. Wonderful stuff.

    What this says about me is that I like living on the edge, but not really.

  7. Anonymous // February 16, 2010 at 11:23 AM  

    Mmmm...latte with lots of cinnamon. Soothing and stimulating at the same, wish I could have one right now :)

    Deb G

  8. Bill Cameron // February 16, 2010 at 11:32 AM  

    When I can't be sure if the coffee will be any good, I get a vanilla latte, but easy on the vanilla. Vanilla is a great complimentary flavor to coffee, but most places add too much if I don't say something.

    If I'm confident the barista knows what they're doing, then a dry cappucino.

    I think each of these choices seriously damages whatever noir cred I may have.

  9. Autumn Jordon // February 16, 2010 at 11:33 AM  

    I'm a tea lover. I love the smell of coffee, but the taste, not so much. If I have to drink in a social setting, it's with a bit of milk and lots of sugar. Lots.

    I did have a Starbucks, pumpkin spice thingy one time and that was okay.

  10. Joelle Charbonneau // February 16, 2010 at 11:50 AM  

    Wow! Dan - I'm not allowed to take away your man card. Besides, I like tea, too. But I can't do have one up on me there. So does Steve...remind me to buy you both a cup of whatever when we run into each other - maybe at Bouchercon??

    Nephele - thanks for stopping by and invoking Captain Kangaroo. That made me smile!

    Jenni - You've made me want to try a turtle fact, I might need to pack up the kid and go find one - NOW!

    Barbara - A friend of mine loves the strong stuff, too. And he's always a lot happier after drinking it. I tried it once and had Dan's reaction....not for me. I guess I'm a frothy girl through and through.

    Bill - I won't tell the noir guys if you don't! Huh, I think the two of us would get along. I love noir and vanilla lattes are good, too!

  11. Pamela Varnado // February 16, 2010 at 12:12 PM  

    The one sip of coffee my mother let me try when I was a child instantly told me I didn't like it. I can't seem to get beyond the bitter taste and even shy away from anything named coffee, like coffee ice cream. Whenever I visit my daughter she always buys me a vanilla latte from Starbucks, but to me it tastes nothing like coffee. When I need a shot of caffeine I usually have a glass of Pepsi.

  12. Mary Marvella // February 16, 2010 at 12:34 PM  

    Joelle, good blog!

    I'm with the tea folks. As a Georgia girl I was weaned on sweet tea, then I weaned myself off so much sugar. I can drink hot tea but prefer it flavored. (Some of us remember adding Tang and cinnamon for our the instant spiced tea)

    If it's coffee, I won't drink it. I never developed a taste for coffee because I didn't want to. I just don't like it.

    Coke or Pepsi? I can drink either and can even manage the diet stuff. That took some real doing but the sugar and caffeine together was a tad much. Folks around me said I was hyper. Maybe.

  13. Chris // February 16, 2010 at 3:55 PM  

    Prior to this morning, coffee was one of those things that I kept an eye on only because it is an ice breaker around people who I need to break ice with. Like sports, for example. So I roll into a strange environment and they offer me coffee? Hey, I don't usually drink it, but I'll take it if only to avoid that awkward feeling people get when you say, "No, I don't drink that rotgut."

    For the record, when I partake I drink it straight up black too. No fancy stuff, no sissifying it with sugars and creams and all that.

    For my cup, I have a bright hunter's orange metal travel mug that I bought at some sporting goods store. It is far too ugly for my wife to abide, which is why I bought it -- it was a surefire way to keep her from stealing it.

    But this morning I actually chose coffee. I've always been a diet coke/diet pepsi drinker in the morning, and I've decided to quit. I am weaning myself off it with coffee, just so the caffeine headaches don't make me even more surly than I have been lately.

    It will be hard, because I prefer cold drinks. Cold, like the icy depths of my black, black soul.

  14. Dan Ames // February 16, 2010 at 4:02 PM  

    I drink my coffee from a huge, Christmas cup that is the equivalent of about two and a half normal cups of coffee. A little half-and-half and a teaspoon or so of sugar. I manage two of those or so every morning. When I drink from a regular cup, it feels like I'm using a toy.

  15. Anonymous // February 16, 2010 at 4:21 PM  

    I drink decaf, fairtrade intant from a German supermarket. I tend to only drink coffee at work, water, lots of cold milk, no sugar, out of a mug with my name on it.
    At home I drink tea or decaf coke. an't handle any caffeine as it gives me an instant migraine. don't know how you guys do it!
    Fiona (McDroll)!!

  16. Mary Ricksen // February 16, 2010 at 6:20 PM  

    I'm with danielboshea I hate coffee. Ugh!!!! I like good strong tea. Like PGtips the best tea ever. But I love the smell of it. Weird huh?
    Don't worry Daniel you can keep your card. Sean Connerey drinks tea and Russell Crowe and they kept their cards!

  17. Scarlet Pumpernickel // February 16, 2010 at 8:29 PM  

    It was a ritual in my family. Daddy gave the babies coffee. Didn't matter if Mama objected or now, he was gonna give the baby coffee! His coffee was sweet and creamy and always luke warm, I learned to love coffee drinking it from my Daddy's cup. Still take it sweet, creamy and luke warm. He even gave it to my babies over my objections, but then, that was Daddy. And I always was Daddy's girl, so I didn't object too much to his spoiling my little ones with his sweet, creamy coffee.

  18. Joanne // February 16, 2010 at 9:30 PM  

    I must be a true coffee person. Black coffee, no cream or sugar, is perfect.

  19. WriterMarie // February 17, 2010 at 1:21 AM  

    I like my coffee a variety of ways...sometimes just black, other times skim milk. And sometimes I like the fancy coffee drinks, cold, whatever. I guess the variety makes me a Renaissance woman! LOL At the very least, it means I'm never boring! :o)

  20. Beth Trissel // February 17, 2010 at 10:28 AM  

    I love coffee and Earl Gray Tea, also certain herbal teas...

  21. Beth Trissel // February 17, 2010 at 10:28 AM  

    Oh, how could I forget hot chocolate?

  22. Beth Trissel // February 17, 2010 at 10:29 AM  

    And ice tea....

  23. Judy // February 17, 2010 at 11:56 AM  

    Late to chime in here but I have one cup, usually, of decaf coffee with fresh ground Starbucks coffee beans black. Yum! For treats, I have a Starbucks Mocha. Double yum!

  24. Tiffany // July 23, 2010 at 11:49 AM  

    Mhm, I like mine with a lot of cream. I take after my mom. My favorite has to be french vanilla coffee with 1 splenda. My dad always comments how it tastes like warm milk, haha.