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Here's a curious observation for you. When I first joined LibraryThing I noticed the Tea group. Pretty neat, I thought, since I love tea. Just out of curiosity I looked for a Coffee group. There was no coffee group. None whatsoever. Crazy. So, just today, I checked again and I found one! I clicked on the link and was met with, "The group Coffee! no longer exists." Haha! I guess we know where our loyalties lay.
Amusing. So, what do you think about this phenomenon? It's interesting that there's such a strong predilection. I'm not anti-coffee or anything, but I do prefer tea. I've gone through phases where I've drank a lot of coffee, but anymore I just don't care for it all that much. I think it's because I've had some really excellent coffee before, but the vast majority of coffee you can find (including Starbuck's) tastes like ass. It's almost always burnt and/or stale. It's so rare to find a truly excellent cup of coffee that coffee drinking for me has become a rarity.
But there is still a coffee group on LT: LibraryThing Coffeehouse.
Tea seems to be "in vogue" right now. I have no idea why, but I don't mind!
Also, I do have to say that the caffeine in coffee seems to have a greater affect on me. Strangely, sometimes it makes me super alert and active, and other times it makes me feel sluggish; like I want to take a nap (and I mean shortly after drinking it, not after it's wearing off). Maybe I'm just weird like that.
(As anyone may see, I availed myself of it, thoroughly! :) )
If you'll pardon the analogy, it's similiar to why there's a Mother's Day and a Father's Day, but no Children's Day (in North America): every day is Children's Day! (That's the answer I got as a child, anyway!)
If coffee is "the norm" then coffee drinkers perhaps feel less need to discuss it.
I've never been a coffee drinker---love the smell but dislike the taste. However, we made our first trip to Italy this summer. A relative of my husband's told me that I would become a coffee lover in Italy as soon as I had my first cappuccino. I said, "no way!". Well, I must report that she was right. I enjoyed many cappuccini in Italy and my husband and I purchased an espresso machine promptly upon our return.
Having had the machine for a few months now I can report that I enjoy an occasional cappuccino. I told my husband recently that I enjoy it as a "luxury". But now that the weather is cool there is no doubt that tea will continue to be my daily beverage. While cappuccino says "luxury", tea is warmth and coziness and LOVE!
And like you, Eurydice, I enjoy the variety. I have 3 or 4 varieties in my cabinet and I love looking at them each morning to decide which one "feels" right!
The phrase "pot of coffee" doesn't call up that sort of impression. Maybe that's because coffee isn't savoured, cup after cup after cup, in quite the same way. A lot of people simply use it to wake up in the morning and to give themselves a welcome jolt of energy later in the day. (In fact, I tend to call coffee the "lubricant of capitalism" for that reason.) And whereas tea relaxes, coffee enervates.
It seems to me - if I may generalize very wildly indeed - that coffee is perceived as a drink that is essentially solitary in nature. This is rather ironic given that in Europe, it was the coffeehouse that first offered a place for people to meet, drink coffee sociably with one another, and sit for hours discussing the matters of the day. Teahouses came later...
I enjoy both, although I tend to prefer coffee over tea. My preference does shift with the time of day, however; from mid-afternoon onward, I tend to lean toward a cup of tea.
"lubricant of capitalism"
That's awesome. I'm going to have to steal that one...
That's awesome. I'm going to have to steal that one...
Go right ahead. I'd be happy to set that phrase free and see it grow up to become a meme :-)
Strangely, sometimes it makes me super alert and active, and other times it makes me feel sluggish
My cure for this phenomenon is to mix one part regular coffee with one part decaf coffee (in whatever proportion you like so that you get no more caffeine than you want). I usually do half regular/half decaf coffee in the morning and just decaf in the evening.
I have my tea bags divided into those with black tea, green tea, and neither black or green (herbal/decaf) so my tea-drinking friends can make the same choice.
...the caffeine in coffee seems to have a greater affect on me.
That's because coffee has more caffeine in it than tea.
Maybe that's because coffee isn't savoured, cup after cup after cup, in quite the same way.
Ha! For me, it is! I carry around a cup of coffee (although it gets cold) for hours. I drink small sips at a time and refuse to give up my cup until it's done.
I'm not here as a coffee-lover to usurp this thread, but to join tea lovers as well. I'm trying new brands of tea and am happy to announce that I now have grown to like tea and want to learn more about it.
This is rather ironic given that in Europe, it was the coffeehouse that first offered a place for people to meet, drink coffee sociably with one another, and sit for hours discussing the matters of the day. Teahouses came later...
Perhaps the social aspect of coffee or tea comes from where one associates drinking it. Coffee brings to mind my living in the Mideast. Tea brings to mind Chinese restaurants. :-)
Similar to the fact that I'm basically a "dog person" through and through ... but that doesn't stop me from being beguiled by cats!
I actually have a real weakness for good coffee, but tea is the elixir of life for me!
However, in my own case I would have to say this is much like being a cat person, and having a deep fondness for good dogs. If I could own one or two I've known, and didn't have a very devoted, but shy, cat - I'd add them in a heartbeat.
I'd say maybe tea is a bit more social because everyone tends to drink the same tea from the same pot.
grizzly.anderson, I think you've nailed it. There's something comfortingly communal about sharing a big pot of tea. Also, the ritual of pouring for another, offering a top-up when you see that someone's cup is getting low, etc., has a graciousness and solicitude that is really special (and not seen quite as often in the coffee world).
Your posting made me think of Japanese tea ceremony. Most people are unaware that there are two types of tea served: thin tea and thick tea. Both are made with matcha (tea leaves ground into powder) which is thoroughly whisked into hot water, then served in the bowl in which the tea was made.
Thin tea is served individually - one bowl to one guest, as you might expect. In contrast, thick tea (which is made with more matcha and less water) is made in a single bowl that is passed in turn from the first guest to all the others. You receive it from the previous guest, take two small sips, then pass the bowl into the waiting hands of the next guest. The communal aspect of thick tea makes for a more formal event - it's considered more profound than "thin tea", and takes place in near-silence. Some historians have even suggested that the Christian communion may have had an influence on this aspect of tea ceremony.
Anyway, there is something about taking a drink together from a shared vessel that seems inherently more sociable... whether it's a pot of tea or a bombilla of yerba mate. (Which, by the way, I must try one of these days - do you like it? :-)
I'm not the person to whom you addressed the question, but I'd definitely recommend yerba mate. It's got a sort of smoky, rooty, soil-y flavor. Takes a little getting used to, particularly if you're used to traditional black teas or even greens, but I enjoy it quite a bit.
The best I can describe the flavor is kind of vegetal and earthy. For whatever reason, I like it most when I'm camping or the fall sitting on the porch looking at the changing trees up and down the block. Plymouth Tea (and probably some other shops) offer flavored mate as well. I had one flavored with blood orange that was quite good.
Oh - and to jump back on topic - I tried coffee. I really did. I've even tried it sitting in a street cafe in Paris. I still just can't stand the stuff. I figure I've given it my best shot, and I must just be missing the coffee taste buds. Oh well.
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But For a while now I crave coffee. I do find it remarkable to read that there are more people on here who have (like me) the problem that coffee makes them sluggish! I thought I was a "Coffee Freak" since it is loaded with caffeine it should wake me up, right? And how can you get a tad nervouse but still feel tired after a cup of coffee?
I also love cappuccino ( the smooth foam and than the first sipp of the milky coffee hmmmm) but can't stomach espresso.
And yes, yes, yes it is damn hard to find a good coffee brand, maker or shop. I really start to think that the quality of the coffee beans is degrating, or, the coffeeshops set the machines wrong. At home I also have no luck getting a tasty cup, inspite of the special machine I got. (so I guess it is the coffee beans after all ;) I swear ten years ago almost everyone served a decent cup, but not no more. Any tips??
Perhaps it's the sugar in the coffee that is making you sleepy? I have a friend who also suggests it my tap water (!) with which I cook that meakes her sleepy. Perhaps try making it with distilled or spring water? Are you sure you're using caffeinated coffee?
I swear ten years ago almost everyone served a decent cup, but not no more. Any tips??
Things I do to try to get a decent cup of coffee.
1. Avoid buying prepared coffee at Starbucks! The beans are okay, but the coffee always tastes burnt when made in the store. :-(
2. Use freshly roasted beans. Find a coffee roaster near where you live that roasts their own beans and sells them. I fortunately live near a Mayorga's. Their coffee is fabulous. Barring that, try to determine how old the roasted coffee beans are before you buy them. Buy the freshest ones. Use them right away or store them in an airtight container in your freezer.
3. Smell those beans! If you press on a sealed bag of coffee, you can press out a whiff of that coffee's aroma. Find one that smells good to you. People's tastes vary. Buy that one.
4. Decide which roast you like. I like medium. Light roast is a very mild flavor of coffee. Medium is, of coarse, right in the middle. Dark roast is very strong and is usally a bit too much for me ... although I do like Turkish coffee ... which is prepared a different way altogether.
5. Buy whole beans. Grind them at home right before you drink the coffee. Starbucks sells an inexpensive, but very good, coffee grinder ($20). Grind the beans until the are finely ground and put them into a drip coffee maker. Vary the amount of coffee you use until you find the strength you like. I use 3/8 cup beans for 5 cups (6-oz each) of coffee in my Braun drip coffee maker (maye $20). With a paper towel, I always wipe out my coffee grinder after each use. Some people only use filtered water for their coffee. I use tap water without any problem.You'll need to experiment with the amount of coffee you use. If you like stronger coffee, use more in proportion to the water. If you like weaker coffee, use less coffee in proportion to the water.
6. If you should decide to use a French press, only grind your coffee until it is of a coarse grind - or it will get caught in the filter screen of the French press. See hints about the use of a French press on another thread. I just learned how to use one a few months ago with good results. It's an excellent way to make a good cup of coffee for just one person.
7. Never leave a freshly brewed pot of coffee sitting on a burner. That's what takes away the aroma and make it taste bitter. If you make more than you are going to use, pour it into a thermos to keep it hot. Coffee websites will tell you never to leave a fresh pot of coffee on a warmer longer than 18 minutes. I like to drink my freshly-brewed coffee right away.
8. Don't buy flavored coffee! If you like flavored coffee, add your own flavor at home. In that way, you can avoid artifical flavors in your coffee. This week, I added chocolate liquer (sp?) to my two cups of my coffee. Sometimes I add Kahlua. Yum!
9. If you prefer sweetened coffee, by all means add a sweetener. Use sugar, if not on a diet, or Splenda, if on a diet or if you are diabetic so as not to add even more calories.
10. To lighten your coffee, use real cream or half and half. Two tablespoons of half-and-half have 35 to 40 calories. Figure that into your total caloric content for the day.
The bottom line is that you have to decide how you like your coffee and experiment with it until you find somethng that makes it taste very good to you!
My good friend is a coffee buff, and now she'll only drink cappucino from her new cappucino maker. I, however, like my own non-cappucino, but also freshly-made, coffee.
Please chime in, others, to add to this list of "To do's". I always like to improve my coffee-making skills. Thanks!
Happy Holidays, everyone!
Ah! Yerba mate! That brings back lovely memories of Hebrew language school in Israel many, many years ago where a lively group of Argentinians shared their national tea (with its accompanying cup and special straw) with me.
I like the fact that tea and coffee so often are the glue on which friendships are made and nurtured.
Thank you very much for your helpfull answer on my post. I appreciate the time you took to give me such an elaborate answer. I will surely keep your tips in mind, and if they give me a "Pleasurable Cup of Joe" I will let you know =)
They really are apples and oranges, especially when you get into the herbals.
Oh and he was pouring giant slugs of Rum, too. That helped.
One of the things he lit up over was the fact that I was reading a Jack London Book (Before Adam).
Did you know that today is Jack London's birthday?!
Ahh! Pass that gourd with the yerba mate (and the rum) over here...
I appreciate the smell and texture of coffee, it's good for cooking and imparting its flavour on ingredients.
Then there's stuff on the other end of the spectrum like a latte, which to me just tastes like hot milk with the vaguest impression of coffee. Which isn't really that pleasant.
I have occasionally had a moccaccino which is relatively pleasant, but that's as far as I go into coffee territory.
I have never had mate that was served intentionally cold. The only occasion I have had to drink it was when my aunts in-laws visited from Argentina. I found I loved the way Pete (Pe-te as in petite) made it but I didn't like it when my aunt made her own. They actually sent her back with a cup and "straw" for me after their last visit. I have yet to make my own though....
At home I almost always make tea, but when I'm out coffee is more reliable, except for those places that specialize in tea. Ordering a cup of tea in most restaurants will get you a cup of sort-of hot water and a tea bag. (I once asked a waitress, "If I'd ordered coffee would you have brought me a cup of water and some beans?") The coffee, at least, is brewed before they bring it to you.
The thing I love about tea is the variety. Maybe it's my taste buds, but I can't distinguish varieties of coffee by flavor alone. (Except that Starbucks' Pike Place is undoubtedly the worst coffee they've ever offered.) Tea comes in so many wonderful varieties--green to black, Earl Grey, Assam and lapsang souchong. That's not even counting the herbals; I'm more a true tea drinker, but like rooibos, mint and some of the other more strongly flavored herbs. There are always new varieties to explore and blends to try.
yerba mate -- which i love for the haylike aroma (like yomogi rice cake) -- seems to be between tea and coffee in respect to repressing the appetite but sometimes makes me slightly nauseous (has any yerba matte been tainted by herbicides?).
my guess is we might do better to drink something with cocaine in it like the original cola rather than caffeine -- it seems to be milder on the digestive system -- be that as it may.
after two or three hours on coffee, i nurse a half glass of red wine for an hour and that is when the writing goes most beautifully --- i cannot see following tea with wine . . .
Congratulations on trying to lose the coffee addiction - for such it is, in my experience. I over-indulged as a student, and then had to endure withdrawal headaches. Now, if ever I do have coffee, it really gives a buzz. Very useful in a post-lunch business meeting, when everyone else is starting to flag!
So even if there are more coffee drinkers out there, tea drinkers tend to band together.
It's only recently that I've learned to like coffee, and it took Creole style, coffee and chickory blend to do that. A little demerara sugar and heavy cream . . . but as much as I do like it, it lacks the emotional satisfaction of my tea.