Friday, January 17, 2014

Coming Soon To A Theater Near You: "The Coffee Unmaker."

Author Michael Di Gesu is hosting, today, "The Coffee Hop," a series of posts on blogs about what we love best about coffee.

His blog is here, and you can find the others taking part in this blog hop at that link.

As it happens, I was having a talk the other day with another lawyer in my office, and (as so often happens in conversation) the topic eventually drifted to coffee-flavored yogurt.

Which I DID NOT KNOW WAS A THING.  Sometimes I wonder how civilization went so horribly wrong as to be capable of creating such destructive, terrible things as "coffee-flavored yogurt."  Or coffee-flavored anything.

Why would anything except coffee need to be flavored like coffee? I assume that people who are coming up with coffee-flavored things, such as coffee-flavored yogurt or coffee-flavored candy or coffee-flavored pizza (probably) or coffee-flavored Tactical Operation Military Assassin Drones are people who have NEVER TASTED COFFEE.

If Obama had simply slapped a Starbucks logo on there and called it a "Pumpkin Spice Latte Drone,"
people would have voluntarily donated money to support the campaign to illegally target American citizens
for assassination without due process, without any protests.  (HA HA, like there were protests!)

That is because if you have tasted coffee then you know that coffee tastes... what is a word that has the same meaning as "awful," only to the billionth power? Whatever that word is (awful to the awfulth power), it applies to how coffee tastes.

And I say that as someone who used to drink so much coffee that just hearing how much I drank almost gave my cardiologist a heart attack.

I have never liked the flavor of coffee, and I am extremely suspicious of people who claim they do like it, lumping them in with people who claim they do not watch television, or people who supposedly like to watch baseball, or people who say they do not eat pizza for breakfast: liars or lunatics, I assume of them all.  Plus, annoying. (But, then, I find most people annoying, which is probably a byproduct of either having too much or not enough caffeine in my system.)

So when I heard that there was such a thing as coffee flavored yogurt, I nearly barfed into my Toy Story lunchbox (I had the Toy Story lunchbox because I now use my Angry Birds lunchbox to hold power cords for various gadgets, and why I have both a Toy Story and an Angry Birds lunchbox is for another day, let's not get distracted here) and then had to try to lecture my coworker about what a terrible example of humanity she had just demonstrated herself to be, at which point she tried to make it better by saying that she puts granola in it.

Which, first, I'm not entirely sure what granola is, but I know I am opposed to it because it sounds kind of new age-y, doesn't it? Except for granola bars, which are delicious but they only make the chewy kind anymore, and Sweetie doesn't buy them anyway, probably because I haven't told her that I would like her to buy granola bars.  Whatever. Stay with me, here.

Secondly, that wouldn't improve it, because the flavor of coffee in relationship to other flavors is like the power of a mugger with a gun in relationship to any other person who is not Charles Bronson Jason Statham. Sorry. Had to go with a more up-to-date reference there.  I don't know that anyone today would know who Charles Bronson is.  I'm not sure how I know who Charles Bronson is, unless I absorbed some sort of knowledge of him from pop culture references, but then we're back to how would anyone else know who Charles Bronson is?

Pictured: Not Charles Bronson

The point being that when I was a kid, I thought "muggers" only lived in New York City and Chicago, but I also was so afraid of muggers that whenever I went into any area with a population density greater than that of Hartland, Wisconsin (Former Home Of Rudy The Llama!), I put my wallet in my front pocket to avoid pickpockets, who I know are not muggers but my parents raised me to be afraid of lots of things, okay?

So when you combine coffee and granola (whatever THAT is) or coffee and pie, or coffee and hamburgers (probably) you don't get coffee+hamburger.  You get a coffee-flavored lump of somehing.

I remember one time my mother-in-law got me an ice cream cake for my birthday, at a party she threw.  "I know you like ice cream cakes," she said, as I took my slice and put a spoonful into my mouth and tasted coffee.

And then I died.

Not really but practically.  Do you know what it's like to have a mouthful of cold, semi-solid coffee? I do and I can never get it out of my brain.

(TOPIC FOR ANOTHER DAY: Why will my brain not remember for 12 hours where I put my keys but it will store PERMANENTLY the memory of coffee-flavored ice cream, AND as an added bonus feature, offer that memory up nearly daily?  GOD I HATE MY BRAIN.)

So this is supposed to be about what I like about coffee, and here is what I like about coffee: It delivers caffeine to your brain in the fastest (socially acceptable) method.  I have to add socially acceptable because there are, of course, faster ways of getting caffeine into your brain but "society," which I am very very reluctantly a participant in won't allow them. (I speak here of the Caffeine Injector 5000, which would be available for sale except the FDA had some concerns about "using a two-foot long needle" to "automatically inject caffeine directly into the frontal lobe.")(The quotes are directly from my patent application.)

I was not aware of coffee's remarkable prowess until I went to Morocco in 1994.  That was my first time out of the United States, and I was shocked -- shocked! -- to learn that the entire world didn't cater specifically to my needs.  WHY DID WE EVEN BOTHER WINNING THE COLD WAR? Specifically, the entire world did not have a ready supply of my then-choice of caffeine-delivering mechanism, which was Diet Coke.  I drank Diet Cokes by the thousands back then (and given the alarming number of chemicals in Diet Coke, and my massive consumption of those chemicals, it ought not to surprise you that I have a cardiologist at age 45), and when I went to Morocco (a trip I picked as a foreign-study program based on the criteria of "I can afford this one, so that's the one I choose") I fully expected that the Third World would have a ready supply of ice-cold Diet Cokes for me to purchase using what Third World countries call "money"... only to learn that the only thing Third World countries have a ready supply of is shortages.  In Morocco's case, there was a shortage of ice, of cold, and of Diet Cokes.

Faced with either having a raging caffeine headache on top of jet lag and the feeling that I would never get used to eating goat meat (I did, it's not bad) I tried one of the Moroccan coffees, which is called "qahwa" and which are served in tiny tiny cups that contain a miniscule amount of coffee.  So the first two words I learned in Arabic were "qahwa" and "kbir," the latter being large, and I would motion to the coffee-maker that I wanted a coffee fit for an American.  When you come from a country that hogs 75% of a continent to itself (and the good parts, at that), you don't need to compress your body into tiny cars or your coffee into thimbles, and eventually I got the ability to order a coffee that was worth my while.

And what I learned was that 1 coffee would do the work of 5 or 6 Diet Cokes, and what I learned when I returned home to "the States" (as we world-travelers call our country) was that coffee is dirt cheap.

(Probably because it is dirt. Can you prove it isn't?)

I could buy a bottom-line bucket of coffee grounds for the cost of one 12-pack of Diet Coke, and get hundreds of cups of coffee out of it, effectively reducing the cost of a cup of coffee to zero, and thus began my lifelong crippling love-hate relationship with coffee, as I drank more and more of it, building up an immunity to caffeine that was so remarkable that I could drink a cup of coffee at 10 o'clock and go to sleep immediately afterwards.

Over the ensuing 20 years, until I was advised to maybe cut back a bit if I didn't want to (to use the medical term) "die", I drank coffee day and night, but I never got used to the flavor, which each time was like a kick in the face.  And there was no way to fix the flavor, either.  All these new-wave things like 'flavored coffee' (which to me always ends up tasting like toothpaste, or feet) or "lattes" or "iced coffee" (which is a COLOSSAL SCAM: They are selling you cold coffee, people) or whatever doesn't erase the flavor of coffee: they just make it worse.

There are things in life you just have to tolerate because even though they are unpleasant they provide you a benefit that outweighs the negative.  Things like "dentist appointments", or "other people." And the flavor of coffee is on that list.  So I can put up with coffee's flavor so long as it remains confined to coffee, but when coffee's flavor starts overrunning the borders and invading other food's flavors, well, WE HAVE TO TAKE A STAND, don't we? Yes, we do. Don't be lazy about this. So here is what I propose: We put out an ultimatum, demanding that from here on out, coffee flavor shall be confined solely to coffee, so that I (and others, but who am I kidding, I'm just in this for me) don't have to worry that I will ever inadvertently get a blast of coffee flavor when I am expecting ice cream or candy or macaroni and cheese, which I bet also has a coffee-flavored version of it by now.

And if the manufacturers won't cave in? We'll send Jason Statham after them.

"You put coffee flavor in her jelly beans? MONSTERS! DIE!" 

If you are new to this blog, you should also check out lit, a place for stories, where I publish stories I write, and also publish (and pay for!) short stories etc from other writers.

And if you're not new to this blog, go check it out anyway, because what else are you doing? It's Friday and I know you're not getting any real work done.


L. Diane Wolfe said...

I like the coffee flavor in a candle. Although that's more of a smell. I'm sure it wouldn't taste good.

Cathrina Constantine said...

Coffee flavor is in everything, because even people who don't like the taste, love the smell. I remember Charles Bronson quite well. He usually played quite a bad guy in film.

M. J. Joachim said...

As much as I like coffee - you don't have to believe me, but it's true, the thought of coffee flavored yogurt makes my tummy sour. There are just some things that should never go together, and coffee + yogurt definitely fall into that category!

Rusty Carl said...

Since other people have already brought up the smell part, I won't go there (except to say, I do have a whole bag of coffee beans that I've emptied into a dish, because it smells amazing and I want that smell to be near me, even though I don't drink coffee).

And, true story coming...

When I was a teenager I took a road trip down to Atlanta. I think my sister lived there at the time and I went to see her, I don't know, it isn't pertinent to the story, but, I was coming back, like teenagers are wont to do, at about 2 a.m. and was really sleepy.

The route back is pretty simple, there is Atlanta... two hours of nothing... Chattanooga... two hours of nothing... Knoxville. Four hours isn't a bad trip, but again, I was a teenager, and those two hours of nothing portions of the trip were pretty tough. I got very sleepy.

So I stopped at a McDonalds and decided to get a coffee. Now, I'd tasted coffee before. Like the baby sips my mother gave me when I was a child. I didn't realize her coffee was 80% milk, 19% sugar and 1% coffee. I thought it was, you know, just coffee.

Whatever, don't judge me, I wasn't like today's sophisticated kids that all drink double grande vente triple mocha expresso americanos with lemon zest and sprinkles of cinnamon, with heavy foam and one cube of ice.

No, it was the days when you got coffee and that's it. So, I ordered coffee. Now, I know that I had to add something to make it better, so I got cream and sugar in it. I let them decide how much, I figured the folks at McDonalds were the expert baristas, not I, the simple teen who ordered the drink.

I was back on the interstate and tenderly took the first taste of coffee a few minutes later.

How bad was it? Well, I rolled down the window, and chugged the coffee out. The thought of it being in my car was horrifying, I'd rather be transporting a live ebola virus than a cup of coffee. I also discovered, incidentally, that my chugging coffee out the window at high speed on the interstate means coffee will end up all over your backseat if you do it wrong.

So I took the next exit and threw the cup away, because ew, and then tried to wipe down the backseat, which was permanently stained with the wonderful aroma of that awful drink.

And I never drank coffee again. Ever.

cleemckenzie said...

No to flavored coffee. I'm above suspicion, right?

Michael Di Gesu said...

THIS WAS HYSTERICAL, BRIANE! Thanks so much for the laugh AND the visuals...

So, does this mean you DON'T want the pound of Colombian Coffee if you win?

AT this point, you are a contender, so let me know!

Thanks for joining the HOP and putting your unique spin on it!

Michael Di Gesu said...

Oh, BTW...


Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I love coffee ice cream and I loved your post.

Anonymous said...

Coffee scented candles smell good. Coffee flavored cookies and ice cream are both good. Not sure about the coffee flavored yogurt though.

Briane P said...

Michael -- I'd take the coffee (as long as it's not tucked into an Egg McMuffin or something.)

Diane: Most coffee-flavored stuff tastes worse than that candlle, I bet.

Cathrina: You are my go-to expert for all things Bronson, from here on out. Like, for example, how his sister wrote all those novels, and when he turned into a dinosaur.

M.J.: Coffee+ anything I'd say.

Rusty: The image of a young, naive Rusty gagging on coffee is now one that offsets the mature, sophisticated Rusty who... what is it you do, again?

Cleem, you've just avoided a visit from Jason Stathman. Or Charles Bronson, now that we know Cathrina probably can send him around if he is still alive and not a dinosaur.

Susan and Susanne: Agree to disagree, and I would duck before Jason blows up that building behind you. ONCE I UNLEASH HIM HE'S BEYOND MY CONTROL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

D.G. Hudson said...

I don't like the coffee yogurt, But I do like coffee. And I hate the idea, even, of pizza, especially cold, in the morning.

I do like Jason, however. He's definitely an update from Bronson and a followup to Bruce Willis, IMO.

Briane P said...

D.G., you and I were ALMOST kindred spirits, until you said that thing about cold pizza. As the guy who invented "24 Hours Of Pizza" (and who one day hopes to break the Pizza Event Horizon), I have to respectfully disagree with you, and say that I will pray for your soul.

Nicki Elson said...

The coffee flavored yogurt IS disgusting. But you are so very wrong about the ice cream.

So, my sister who lives in London once drank coffee that came from a weasel's butt. Seriously (er, I think it was a weasel--some kind of rodent). The animal ate the beans and then apparently something in their digestive juices does something to them, and the poop them out and then someone washes the beans...I assume...and they make coffee that is apparently quite fantastic. A random story, I know, but you seem like the kind of person who might appreciate it. Am I right?

Liz A. said...

I've never tasted coffee. Love the smell, but since I can't do caffeine...

I hear stories like yours, and I don't think I'm missing anything.

Briane P said...


I HAVE heard of that kind of coffee. For a while there, Poop Coffee was all the rage. (And I do appreciate the story. You pegged me right, right off the bat.)


You're really not missing anything. Except the caffeine. I don't know how you live without it.

Andrew Leon said...

Man! You had a comment explosion! I'm so used to being all alone here that I forgot what I was going to say.
Oh, um, I am not a fan of the flavor of coffee, plus it doesn't do anything for me. At all. I have a lack of reaction to caffeine, which makes me sad. I also have a lack of reaction to alcohol, which I'm okay with.
That said, coffee only goes with chocolate. I mean, that's how I drink it, with chocolate.

Briane P said...


who ever knew that taking part in a blog hop would actually lead people to want to read my blog? Apparently, there's something to this being social thing.

Andrew Leon said...

You mean we -have- to include the social with the media?

Milo James Fowler said...

I've tried coffee-flavored ice cream. It was OK. But I get what you mean. I'm more of a chai-drinker, myself. Chai-flavored protein shakes? Blech.

Robin said...

This was hilarious. As someone who spent most of her life dissing coffee, I can agree with you on most points. As someone who was recently converted to a coffee lover... well, I can still appreciate it. Coffee flavored yogurt does sound terrible. However, I love the java milkshake from Arby's... yeah, I know. You are going to barf now in the lunch box. Sorry.

Deniz Bevan said...

I had a bunch of stuff to say but that Statham photo is very distracting...


Where was I? Oh yes, I do love the taste of coffee. I guess it's a personal taste bud thing. I gag at most herbal teas. But at the same time, I really don't want coffee flavoured stuff. Just the coffee, black!

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hey, Briane,

Send me your address when you get a chance, so I can send out your favorite FLAVOR OF CHOICE ... LOL.