Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Java Me, Java You, uh huh

(gratuitous Blue Jay shot)

Confession. I have a strong addiction to coffee, specifically extra bold Starbucks French roast, a robust saucy little wench of a coffee I grind daily for my morning jug 'o java. I even have an old-fashioned hand grinder in case the power goes off and I have no way to make coffee.

I tried giving it up after being forced to by the clinic where I endured some tests, but after a week (of the shakes, sweats and heebie jeebies) I decided to wean myself back on because dammit, I missed my mother's little helper. And by wean, I mean I started back with half-caf, which I quickly realized was as stupid as attempting to become half-pregnant. If I was going to drink it, I wasn't going to be a caffeine weanie. Be bold, said I! So I returned to the "deepest, darkest" roast described by the kings of coffee as "liquid smoke" (oh baby, baby.) The beans are so dark and oily, that when they're roasted, the smoke rises off them in heavy clouds like "spooky dry ice" according to Roaster Brad from Seattle. I like this Brad guy.

And I was told the darker the beans, the less caffeine they contain, ergo, pas de guilt on my part.

When my doctor asked me how much coffee I drank, I gave him the honest truth. (I had to. His wife/nurse reads this blog.) One cup every morning, sometimes two if it's say, a Monday. (I hate Mondays.) I thought I might get away with my subterfuge, but unfortunately for me he pursued it and asked me if I meant a cup as in 8 ounces or a cup as in mug, and if it was the latter, how big was this alleged mug. Damn, he was onto me.
(another gratuitous Blue Jay shot)

A coffee cup in a coffee maker is about 5 ounces. A standard mug is closer to 9. I serve my morning Nectar of the Gods in a mug I got in London with Shakespeare's mug on the, well, mug. It holds 20 ounces. And before ya'll go getting all up in my nose about it, if you're drinking a couple of mugs of coffee in the morning, you're consuming the same amount. Right? Just because I'm holding a mug that's bigger than my head doesn't mean you should be hatin'.

To justify my addiction, I started collecting giant mugs and tea cups like the ones below. Just to give you an idea of scale, the cup on the left is the standard issue with china sets. Btw, does anyone ever actually use these cups and saucers for anything other than melting butter for pancakes or scooping out dog kibble? (I dare not show you the pink cup and saucer I use for tea. My sister, the antiques dealer, claims it's a soup bowl. Phht. She doesn't know from cups and saucers.)

The cup on the right is one of my collectibles from the late 19thC. It shows a large, florid man holding an overflowing cup of ale. It reads:

Here's ta me an ma wife's 'usband,
not fo'getting mesen.
Here's tiv us, all on us. Me and all.
May we nivver want nowt, none on us.
Nor me nawther.

Tykes motto:
See all. Hear all. Say Nowt.
Eat all, Sup all, Pay nowt.
And if tha does owt for nowt, Allus do for Thisen.

Strictly speaking, it's an ale mug, but it works quite well for coffee. Then there's this beauty:

The transfer image shows a man smoking a pipe speaking to a boy smoking a cigarette (who can resist such naughtiness in a mug?) and they're standing in a furnished room along with a cat, dog, fireplace, kettle, etc. On the top rim it says:


And on the lower part, under the sleeping dog, it reads:


Here's one of my favourites, dedicated to the farmer.

In God is our trust

The Farmers Arms

Let the Wealthy and Great

Roll in splendor and state

I envy them not I declare it.

I eat my own lamb

my chickens and ham

I shear my own fleece and I wear it.

I have lawns I have Bow'rs

I have Fruits, I have flowrs

the Lark is my Morning Alarmer.

So jolly Boys now

Here's God speed the Plough

Long Life and

Success to the FARMER

And of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't include one Carltonware mug with a Canadian slant:
In Memory of Sam

I dreamed that I died and to Heaven did go.
I rang the bell gaily and bowed very low.
I said I'm from Canada,
My how they did stare.
Come right in said Peter,
Your the first one from there.

(That typo in the last line drives me to drink.)

(final gratuitous Blue Jay shot)

Bottoms up!


Unknown said...

Oh, baby! There is no way on this earth I'd give up my coffee! I have had to cut back and only drink it in the mornings, but, nope, no way will I give it up completely. And certainly not for that namby-pamby dishwater decaf! I adore coffee and, like you, it better be strong and rich!

My co-worker sometimes makes the coffee before I can get to the coffeemaker. She, as my gran used to say about my great-aunt's coffee-making, "just shows the beans to the pot." Ugh. Bleck. Phooey!!

Love the mugs!

BB said...

Awesome collection there Pam!!! Love it... here I was thinking the Java of your headline would be something about computer script... silly me!!!

dykewife said...

though my husband avoids caffeine now (it adversely affects him a lot) he does make chai out of celestial seasonings bengal spice tea. he uses a 1 litre a&w mug. his cofee cup was about the size of yours if not a little larger.

i only drink 1 mug of coffee from one of those black and decker 1 mug coffee makers. if i drink more than that i start to vibrate and get all weirdly skittish.

however, i do savour that cup as i used to savour the pot of cofee i'd drink (between my sister and i we'd down a couple of pots on a sunday morning) and the chocolate chips i'd make and then we'd go shopping at ikea.

oh the memories.

A Novel Woman said...

Ah, the A&W mugs...I used to be able to hoist four of those puppies on a tray, filled to the brim with root beer. You should have seen my biceps back in the day. And shopping at Ikea? Who doesn't like that?

Betty, I hear you on the weak stuff. Once you've gone over to the dark side, there's no going back. I pack a thermos for meetings now. No more insipid coffee for me.

nightsmusic said...

I can't drink coffee where the beans have done a strafing run on the pot leaving a weak, yucky whatever. But I can't drink the really strong, stand-your-spoon-up-in-it coffee either. I have Bad heartburn and die all day with the really black strong coffee. So, I use a medium roast Gevalia and drink a pot.

Sometimes two.

Maybe that's why I don't sleep well at night...

Love the mug collection! They're very cool.