According to legend, a goat herder in the Kaffa region of Ethiopa found that his goats were overly excited after eating some beans on a local bush. It wasn’t long until Kaldi ate them himself. He then took them to a monk who disapproved of the stimulant effect and threw the seeds into the fire, which made them smell good. Someone took the roasted beans from the ashes, ground them up, and dissolved them in hot water. Soon thereafter everyone in the tribe was coming to Kaldi-bucks for their morning brew. Parts of that are probably apocryphal and other parts are completely made up. But it did get me wondering…how do those folks that I work with and around take their coffee? And just how big a part of our lives is it?
Dan Coombes of Connecting File (one of our loyal clients) was the first person I talked with. Dan appreciates the social aspect of sharing coffee with his clients, candidates, and friends. He normally takes his coffee black, but is not opposed to a nice Café au Lait from time-to-time. As a world-explorer (Dan was in the Marines), he also enjoys the rituals that go along with Ethiopian and Turkish coffee expressions. His favorite coffee variety is Kona and tends to find that any day that ends in “y” is a day that he needs to partake. I asked him what he would do if he couldn’t get a cup and he replied, “Clearly this is a hypothetical question, because I would never allow this to happen. However, coffee is purely optional for me...I can go a day (or several) without any and function normally...and I can drink a pot before bed and sleep soundly.” Obviously, military training has served Dan well.
Next I talked to Lora Haupt, long regarded as our “office mom”...hey, someone has to make sure we don’t cause too much trouble. Lora dreads returning to work on a Monday, so she finds that to be the day she can’t do without a cup packed with stevia sweetener and caramel macchiato creamer. I asked if she drinks coffee for motivation, because of lack of sleep, or for the extra energy it can provide...she chose “D. ALL OF THE ABOVE!” While it’s unlikely that she is going to be going without, you probably want to steer clear of her when she is forced to do so: “I’m not sure what my reaction would be...but we’re probably all better off not finding out.”
Some people go very basic for their brewed beverages. Clay Posey, our CEO here at ClearBox, wants his very strong and with a healthy helping of cream, although on weekends he will treat himself to honey in his coffee. Clay got started with his habit when he worked third shift as a police officer, but over the years it has evolved into comfort, energy, flavor, and part of his Monday through Sunday routine. When faced with talking about doing without, he channeled his inner Cleese and said, “I would go on a quest and death to the old man at the bridge or the black knight if they get in my way.” Apparently anyone getting between Clay and his coffee may suffer more than just a flesh wound.
There always has to be one...when I asked ClearBox Creative Director, Katie Reece, how she preferred her coffee she said, “I don’t...normally I’ll go for green tea instead!” She admitted, though, that “there are days when coffee is just needed...especially Mondays when the creative department is focused on planning, coordinating, creating, and scheduling social media for pretty much all our clients.” She loves the smell of great coffee brewing, but mostly it’s the “EXTRA energy x 100000000!!!” Without coffee--or green tea, I guess--she immediately threatened to jump out the office window, but then retracted and said she would probably just take a walk to clear her head and refresh...maybe swing by a local coffee shop while she was out.
This ended up being a lot of information to take in...about a pot and a half worth, if I’m being honest. Which is a little more than my own daily intake these days. I remember helping my parents move back here to Tennessee almost 30 years ago...day number one of the move was so long and tiring that on day number two I started off with a cup of coffee for the first time in my life. I haven’t missed many days since. I take it black with a couple of those yellow packs--name brand or generic, I really don’t care. It’s best that I don’t miss my coffee...I’m simply not a morning person and take longer to wake up without it...and if I don’t get it by a certain time a headache will ensue, ruining what could have been a perfectly fine day. I guess I’m an addict, but I’m not alone. I also just love the flavor of coffee, though, whether it’s my normal cup(s), a specialty drink from Kaldi-bucks, or added flavor in a stout or ale. It goes great with bacon and eggs or a cigar. Please just don’t ask me to go without.
How about you...how do you take your coffee? What motivation does it give you to get through the day or the week? What tips or recipes can you offer to make our lives better?