Many years ago, I made the statement, “I wish coffee tasted as good as it smells.” Those were the days when coffee was brewed in a stove top percolator and the aroma would fill our house on those cold Virginia mornings. I never drank the stuff and relied on fruit juice for breakfast.
Coffee wasn’t an elaborate purchase in those days either. There were only a few brands on the grocery shelf – Maxwell House, Folgers and Luzianne, if you liked the chicory kind. My family always bought JFG, a regional brand that was distributed from Knoxville, Tenn.
If someone had come from the future and told us that someday there would be hundreds of choices of coffees and special shops would be selling it for $5 per cup, we’d thought they were crazy. Coffee could be found at any cafe for 5 cents a cup, with free refills, and $5 would buy about five pounds of it.
I even made it through college and late night study sessions without java. I usually settled for the caffeine I could get in a cola beverage. Most of the time, I didn’t really stay up that late, at least not studying.
It was when I was working a third-shift job and attending grad school that finally I began to appreciate coffee. Even then, I didn’t care for the taste that much, but I liked how it kept me awake so I could do my job.
Somewhere along the way, through the years, I started having a cup with breakfast. The taste wasn’t a whole lot better, but I gained more tolerance for it.
Even today, I can’t say it’s my favorite drink, but I do enjoy it a lot. I drink mine with a little milk in it, which I find much tastier than the powdered stuff and it also cools it off. Most of my family drinks coffee black, which I believe defines a true coffee drinker.
I don’t put sugar in my coffee, but I do like to drink it while eating something sweet, such as a bran muffin. Many people like donuts with their coffee but I don’t like the combined taste of grease and sugar. Now a cinnamon roll is great.
Just like beer, coffee is an important part of country music. My favorite country coffee lyric comes from Gordon Lightfoot when he sings the line, “I’m on my second cup of coffee, and I still can’t face the day.”
An interesting thing about coffee is that the beverage may actually be good for our health.
There’s a group of government bureaucrats somewhere who love to create research that demonstrates that things people like are bad for their health. The list is long and includes tobacco, fat, sugar, salt, candy and almost anything that tastes good and makes you feel happy.
This group was thrown a curve when studies started showing that alcohol might actually be good for you. They had to qualify all the positive findings by saying you should limit it to one drink a day and that if you didn’t already drink, you shouldn’t start.
However, try as they might, this group can’t find anything harmful about coffee, other than it may keep you awake or make you jittery if you drink too much. On the other hand, the Internet is full of listings about the health benefits of coffee.
So, as Conway Twitty once sang, “I’ll just have another cup of coffee, then I’ll go.”
Jones is a Carrollton resident and reporter for The Times-Georgian.