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Kansas City MO 64131





Cindy Maddera

I have been a coffee girl since I was very little. I found that if I was sitting in my highchair, I could hop up and down and scoot the highchair around the kitchen. I managed to pour scalding hot coffee down the front of my body twice. Look. This was 1977. The terms "baby proofing" hadn't been invented yet. I sat on a box in Dad's truck so I could see out the window or make it easier to be thrown out the window. Take your pick. After the second attempt to "fix" myself a cup of coffee, Mom started fixing me a sippy cup of mostly milk, a little sugar and little coffee. Not every day. It was always a treat, but by the time I was sixteen I was making my own mugs of joe. At first there was cream and sugar. Then just sugar. Now just black. I have been spoiled over the years with really good coffee made by experienced barristas and I've had what could only be described as sludge from gas stations. 

I enjoy a cup of coffee in the mornings and on weekends I may enjoy more than a cup, but it's never been a must have beverage or an all times of the day thing for me. I remember how Chris would brew a pot of coffee and drink on it all day. He'd still be sipping a cup late into the night. I don't know how he did it. I could drink a baby sized can of Coke at one o'clock in the afternoon and still struggle with going to sleep at bedtime. But again, I don't drink coffee for a buzz. I drink it because I enjoy it. And while coffee is my go-to hot morning drink, tea is my afternoon drink. Every day around three in the afternoon, one of the guys in the office will say "Tea Time!" We will grab our cups and mugs and walk down to the cafeteria discussing science or baseball. Though it is declared that it is tea time, I am the only one that gets a hot tea. Jeff will get an iced tea while Jay usually goes for an espresso. I traded in my morning cup of coffee for tea when Mom and I where in Ireland. There was the occasional cafe au lait but most mornings I found that the tea kettle was easier to manage than the coffee pot. Less complicated. Michael is a tea drinker. He thought there were some teas he preferred to others until he found out he had been brewing those teas at the wrong temperature. I realized that tea is more complicated than I had originally thought.  

The thing that I like best about both of these is there is a ritual to their production. Beans must be properly ground, fine or course depending on the brew method and there are so many brew methods. Drip. Pressed. Pour Over. Vac Pot. Stove top peculator. I actually have one of those. I never use it. Black teas are brewed at higher temperatures than white teas. The amount of time you leave the tea to steep is important. If you leave green tea to steep too long, it gets bitter. Even if you are not the one making the tea or coffee, there is a ritual to drinking it. The way you hold the mug. The time of day you choose to sit down and drink it. It may be a moment of quiet reflection or surrounded with people and discussion. It falls into the same category of why everyone gravitates to a kitchen during a party. Comfort. It is comforting.  

Here's to comfort on this day, especially to those who are snowed in or wish they were snowed in. Happy Love Thursday.