Tag Archives: drink

Not my cup of tea

It used to be that I wouldn’t drink coffee past five or so in the afternoon, because the caffeine would keep me up at night. Every once in a while I’d make the mistake of ordering an espresso or something like that after dinner, and come two or three in the morning, I’d lay in my bed, staring up at the ceiling, wondering why it’s been taking so long for me to fall asleep, all while my heart felt like it was trying its hardest to escape the confines of my chest.

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But I’m at the point now where I can drink coffee whenever I want. Which, coincidentally or not, happens to be every waking minute of the day. My caffeine intake used to be something that I’d monitor pretty carefully. I’ve had the unfortunate experience of overdoing it, and the resulting caffeine-induced panic attack left me careful not to exceed three cups in a row.

I’m not worried about that anymore. I get up in the morning and make myself a pot. Sometimes my wife will pour herself a cup, and I although it would be nice to say that I’m thinking of her, that I’m making extra coffee in case she’d like some, really I’m just brewing as much as my machine will make at once.

Maybe she’ll have a cup, maybe not, it doesn’t matter. That whole pot is just a warm-up. I’ll down everything over the course of an hour, an hour and a half, and then I fill it up all over again. This I’ll just leave on the warmer for as long as the machine will run without automatically turning itself off, usually something like three hours.

I’ll be downstairs and I’ll have a cup. I’ll make a sandwich and I’ll have another. I used to be really picky, if not a little pretentious about my coffee. I’d buy whole beans from select markets, I bought a coffee grinder and insisted that cups be brewed individually, throwing out words like oxidation in regards to a recent grind, all nonsense I’d read about on the Internet and convinced myself was all necessary for not just a perfect cup of coffee, but for the whole experience. It was an experience.

Now I’ll come home from work and I’ll see that quarter pot of room temperature coffee left out from way earlier in the day. Whatever, I’ll turn the warmer on, maybe even microwave a cup if I need a super immediate fix. Coffee beans, I don’t really care where they’re from, a gourmet roaster, sure, Dunkin Donuts, sounds good. Really I’m just looking for convenience, pure bulk. This means giant bags of vacuum packed beans at Costco, or loose by-the-pound roast that I’ll shovel into a brown paper bag from a giant bin at the grocery store.

I just want to have a lot of it, whatever it is. Because every once in a while I’ll be in the unfortunate situation where I really want coffee, but I don’t have any. Like just right now. I don’t know how it slipped my mind, but I was out on Long Island visiting my in-laws, and I knew that I needed to get some more coffee on my way back. But I didn’t. And I needed some.

I weighed my options. It was late. Did I feel like walking around to the myriad Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts by my place? Which one might be open at this hour? Should I go to the grocery store and buy some beans? Or would that turn into a full-blown shopping trip? What were my options?

Maybe there was some emergency coffee lying around somewhere, some Folger’s Crystals, something. In the back of one of the kitchen cabinets, I found a sealed box of tea bags, earl grey. Would this help? Could I get what I get out of coffee by drinking a few cups of tea?

It was worth a shot. But everything about the tea making process took forever. The waiting for the water to boil. The waiting for the tea to steep. The waiting for the boiling tea to cool down somewhat. It’s so much easier to press a button on the coffee maker, like I don’t have to be conscious of each painfully long step.

And then I finally got to drinking my earl grey. What is that taste, bergamot? It’s like citrusy and floral. It’s not unpleasant, but it’s nothing like drinking a cup of coffee. I’d never tried tea with milk, but I figured it was worth a shot. It made the drink a little smoother, but I don’t know, it wasn’t like a cup of coffee with milk.

I finished that cup and poured another dose of hot water over a fresh tea bag. Nothing bothers me more than watching someone try to make a second cup of tea out of a used tea bag. Sure, it turns brown, but there’s no way that whatever’s in that cup is anything close to a full-strength cup of tea. It’s like, if I ran hot water over some used coffee grinds, I’m sure I’d get something, a cup of hot brown liquid, but nothing that I’d like to actually drink.

Toward the end of the second cup, I started to feel it, the buzz that started in the base of my neck, shooting subtle pulses of pleasure and relief as it spread upward around the top of my skull. I was seriously worried, because even though I know tea has caffeine, I didn’t really expect to feel anything. It’s like, I drink Coca-Cola, but I never detect even the slightest hint of caffeine.

But no, this was good. I was enjoying this. Everything was going to be OK. Would I change my daily routine and maybe add tea to the mix? Of course not. This was a desperate times, desperate measures emergency maneuver, nothing more. Still, I couldn’t deny that a part of me was enjoying it, just ever so slightly. I felt like Captain Picard, after a long day, I’d walk into my ready room and tell the replicator simply, “Tea. Earl grey. Hot.”

But yeah, tomorrow, definitely I’ve got to get more coffee. A lot more. No, even more than that.


I just love Fiji bottled water. People always say stuff like, “That’s so stupid! It’s just water!” and you get the same old tired arguments about wasting money, wasting plastic. It’s like every time I go to the store and buy a bottle of Fiji water, I can’t help but detect a look of disdain from whoever’s working the register. He’s like, “Anything else?” and I catch his eye, he’s making a weird face at me, and that tone of voice, the way he said “anything else,” is he mocking me? Hey buddy, if you’ve got a problem with my choices a consumer, why don’t you say something to my face instead of lacing all your forced little interaction with almost imperceptible contempt? Almost imperceptible. I’m very perceiving. Just, listen guy, next time, don’t say “anything else,” because if I want something else, I’ll let you know, all right? I’m not shy. “Nothing else, thanks.” “$4.99.”


People just don’t understand. They just don’t get Fiji bottled water. Yes, it is worth the price. It’s a premium product and you’re paying a little extra for it. Frankly, I think that, considering everything that you’re getting when you buy a bottle of Fiji, it’s not even that expensive. Before you even open it up, your eyes are rewarded by getting to look at that bottle. It’s square. That’s unusual, you might say. Already, your curiosity has been piqued. And no, I’m not just talking about people who’ve never seen a Fiji bottle before. I see at least twenty every day, and I still get that same reaction, my heart gets filled with just the slightest hint of mysterious apprehension, like, ooh, a square bottle, and my pulse starts to quicken, maybe my heart skips a beat.

And I think of all of the other “premium” waters out there, your Evians, your Pellegrinos. How utterly pedestrian. A plain bottle. Some generic looking label. No thank you. But the Fiji bottle – did I mention it’s a square bottle? – it’s got this label on the inside, like you can only see it through the bottle. Like the bottle is looking through you, too. It makes the Fiji logo sort of pop out of the background, and it transcends just the visual, it’s like, when I say it pops, it’s actually popping. Pop! My whole audio-visual cortex is just alive, synapses on fire, going crazy with delightful stimuli. The back inside label is a work of art in and of itself. It’s this lush tropical scene. I imagine the real Fiji is just like the paradise the label portrays. I’ve never been there, but I don’t think I’ll ever go. I wouldn’t want to be disappointed.

And the water. We haven’t even gotten to the water yet, and I almost hesitate every time I’m about to open a bottle. Dare I disturb the perfection that lies within? Does my insatiable thirst even warrant but a few drops of this precious life-giving elixir? Ultimately I can’t hold my desire back any longer, I cave in, I twist open the bottle and drink heartily from the font of Fiji.

What does Fiji taste like? If you’re asking this question, all I can say is, you ignorant fool. I’ve actually said that. One time I was at a pizza place ordering a slice. “Anything to drink?” the guy asked me. “Fiji,” I pointed to the fridge behind him. He kind of looked confused, turned the bottle back and forth in his hands a few times before putting it on the counter. “I don’t get it,” he started talking at me, “What’s so good about this stuff? Why do you want to pay five bucks for water?”

And I just stared at him, “You ignorant fool,” I started, before restraining my anger. I realized, this might be an opportunity, to shed light upon ignorance. But what could I possibly say? How do you begin to describe that which the English language is simply incapable of communicating? I tried, “It’s like … imagine you’re floating through a cloud … no, imagine that you are the cloud …” And then the phone rang, he held out a finger to me and was like, “Hello? Pizza place.” By the time he was done, he said, “Next!” and looked right to the lady behind me.

Someday I’ll have enough money to bathe in Fiji water, but for now I’ll have to live with just drinking it, using it to brush my teeth, occasionally moistening my toilet paper with its gentle touch. Fiji is more than a bottle of water. It’s something, an idea, an aspiration, everything that’s right with humanity, all of the beauty in the world turned to darkness and then soaked with Fiji to become something better, something more beautiful, more radiant than ever before, than ever imaginable. Fiji be to you, my friends, to your family. Fiji be to all.