Monday, September 19, 2011

A Caffeine Conundrum

I was sitting at home this morning writing, and I looked down at my cup and thought, "My latte is almost gone." And then I realized that when you run out of the latte you made, you can't just top it off; you have to make a whole new one. This is a time-consuming break in whatever work you're doing. Furthermore, it would require one to admit that one was the kind of person who would make and drink Two Whole Lattes in a single hour. Which, of course, I am. I'm not sure I even aspire not to be. But the act of actually making that second latte (as distinct from the entirely reasonable act of drinking it) seems to say: "I am so coffee-addicted that I will take steps to procure it that would never cross most people's minds."


In Blerg City, the lattes are smallish, usually 6-8 ounces:



There are one or two places in which you can order a 10-ounce coffee beverage. But this is unusual. And the post-meal coffee of choice is barely three ounces: a shot of espresso cut with an equal amount of milk (or, if you're feeling like drinking your dessert, with a generous sploosh of sweetened condensed milk). Within a month, I've acclimated to the point where even a 12-ounce coffee from the first stateside airport seems gargantuan -- I once actually inquired, puzzled, whether they had given me a large by mistake. But within a week, I'm back, and 16 ounces seems like the normal size. 12 ounces, with a double shot, is me being abstemious. I could probably drink gallons of the stuff without realizing it if physics didn't require the space in coffee cups to be finite.

On the other hand, I still have enough shame not to order one of those now-ubiquitous 20-ounce lattes. It's not that I couldn't drink it. It's not that I wouldn't deeply enjoy drinking it (except that by the time I got to the bottom, it would probably be tepid). It's just that I feel that carrying around a 20-ounce cup of caffeine would be tantamount to publicly admitting that I had a serious problem. In the privacy of my own home, however, I fantasize about having a latte pot, in the same way I have a coffee pot -- something that enabled me to make about 40 ounces of soy latte at any given time, and leave it warm and happy on the burner so I could give myself a little warm-up at will. Or perhaps something more akin to a soda dispenser? On the other hand, that would bring my total coffee-making devices to four** -- five, if you count the burr grinder. And, of course, it would be dangerously enabling.

My name is Notorious, and I have no self-control.



**The current three are: regular drip coffee maker (above), old-school Italian stove-top "espresso" maker (way above), and a french press that I never use because, while I recognize the inherent goodness of coffee from a french press, it just. doesn't. make. enough.

14 comments:

Comrade PhysioProf said...

http://fresh.amazon.com/product?asin=B00005LM0T&qid=99171366&rank=13&sr=1-13&tag=title

Notorious Ph.D. said...

Oooh! I could jump in and swim around in that!

clio's disciple said...

OK: but why is drinking coffee bad? Do you personally suffer ill effects from it? If so, it makes sense to moderate your intake; but if not, why not drink more if you want it?

Notorious Ph.D. said...

You're both enablers.

Thank you.

Belle said...

Oh, and you need a frother. See http://www.amazon.com/Aerolatte-Go-Milk-Frother-Black/dp/B0001RT2C4/ref=pd_sim_k1

feMOMhist said...

caffeine is my legal drug of choice. I think I'd sooner give up hard liquor than my daily massive consumption of caffeine. I say get the biggest damn latte you can and drink it with pleasure and pride

TriPartite Academic said...

Ah, I share your caffeine addiction and your love of lattes. My milk frother is one of my best friends :-)

Had never thought about a 40 oz latte pot...but now that's what I'll be dreaming of.

Dr. Koshary said...

What CPP said. Fuck lattes; 51 ounces at a time of pure, uncut black coffee from a French press ought to serve you just fine.

nicoleandmaggie said...

Yeah, get rid of devices that don't make enough coffee at once! Make room for the big ones!
(your friendly neighborhood co-enabler)

zcat_abroad said...

Our local coffee shop had a chalk sign outside which read "I don't have a problem with caffeine; I have a problem without caffeine." I thought it would make a good t-shirt.

French press every-time, for me. A large one, which makes 6 cups of tiny coffee, or three mugs.

TriPartite Academic said...

Have gone from caffeine conundrum to caffeine tragedy--inspired by your post yesterday, I was all set to froth some milk to go with my coffee this morning, but the batteries on my frother had died :-(

Dame Eleanor Hull said...

You should drink extra caffeine and alcohol to make up for those of us (we few, we unhappy few) with fragile, over-sensitive nervous systems and other body parts, who love the idea but just can't process either comfortably. Think how much vicarious enjoyment you could provide!

AliceAcademic said...

http://www.amazon.com/Thermos-Nissan-34-Ounce-Insulated-Stainless-Steel/dp/B00004S1DB

Jonathan Jarrett said...

Dammit Doc N., I live in a house with that much coffee-making apparatus and I hardly ever drink it, being British and tea-dependent. If you want to *own* that addiction you've got to step it up!

Seriously though, that much coffee would give me palpitations and a headache to kill with, but it would nearly be worth it. If you've got the tolerance, flaunt it, that's what I say.

P. S. "Dangerously enabling" surely a self-contradiction?