Opinion: Off the coffee

The other morning I came downstairs to start the day and, as is my habit, poured myself a cup of coffee and took a deep sip.

It was awful – sour and bitter and not at all the best part of waking up.

“Must have been sitting in the pot too long,” I thought to myself. “I should make a fresh pot.” So I did.

I poured another cup and took another sip. Same thing – sour and bitter and in no way good to the last drop.

I checked the can to make sure the coffee hadn’t gone rancid. Nope. I checked the water to see if maybe it was the problem. I checked the directions on the can thinking I might have gotten the proportions wrong. Nope.

Genius that I am, it only took me a little while after that to determine that the problem was me.

I seem to have lost my taste for coffee.

And frankly, I don’t know what to make of that.

I have been a coffee drinker since … oh, let me see … about third grade. No, I’m kidding. I think I was in high school when coffee became part of my routine. But I did learn to make coffee in third grade, in an old stovetop percolator.

Mom showed me how fill the pot with water and load the basket with three scoops of coffee, and then put the thing on the stove with the burner on high until it started perking, and then to turn it down to low. I was amazed. I had no idea that making a drink could be so complicated.

I made a pot all by myself one morning and the folks raved about how good it was, so I appointed myself Official Weekend Coffee Maker. All went well, too, until I got the idea that if three scoops of coffee in the pot made good coffee, then six scoops would be fabulous. I still remember their reactions as I poured them steaming cups of road tar. Dad swallowed and grimaced. Mom asked me what I had done differently. I told her, and shortly thereafter got my first lecture about how More Does Not Always Mean Better.

Now I am facing another lecture, I guess, and one I’m going to have to administer to myself, about how What Was True Yesterday May Not Necessarily Be True Tomorrow. Yesterday I was a coffee drinker; today I would rather have tea if it’s all the same.

Of course, this transition does not come without problems. For one thing, I sometimes need help gaining full consciousness in the morning, and tea does not have the kick-start quality that coffee does. For another, there’s something about finishing a meal with coffee that is not as satisfying to me as finishing with tea. And finally, I just bought a box of cake doughnuts specifically to dunk, and I can’t stand doughnuts dunked in tea. I think that last one may be the most troubling of all.

But that’s my life. I don’t know if this is a temporary condition or if I’m off coffee forever. I only know that right now, a cup of joe tastes to me pretty much like I expect my six-scoop coffee tasted to the folks. And now, if you’ll excuse me, my tea is ready.