Make that a decaf, please!

Melissa Stagnaro

I came to a rather startling realization this week. Apparently I drink too much coffee. I guess the signs have been there for awhile: the shaky hands, jumpiness and general feelings of wonkiness. But the actually quantity of coffee I consume on a daily basis was masked, at least to a certain extent, by those around me.

Now, thanks to New Years resolutions and an emphasis on living healthier, it seems that my co-workers have all decided to cut down on caffeine. Now no one else is drinking out of the communal pot each morning and I can no longer deny how many cups (OK, pots) I drink every day.

The first couple of hours of each morning we’re on deadline. Except for the frantic clacking of keys, it’s incredibly quiet in the office. (Just the way Jeff likes it.) I need a little more stimulation than that, and welcome an excuse to get up and walk around every once in awhile to keep my brain functioning. Frequent trips to the coffee pot, and consequently the little girl’s room, gives me an excuse to get up and move around. Rather than keeping me awake, drinking all that coffee has become almost an unconscious habit. Part of that mindless morning routine that gets the work done.

I could make a pot of tea, I suppose. But that would require a little more effort. And I’d still have to contend with the caffeine overload.

Tea doesn’t have the same sensory impact, either. There is just nothing like the delicious aroma of a fresh pot of coffee being brewed.

I love a cup of plain coffee, with a healthy dose of cream. But I’m not afraid to toss it up a little bit. My favorite is to add a dash of cinnamon when I’m brewing a pot, just to give it an extra zing.

Give me a coffee shop over a bar any day. My standard order is a latte. All that frothy milk, yummm. Toss in a packet of that sugar in the raw, and it’s heaven. Chenango County is lucky enough to have quite a few quality establishments serving up java, so I guess you could say my coffee addiction helps me support local business. My current favorites are La Maison Blanche in Norwich, Clachan Coffee House in Oxford and the new Village Bakery in Greene. And I have to give Cafe, Inc. another try, now that they are under new ownership. There are plenty of others, I know. But these are in my daily drive path.

I am also favorably disposed to iced coffee, something I know many coffee aficionado’s turn their nose at. Not me. I could drink it by the gallon during the warmer months. Have you ever had a Thai iced coffee? I’m not sure if you can find it locally, but I highly recommend one if you have the chance. I think they’re made with that sickeningly sweet condensed milk. Regardless of their ingredients list, they are absolutely delightful.

I read a thread on our online forum earlier this week, about someone who was giving up caffeine cold turkey as part of a New Year’s resolution. I remember thinking to myself how thankful I was that I didn’t have a caffeine or coffee problem to contend with. There is a high probability I was in denial.

While I admit that I need to cut back on my caffeine intake, I can certainly not give up coffee. I don’t have the willpower. But I guess I could  switch to decaf. I’ll do that. Right after I finish this cup.