Best nectar for fueling creativity? ‘Black gold’

coffee in pantry

What’s the best thing you can consume to fuel your creativity? For Americans, the nectar of the gods isn’t honey. It’s coffee. Some claim ‘black gold’ is addicting. Personally, addicting or not, I can’t imagine starting the day without coffee. Same goes for the afternoon. How much do you really know about coffee? 

Coffee art by artist and songwriter Jan Day Plowden of South Carolina.
Coffee art by artist and songwriter Jan Day Plowden of South Carolina.

Gallup did a poll in the US in 2015, and 64 percent of respondents stated they drank at least one cup of coffee a day. Gallup also found that between 1999 and 2015, that percentage stayed stable.

I live in Jacksonville, Florida, and that’s a perfect fit for me when it comes to coffee because Maxwell House Coffee produces its products right here in our city. The coffee promoted as “good to the last drop” is my mother’s favorite.

I have more than one favorite. I tend to match coffee to the time of day or the occasion. If it’s a special occasion, I might go somewhere like Earth Fare and grab some specialty coffee. I love Dirty Nekkid Lady Coffee—the company doesn’t prewash the beans, so the beverage is sweeter. The Atlanta-based company self-describes as “locally owned, sustainable micro roaster.” Whatever they’re doing, they’re doing it right.

I also have a definite preference for LavAzza coffees. Rebecca turned me on to that brand. The coffee is still produced in Italy, having its origins in Turin in 1895. The beans come from Central America. There are several types of LavAzza I like, and you can do whole beans or ground as you can with most other coffees. I keep an eye on prices and when I find a deal on this coffee or another I like, I stock up.

The Crazy Daysies coffee cup
The Crazy Daysies coffee cup; photo used with permission.

Other coffees I like are Panera, Dunkin Donuts, and Jamaican Blue Mountain. The latter is expensive, so I only purchase a small amount and we drink it on a special occasion. I like Caribou Daybreak, but it’s hard to find at reasonable prices. A good staple, economical coffee for us is the New England Donut Shop Blend coffee. Very smooth, and groceries often feature good deals on it.

I also tried Amazon’s coffee. I didn’t really care for it. It’s not bad, but it just didn’t grab me the way others do. My home is famous for 24/7 coffee, and my sister-in-law, artist and songwriter Jan Day Plowden, did a neat work of coffee art for my kitchen bar. “But first, coffee” is the greeting I see each morning when I stumble into the kitchen in the early morning hours to wake my brain up.

If you really want the lowdown on coffee, fellow ASJA member Kristine Hansen co-wrote a book about it. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Coffee and Tea fills you in on the origins of coffee (Arabia), legends about it, and other notes of interest. Hansen’s book cites Venice, Italy as the first location coffee beans were shipped to in Europe, in 1615. The book also recounts how Christian leaders called the beverage “satanic” because the Pope had called it “heavenly.” The book is very informative and entertaining—it makes a great gift for any coffee lover.

Southerners love their coffee, but I when I was in college, I learned most of my friends from up North preferred tea. I still remember visiting a friend’s family and being asked if I wanted milk in my tea. I shuddered at the thought. The only things I can put in hot tea are honey and lemon. I still remember, as a young girl, my grandfather pouring his hot coffee into a small saucer to drink, after he’d added milk from the local dairy. He was probably in a hurry for work and that was a fast way to cool it.

To be completely honest, coffee most definitely fuels the Daysie train. All of us have it for breakfast, a lunch topper, and a late afternoon pick-me-up. When we travel, we take coffee with us. Almost no road coffee suits us and most indie coffee shops aren’t near exit ramps.

The magazine MPLS St Paul has a current feature about Minnesota’s role in the coffee we drink today.

If you want to express gratitude, look to Brazil. The website Statista said:

“The market is segmented into growers, roasters and retailers. On the coffee-growing level, South America was ranked as the major coffee-producing region. Thereof, Brazil produced about 51.5 million 60 kg bags of coffee. Other major coffee producers were Vietnam and Columbia [Sic].”

I’m pretty sure that last is a typo and should be spelled “Colombia.” It’s a common error these days.

Meanwhile, I’m having my afternoon coffee and preparing to finish so I can go hear some live music and have a glass of wine tonight. Coffee enthusiasts perceive coffee just as nuanced and complex as wine.

I’d have to agree with that perception.

[No benefits, perks, or rewards of any kind are derived from links to products or products mentioned in this column.]

(Kay B. Day/Jan. 25, 2019)

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