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March 28, 2008 6:31 AM

Coffee Talk

Posted by Nancy Leson

Trouble sleeping last night, so I finally gave it up at 5 a.m. -- an hour earlier than I like to get up. I went downstairs to do what had to be done: I made coffee. My morning coffee ritual is pretty sacred, and it's just that -- a morning thing. You won't find me in a coffee shop or a drive-through buying $3 lattes, and I rarely drink coffee of any sort later in the day. But each morning, I make coffee at home, or my husband sets it up for me if he's awake first. He's a tea drinker whose idea of a perfect cup starts with a trip to the Teacup on Queen Anne, involves a Chinese cast-iron teapot, and ends in a chair with the paper in hand and a very satisfied look on his face. He calls it "the only civilized hour in the day." He's right.

Over the years I've had umpteen different ways of making coffee: Melita filter directly into the cup; that awful cold-water extraction method, the messy Bodum press-pot and finally (and most easily) variations on the electric coffee-maker theme (Krups, Braun, and now a Cuisinart version). I've gone through plenty of coffee bean variations, too, including Zoka's Baltoro blend and my most recent obsession, Caffe Vita's Queen City blend. Each of those blends has that mellow smoothness and full-bodied flavor I like in a coffee (Man, I'm glad I don't have to write coffee copy for a living.)

I store my coffee in a Chock full o' Nuts can, just so I can spend the rest of the day singing: "Chock full 'o Nuts is that heavenly coffee, heavenly coffee, heavenly coffee. Chock full o' Nuts is that heaaaavenly coffee. Better coffee no millionaire's money can buy." But the most ritualistic thing about my coffee-drinking is the mug.

It's a heavy, diner-style, classic number that a former roommate snagged for me about 25 years ago from Simon & Seafort's, in Anchorage, AK, where she waited tables and was forced to wear an ugly green milkmaid's outfit, so help her God. I've never found a mug that felt so good in my hand (or seen a uniform as ugly). And it's hard to believe that mug's still in good use a quarter-century later.

So, inquiring minds want to know: What kind of coffee are you drinking? And what do you drink it in?

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Listen to Nancy at 5:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. during Morning Edition, at 4:40 p.m. during All Things Considered and again the following Saturday at 8:30 a.m. during Weekend Edition on KPLU 88.5.

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