My only slips back into drinking coffee happen during Sunday brunch. During the week, my first two cups of tea are usually caffeinated, but their caffeine seems to ease my brain and body back into consciousness. On the other hand, coffee speeds up my heat rate and typing, shocks my brain into overdrive and keeps me shaking. In thinking about these physical effects, I realized that coffee and black tea are the morning equivalents of whiskey and pinot noir.
Good coffee, like good whiskey, has a taste that coils around anything mixed with it. The smell of either lingers in your hair and clothing until the next wash, making the drinks hard to forget. These two are easy to drink at the serving temperature, but are more enjoyable if sipped. Each has a bite and a warmth, but can leave you jittery and tired long after you finish your last sip. Each* is good for large-scale social interactions. Both pair well with pork, and both can leave you dehydrated if you aren’t careful.
Like pinot noir, Earl Grey dances around any correct pairing, flirting with the taste profile but still keeping its independence. How each is mixed, aged and packaged will have a deep impact on its richness and depth. In my opinion, tea and wine* are more comfortably drunk with a blanket and a book on a cold night. Personally, I find these drinks to be more intimate. I don’t usually meet someone for wine or tea until I know that I can be comfortable being quiet and still around that person.
Growing up, coffee was the drink for group meals, before school and breakfasts on the run. Black tea was for enjoyment during leisurely mornings, and herbal tea for sick days or evenings. I miss the ritual of making and drinking coffee in the mornings, but I find that my mood is more even with tea. Perhaps one Sunday I will decide that my one or two cups of coffee each week are no longer worth the shaky hands, but not today. Today I will write.
*Or beer. I didn’t include beer in this post because of the variety of beers available.