This is a great country. Nowhere is this more apparent than when you think about the staggering amount of choices that we have. Choices in almost every aspect of our lives from A (Apples – there are a dozen types for sale in Wegmans) to Z (three kinds of zwieback? Who knew? More important do we need that many? All questions for another time.)

I will focus on just one tiny aspect of those myriad choices.

It’s been nearly 10 years since I ended my love affair with coffee. I was a stone cold addict and a snob to boot. I needed more than liked the stuff. I wanted it absolutely fresh, very strong and in quantities sufficient to flood downtown Wilkes-Barre. Come to think of it the amount I returned after use was a flood in and of itself, but that is another story.

A recent flirtation with energy drinks led me back to caffeine. When the weather outside is frightful and the mercury won’t even kiss the freezing mark, a large frosty Red Bull doesn’t warm the cockles or any other part of me.

The coffee making apparatus at the Rising ranch has been stored away someplace. The long suffering wife has enough to do at year’s end without looking for it. So I have become a devotee of places that sell coffee to go. I don’t mind so much. A quick morning drive gets the blood moving and I get to grab a little people watching time. Always interesting to see barely awake citizens struggle with life before dawn.

I mentioned my ten year hiatus from the brown elixir. In that decade the technology and surrounding infrastructure around the hot beverage have done leaps and bounds. There are so many choices now the first time I began the process I was spellbound.

One local place that sells my fix has six different varieties. Dark roast. Vanilla nut. Colombian. House. Breakfast blend. Decaf. This joint brews it in glass decanters and has at least two full pots of each at all times of the day or night. Twelve pots of steaming hot fragrant wake-up juice. And it’s always fresh. Totally amazing.

After that choice you have to decide sizing. Ten years ago you got a paper cup. The beverage tasted like newsprint.  It held 6 ounces if you were lucky. The Styrofoam cup I am sipping from now holds about a gallon. And the lids are improved as well. You used to have to cut and tear a spout. Now it’s all done for you with a plastic device that locks in place, open or shut. Technology marches on.

A few steps away you have to deal with the self-serve sweeteners and creamer area. Developing nations could feed themselves here. Pink, yellow and blue chemical packets along with sugar:  white, brown and something called raw. Not so sure about that one. At least half a dozen choices of single serve “lighteners”  ranging from Irish crème to Caramel Macchiato (who I believe sang “Tico Tico No Fuba” in the 40’s) not to mention Half and Half and skim milk. I get dizzy standing there.

All for all this entertainment, fun and refreshment you walk away with change back from a two dollar bill. Life is good. Drink up.

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About James Rising

A recovering radio addict wrestles with the written word.
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