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"Live! From Mother Earth!" AKA "Coffee, Chapter One"

Updated: Jan 9


Good Morning My Confidants


Today's post is being written at one of my favorite places on Earth. A coffee shop. And today's coffee shop is Mother Earth.


If you only knew how many words I've written in a coffee shop! How many of my novels. I couldn't possibly figure it out, but know this. It's a lot.


It certainly isn't anything I would have ever expected to do. For a huge hunk of my life, I didn't like coffee. I mean, growing up, I loved waking up to the smell of it brewing down in the kitchen. But when I finally had a cup? A sign that you are growing up.... I didn't like it at all. I thought it was terrible. So bitter! The only way I could drink it was to add tons of cream and sugar—"Would you like a little coffee with your cream and sugar sir?"—and I simply didn't see the point of that.


I know now that one of the main reasons people do dilute their coffee is because they want—need—the boost of caffeine in the morning to get them going. The thought coffee was bitter, just like me, and well...it had a nice taste when you took away the bitter!


Then, a little over fifteen years ago, I started working a place where I had to be at work at six o'clock in the mornings and it was twelve-hour shifts. I had to do something to wake up and keep going, so I would drink the free coffee the place provided and add a whole bunch of sweetener and creamer.


I was complaining about it all and bemoaning the bitterness of coffee on LiveJournal—does anyone remember LiveJournal, the hugely popular predecessor of Facebook?—and a friend named Cocoajava made some recommendations (it was only then that I, in my cluelessness, figured out the meaning of her online name). She told me that coffee shouldn't be bitter and all about just what Folgers and Maxwell House were producing, how the beans we were drinking with brands like that could be years old, how they sat in mountainous heaps for months before getting roasted, and whole lots more gross stuff. She further told me there was an alternative.


Kansas City was a plenty big enough city, she explained, to have its own local coffee roasters (in fact, I found out Kansas City is highly respected for its coffee!). She told me that if I went to the local large grocery store, there was a good chance that I would find a section with various coffee beans in plastic dispensers, and that I could take as much or little as I wanted, grind it right there, and take it home and try it. She recommended small amounts in case I didn't like them.


So off I went, and to my surprise, she was right. And also like she had told me, they even included roasting dates, and some of those beans had been roasted only days before ("It makes a huge difference," she'd told me). So that's what I did.


"Don't get your own grinder until you find out if you like the coffee first!"


Well, low and behold...holy crap...I couldn't believe it!


Vive la différence!


Have you ever tasted the difference in table pepper and freshly ground peppercorns? Or how about parmesan cheese grated right over your spaghetti verses the stuff that comes in a plastic container? It's different, right? I'm not saying there is anything wrong with table pepper or Kraft parmesan cheese. But come on! Isn't there a world of difference?


I. Could. NOT. Believe. It!


Now at that point I was still—sadly—adding cream and sugar—and I still occasionally use a creamer—but that is another story for another day, and there are going to be lots of stories because that is a big part of what this blog is about.


But WOW! What a difference.


I was hooked and it really did change a lot in my life because my day was starting with something pleasurable in a job that was truly Hell-on-Earth. And that is being fair.


I went out and got a grinder. They aren't cheap, but I got one under $25 and I am still using that same one over fifteen years later.


In further coffee chapters, I will tell you a lot of really cool stuff about coffee, its origins, the different "Waves" of coffee that came over the world, and my true discovery of the coffee shop and why I love them so much and why I used to write—pre Covid—so much while at a coffee shop.


And the best are so Bohemian, and anyone who knows me knows that in a different time, I would have happily been hanging out with Ernest Hemingway, Alice B. Toklas, Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Cole Porter, Pablo Picasso, and later with William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, and Jack Kerouac, intellectuals who were known for their unconventional lifestyles and artistic pursuits. I get goosebumps just thinking about it! And I would wonder if I had somehow hung out with them in a previous life, but most of them died after I was born, so that could hardly be, could it?



This past year I discovered the movie Midnight in Paris and fell head-over-heels in love with it, even though it was written and directed by someone I can't care for anymore. The film is about a screenwriter and aspiring novelist named Gil Pender (played by Owen Wilson) magically travels back in time each night at midnight where he meets his heroes and is actually given advise and direction on his novel by Gertrude Stein! OMG! I loved it and so wanted to find the cab that Gil found each night to take him back to the time he fantasizes about. How incredible!


By I digress, don't I? Another tangent?


The point is, when I sat in those coffee shops writing, what I saw all about me was other people doing the same thing. I'm pretty sure some were students doing homework and such. But I could clearly see—I think I am a famous detective in an alternate universe—that people were doing art, computer art, blogging, writing stories. I didn't do anything as crass as read over their shoulders, but sometimes we were practically shoulder to shoulder, and we were this wonderful brother/sisterhood existing together in a gorgeous powerful artistic way.


That is one thing Covid took away that I don't know if I will ever get back. I don't see as much as that as I used to, but fingers crossed, because I think I am seeing signs....


Coffee is a whole lot to me. It is more than the taste. It's more than the caffeine. It's a world. A lifestyle. Per Mark Pendergrast's book Uncommon Grounds, coffee is the "second most valuable exported legal commodity on earth" and it "delivers the largest jolt of the world's most widely taken psychoactive drug."


The world's most widely taken psychoactive drug! Whoa!


I would never have thought about it that way. Maybe because I rarely have more than two cups a day? **shrug**


I love coffee and so much about it—its discovery and history and phases of how it has affected the world and the downright philosophy of drinking it—that it inspired perhaps my favorite book (that I wrote) called Hound Dog & Bean.


Be prepared for posts where I not only wax poetic about coffee, but I fill you in about the drink in ways that I bet will interest you, even if you'd never thought about it before.


I look forward to sharing my love in future posts.


Who knows?


I might even convince a couple of you coffee-haters to give it a try!


(not that you need to!)


So, until next time!

Bon Appetit!

BG "Gentle Ben" Thomas

Jan 6, 2024, Entry #006


PS: Just as we were packing up to go, I suddenly saw the laptops were starting to come out. There were at least eight, and I didn't look to see what the guy next to me was writing, it clearly wasn't email or correspondence! So excited! As and you shall receive! And what I think about, and thank about, I help bring about!




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Love this post and the fact you have so many coffee shop options. Growing up I loved coffee ice cream but Mom was a tea drinker and Dad milk so no home exposure. In restaurants and on tv people drank it like it was a solid but when I finally tried it it was just water! LOL cut to decades later and having had a few lattes I entered my first Starbucks. Their coffee and half warm milk was a game changer. Not the caffeine which had no impact on me but the taste. Yum!! For me coffee needs a decent amount of milk and sometimes a tiny sweet but I savor it. I make my own coffee ice cream…

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CocoaJava checking in here! Ah, LiveJournal. Those were fun days! And I am grateful that you and I are still friends! I've also got a coffee grinder that has been around for-freaking-ever... Ken bought it for me as a birthday present before we got married, when he was still 'courting' me. That would have been around 1992. That grinder is still going strong.

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I love this so much!


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Mmm coffee. My granny used to make it for me when I was little, little. Hee hee. She was my supplier/pusher. I adored my granny therefore I adore coffee. LOL Loved today's blog. As usual!

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Thank you so much!

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Maybe we should have someone make coffee with a psilocybin additive so it is really psychoactive! 😉


I generally only have about two cups a day, but definitely have a love of it. Especially after discovering brands other than Folgers and Maxwell House.

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I too have a love of coffee, though I must admit I put milk in it because I enjoy it that way. I've had a grinder since...Whoa, 2000ish. I'm on my second one because the first one was very cheap and broke after a year. I am on my 3rd one, which is a burr grinder that I've had since 2008.


On an average day I will drink about 8 cups. (I used to drink more than a pot a day, or 16 cups more or less.) But I've cut back not only because that much coffee really isn't good for you, but due to the rising cost. I get coffee from Sprouts and it isn't cheap. I buy various…


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