Why I Can Never Get a Coffee Tattoo

I love coffee and I have several tattoos, but I can never get a coffee tattoo.

The reason I can never get a coffee tattoo is that means it’s the end of our relationship.

Coffee has been with me since I was 16. I’ve had many coffees around the world and connecting with people was usually done while drinking coffee.

I have thought about a coffee tattoo for years because of my love for coffee. Would it be a classic cup and saucer (kind of like the emoji), a cappuccino mug, a coffee flower/cherry? Maybe a coffee pot or a skull and skeleton hand holding a coffee cup with the words “Death before Decaf” above or below the image. Many ideas, many years of–nope–don’t do it!

You could say that is superstitious and I wouldn’t argue. You could say I am being silly, I wouldn’t disagree. All I know is that my mom was a major coffee drinker since her youth and then she had to switch to decaf for health reasons later on in life. My mom drank decaf until she passed away last year so she still had coffee, just an altered version. Now that I am older, I’ve learned from her that decaf isn’t so bad, and I am glad I never got the “Death before Decaf” tattoo.

My fear is no longer being able to consume coffee–regular or decaf.

What I do know is– I stand firm in my conviction of not getting a coffee tattoo.

Deep Fried Coffee?!

What the Hell is Deep Fried Coffee?!

Fair Food: Fried concoctions of “what the hell will they think of next?!”

I would like to share with you a coffee adventure/omg-moment the night I tried Deep Fried Coffee in oil and bacon fat at the OC Fair.

Like many other fair-goers, I too was in disbelief of the very large Starbucks-esque sign and I could not believe what I was reading. So I politely went to the front of the line and asked if I could take a picture of this creation. The friendly young, woman indulged me as I gawked at her paper cup filled with three cinnamon and sugar covered dough-balls topped with whipped cream. She took a bite while us onlookers waited for the verdict. She liked it; her friends dug in to find out for themselves. They too enjoyed it!

Now it was my turn. Do I stand in line and find out for myself or turn around and say, “Hell no! There is no way I am eating that!” This opportunity was too outrageous to pass up that I decided to take my place at end of the line and patiently wait for my cup of deep fried coffee.

The time had come for me to face the hot battered frankenfood. I inhaled the warm cinnamony aroma. My eyes fixed on the three bite-sized chunks of breaded coffee. Was I really going to eat this? Will it make me sick? Will I be up all night. What did they do to my coffee?
All these questions in a matter of seconds flooded my brain as I marveled at the thought of eating deep fried coffee.

I took the stir-stick and stabbed the ball that taunted me, lifted the curiosity to my mouth, had some pictures taken as proof and for posterity that this was going to happen. I was no longer afraid; I was now intrigued and determined to find out for myself what the hub-bub was all about. Big bite or baby bite? How was I going to do this?

Okay, enough playing with my food. It was time to face the adventure. I took a big bite of the sweet and spicy covered, fried coffee. I masticated and deliberated, making sure I did not miss any flavors while processing the weird, foreign clump in my mouth. I thought about spitting it out, but decided a “tasting” would not really count as eating deep fried coffee.

The verdict: it did not really taste like coffee. It tasted like bacon fat-flavored dough covered in sugar and cinnamon. Overall I am happy to say that I tried it. I have a personal goal for myself when I go to the fair or food festival: try something I’ve never had before and keep an open mind. I am grateful for the experience and curious to know what they will think of next when it comes to coffee.

Until the next coffee adventure, cheers and thanks!


Originally posted on 05/31/2016

Poetry in my Cup

Happy 212th Birthday!!

When I was in high school I had a very bad habit of ditching class only to be found at the local coffeehouse. There were two reasons I was at the coffeehouse: I wrote poetry all the time and school was not challenging for me. What was challenging, was the works of Edgar Allan Poe. Poe inspired a briefcase-full of my writings of teenage love and angst, but that is a story for another day. Today’s story is how some things never change; those things are my love of coffee and my love of Edgar Allan Poe. For me, right now, in this moment, true happiness is coffee in a Poe mug.

Let’s go back to my high school days when I was buried in cappuccinos and Poe: my pen was alive, inspiration was drawn from the foam and espresso swirling in with Poe’s words.

Since those days my poetry writing has waned, but I have never stopped writing. I wrote over the years in the many places I have traveled and the quiet moments at home. The words just have a way of spilling out when there is a cup of coffee next to me.

That is not to say that I can’t write without coffee but it seems to help. Here’s to the symbiotic relationship between my writing and coffee. Thank you coffee for being there with me all these years.

And Poe, well he is one of the main reasons I got a post-graduate degree in Literature. It took a long time to get to this place; the place where harnessed darkness dwells. That place is the dark mixture of sugar and cream in my Poe mug. These are a few of my favorite things.


This post was originally written 01/31/2016

Someday I hope to make it to the Poe Museum in Virginia. Until then I’ll drink my coffee from my Poe mug and wear my Poe shirt and harness the man that inspired me to write.

Cheers to you Mr. Edgar Allan Poe!

How Many Times Will I OverFill my Mug?

Does anyone else do this?

I can’t be the only one who wants a very full cup of coffee in the morning.

In that bleary half-awake/half-asleep state I think I have full control over my motor skills. I saunter to the cabinet, select the mug of choice, prepare the coffee, whilst waiting for said coffee, pet the cat, then feed the cat, wash my hands and when all of that is done, the coffee is ready.

I add my sugar and creamer into the mug before pouring the coffee so everything is nice and melty.

Here we gooooooo, pouring. But ooooooooh, wait! I’ve become overzealous with my pour and most definitely do not have full control of my motor skills. Aaaaaag.

The coffee is to the rim. I can’t waste it so I must take a few sips. This could be a disaster. I’m talking about wasting the coffee not the mess 😉

Blow on it, don’t burn my lips. Take a few sips. Blow on it, don’t burn my lips. Take a few sips.

And because I have done this so many times, take a few pictures and write about.

If you too are guilty and have the same issue, please let me know, we can start a support group.

#snowcoffee, it’s really a thing

#snowcoffee is really a thing and it’s fun. I made my first #snowcoffee video today after moving to snowy Colorado last week.

Many people have been asking us why we moved to Colorado. It is a simple answer: Orange County isn’t the easiest place to retire. And when I say retire, I mean find that something new that I haven’t done or tried before.

Retirement for me, means not letting my dreams die and not letting the fear of something new stop me. I call it “eating my dream.” I have a separate blog that is forthcoming on that subject.

Let me get back to #snowcoffee and Colorado.

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As some of you might or might not know, I am a widow and I have recovered nicely from my loss thanks to the amazing and generous heart that is Brandi. She keeps me laughing and challenges me; I learn new things about her and myself and I realize I can do anything given the right opportunity.

I’m not going to lie, there is fear that creeps in and stops me at times. But I also have some amazing people in my life to guide and support me. I am following in big footsteps and it doesn’t seem so daunting in retrospect. Many people pick up and move to new places all the time. It shouldn’t seem that scary when you think about it. Make a plan and execute.

Colorado seemed like the perfect place to start a new life with my new love. We both needed a fresh start. The cold, crisp air, and snow-capped mountains in a small, charming town seemed like the perfect place to build our new lives together.

So here we are playing in the snow and making #snowcoffee.

 

Why CoffeeFitnessUnicorn?

How and why am I calling myself CoffeeFitnessUnicorn?

It started very simply from a few elements 2 years ago.

I hired a personal trainer over Thanksgiving weekend in 2017. I told her when she accepted me that I would be her best client; I told her this not as a conceited person, but because I knew my work ethic and discipline would impress her. At that time, I was establishing myself as her unicorn client.

As I began learning the fitness ways, I realized my love of coffee was very useful. I was rewarded my soy cappuccinos on cheat day. However, what made my daily coffee intake pleasurable was having coffee before jumping on the treadmill at 4am. Fasted cardio had a whole new meaning. It did get to a point where I had to start drinking my coffee after I finished my cardio. Then my hunger kicked in and I started drinking coffee-protein shakes after fasted cardio.

Coffee and fitness were perfectly balanced. My Coach was happy with me and my progress so much so that I asked to increase the training. I wanted more of a challenge. You said, “be careful what you ask for.” To which I responded, “bring it—Wait, did I just fuck myself?”

So began, the next phase of training; I was kind of awkward being filmed, but learned that my fitness journey could help others and started getting comfortable with videos and talking about  my fitness experience.

I knew that my health and fitness path was not unique, however, I knew I had a unique look and attitude, thus: Coffee, Fitness, Unicorn. I became coffeefitnessunicorn. It was something that could be branded and remembered.

I had a coffee mug with a coffee, dumbbell, and unicorn emoji. I used it in my videos and photos. I started getting feedback from people that they loved my mug and when I went places, people were able to recall who I was by my hair and Instagram handle.

CoffeeFitnessUnicorn was born. Even though I am not in my crazy training phase right now, my coffee love and respect for fitness has not waned. Once a unicorn, always a unicorn.

 

 

How Many Coffee Makers Does a Person Need?

Is 8 coffee makers too many?

That’s how many coffee brewing devices I have in my house.

Why do I have that many and how did I get to have that many?

I’ll explain why and how I got them.

Let’s begin with a timeless classic: Moka Pot.

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This was a housewarming gift that has been on the stove since I got it in 2014.

I didn’t use it often as I did not always have espresso or fine ground coffee in the house, but this brown beast is a classic and can handle the zombie apocalypse.

 

 

My daily coffee pot has always been an automatic drip maker. When I was in the Air Force I had a 4 cup maker now that I have a house I have a 12 cup maker.IMG_2089

It is important to serve coffee to all my coffee loving friends at the same time if need be.

My Mr. Coffee Maker is currently in the cabinet as back up.

You never know when you will need a big ass coffee maker.

 

At present the current coffee maker on the kitchen counter is a Bialetti side by side. It is an 8 cup automatic drip and espresso maker with steam wand. IMG_2088

This is the current daily coffee machine and it is the perfect maker for the both of us. It has the espresso side so my barista-babe can make me unlimited soy cappuccinos at home. The automatic drip side is where I can make a perfect cup for us.

A while back my former boss let me borrow his French Press when he got me 6 half pound bags of coffee. This was a great present and I couldn’t have been more surprised and touched by such a sweet and thoughtful gift. This classic maker is also in the pantry waiting to be used again when the time is right. This is the fifth coffee maker in the house.

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The 6th maker is a mini automatic drip machine that I used to sit on my desk at work when I decided I didn’t want a Keurig maker at my desk.

The funny thing is I had both the mini pot and the mini Keurig makers on my desk.

I have to admit, even this seemed excessive for me.

 

 

In the garage is where I keep the fancy grinder and brewer in one. It’s still in the original box and was only used three times. Why is machine number 7 in there? Well this was gift I got for myself from Macy’s as a reward for buying a big ass bed. They gave me a $200 gift card and this is what I bought. The issue is that it is too big for my counter by like half an inch. I want to sell it or keep it in case my next place has more/open img_2085.jpgcounter space because this thing is beautiful. It’s all stainless steel and super sleek looking. And technically I didn’t buy it so getting rid of it just seems uncool.

Coffee maker number 8 was also a gift. It was from my coworkers who wanted me to try Vietnamese coffee the right way. So they got me Vietnamese coffee, condensed milk and a pour over coffee maker designed especially for Vietnamese coffee.

So apparently I like to buy and collect coffee makers that I have bought for myself and keep as gifts from friends. The only coffee maker I don’t have is a classic Percolator. One day I will add one to coffee making collection, but now, I’ll live with  my current collection.

What are your thoughts. Do you think having 8 coffee makers is excessive?

Should I sell/part with/donate at least five of them? How many should I keep?

Heartsleeves Coffee Comes to OC

I’m feeling kind of nostalgic right now. I did something I waited 30 years to do; it was at this time last year I resigned from my safe, corporate job and did something I dreamt of doing since I discovered the wonderful flavor that is a cappuccino.IMG_1811

On Sept 4, 2018, Heartsleeves Coffee opened in Orange County and brought independent, craft coffee to Aliso Viejo.

I waited 30 years to have a coffeeshop and this was my magic day.  IMG_1415

Let me back up…

Brandi Kirschbaum is the brains, operations and creative genius behind Heartsleeves Coffee and I got the share her dream after a fateful meeting in San Diego. 

It all started when I, the reluctant business traveler, went to San Diego for a professional, corporate trainer conference.

Our love story is not the focus of this tale, but it does explain how we opened a craft coffeeshop in Orange County.fullsizeoutput_1b5e

I’ll save the love story for another blog post.

Back to how Heartsleeves Coffee came to Aliso Viejo.

While in SD, I walked into Heartsleeves Coffee, met Brandi— instant chemistry— team saw the sparks ⚡️ and next thing you know she is closing the SD shop on a high note and moving up north to be with me. 

We got the opportunity of a lifetime and decided to take over a space in Aliso Viejo. 

We signed the paperwork and celebrated both my dream and hers of having a coffeeshop with someone they love. IMG_1418

We did a soft opening on September 4, 2018.

We shared our love of craft coffee.

Brandi was killing it with her amazing coffee cocktail like concoctions and I couldn’t have been more proud.

We were an awesome team and we learned that we can handle anything together. We had fun sharing craft coffee with Aliso, but we were both burning out with the hours we were keeping. It was time to walk away knowing we did something that hadn’t been done and we did it together. 

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We opened our doors on September 4, 2018 but sadly we closed them a few short months afterwards. We weren’t defeated; we were pleased with our achievement: Heartsleeves Coffee brought independent, craft coffee to Aliso Viejo.

 

Here’s to doing something great babe. I know because we did this that we can do anything. 

Thanks for taking me on a ride through coffeeshop life. IMG_4951

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next stop…

Drinking Nostalgia aka Pumpkin Spice

There seems to be a love/hate issue when it comes to Pumpkin Spice coffee drinks.IMG_1759

I am in the love category.

I love the change of season; I love the smell of spices whether it be pumpkin, apple or cinnamon.

I love, love, LOVE Halloween.

It’s my favorite time of year.

I look forward to pumpkin-flavored everything!

When I was a kid and up until I was a teenager, my mom would decorate the whole house with fall-colored leaves and fall-scented candles. She loved to decorate as much as I loved her to do it. My family and I carved pumpkins and made salted pumpkin seeds from the slimy guts of the orange gourds. For me pumpkin spice reminds me of my favorite time of year: for me, I’m drinking nostalgia.

I remember one year, my mom made a crock pot of apple cider; it made the house smell so yummy. It was like drinkable potpourri.

My pumpkin-spice friends and I get giddy for this time of year. We love to share pumpkin memes and Halloween messages. We look forward to pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin creamer in our coffee; I am not sure if they feel like they are drinking nostalgia. I am just happy they want to share a pumpkin-flavored coffee with me.

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How Many Cups of Coffee Do You Drink A Day?

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This is a question I get asked a lot and the answer might surprise you.

How many cups of coffee a day do you think I drink?

Do you think I drink a pot a day? Maybe 20 espressos?

 

fullsizeoutput_14c9Surprisingly, I only drink 2-3 cups of coffee on a normal day and 3-4 on a heavy day.

My usual coffee ritual is 2 cups in the morning and one in the afternoon. But sometimes I’ll have 2 in the morning, then one in the afternoon and one in the early evening. It also depends on what I am working on and what I want from the coffee.

When I am writing or working on a project I will want more coffee to sustain my mood and help me stay creative. Coffee is ritualistic for me. IMG_2717

The smell, the taste, the sight, the sound, the warmth: all of these elements are part of the enjoyment for me. For example, if I am stuck, I’ll stop and hold the mug, inhale the scent and close my eyes. Let the aroma bang around in my head and see what sparks appear when I open my eyes again.

I don’t drink coffee for the “buzz” or zing these days. I used to when I was younger and needed the charge of energy from coffee.
My military days were my major coffee habit days; I had a very physically demanding job and I was also in my 20s. I lived on at least a pot of coffee with a few Mountain Dews thrown in for good measure.

img_0039.jpgThe coffee was usually free, but sometimes you had to put in some quarters to the Chief. It was worth it. It was black, mud, tar-like and needed sugar and creamer. It did the job and was worth the coinage. Besides the walk down the hall and into the Chief’s office was part of the charm. That’s where all the action was. So not only was it needed for the job, it was where my team hung out. 

IMG_3785Long gone are my pot of coffee days. I drank enough coffee one night to give me the shakes and make the room wobbly and freaked me out.
So I never did that again. That was before the military so lesson learned. My friends and I were having a writers’ night at Carrow’s and we drank and wrote and drank and wrote. I felt the whole room shake and it wasn’t an earthquake; it was me on too much coffee. It was scary and I told no one, just ordered some fries and tried to make the shaking stop.

Coffee is communal. Coffee is ritualistic. Coffee is life. If I didn’t drink coffee I wouldn’t put any liquids in my body. Coffee is all I drink in a day. 2-3 cups or 3-4 cups is how I keep myself going.