You Smell Like Coffee

These words are music to my ears and nose.

Let me take you through a few scenes when these words were uttered.

Brandi and I had our fateful meeting at her coffeeshop and then a few days later we were meeting again to have our first date. I was nervous because I wasn’t sure if we were going to hug or kiss or do neither of the two.

So I waited at the meeting spot in front of her shop while she walked up the little hill towards me. With every step she took my heart beat a little faster. Watching her approach me gave me butterflies in my very hungry belly. A cheesy smile was forming on my face and I could feel the anticipation coming to a climax.

She was in front of me now and she smiled at me and her face lit up, I was smitten. Then we hugged. She smelled like coffee. I took a deep breath in and thought oh my, she smells divine. This is my perfect human.

We had the perfect first date and began our long distance relationship that weekend.

Since we both worked full time we could only see each other on the weekends. I would drive down, check in at the hotel, drop my gear off at the room, freshen up a little and begin my two block walk to see her at the shop.

I would text her I was on my way and the butterflies would start flittering about in my stomach as I made my way to her.

Then I would walk in and we would have the biggest, cheesiest smiles and hug. Mmmmmm you smell like coffee. My favorite human smells like my favorite thing.

Every weekend it was just like that. The butterflies and the coffee fragrance.

Fast forward to us living together a few months later. I would make her coffee and take it upstairs so she could have coffee in bed. I would surprise her with a tray and sometimes a little note. I would go to wake her up, she would stir a bit and say, “you smell like coffee.” Music to my ears and her nose.

I wake up before she does most days so I usually have my coffee and read or write in this case. Then I go check on her and see if she is ready to get up. If she had a rough night of sleep, I’ll wake her back up a little later so she can sleep a little longer.

I forget that I have been drinking coffee and I go to kiss her head, then she says my favorite words again: you smell like coffee.

I smile and kiss her again.

Those Coffee Humans Podcast

Have you heard we have a podcast? Have you listened to the podcast?

If you have listened, thank you very much, we appreciate it and if you haven’t yet, we hope you tune is soon because we would love your feedback.

The podcast made a few transformations in the short time it started and that’s because the podcast started out as part of my blog. Basically, I was going to read my blogs on the podcast and share backstories or behind the scenes of that blog. That was the very first episode. I talked about my blog and was a bit flummoxed and wasn’t sure what I was doing. Then I asked my beautiful and intelligent wife to join me on the next episode.

The podcast morphed when I asked my first, very special guest to become a permanent member of the show. The CoffeeFitnessUnicorn podcast is now a joint/team/collaboration of Heartsleeves Coffee and CoffeeFitnessUnicorn and in the process the podcast had a name change: Those Coffee Humans.

We have a hashtag #thosecoffeehumans; we also have a Youtube page:

We have a TikTok as well:

As of right now you can hear us on Anchor, Spotify, Breakers, RadioPublic, PocketCasts, and Google Podcasts. Apple Podcasts/iTunes is coming soon.

You can sip with us at the links below:

Stay tuned for more episodes and special guests.

Coffee Problems and Work Ethics

Originally published 06/04/2016 

“You don’t drink coffee; you heat up coffee.” 

These words were said to me by my mother and upon hearing her words I had a revelation: my love of coffee and my work ethics clashed. 

I was in undergrad living at home with my parents and while I studied, I drank coffee (or so I thought), apparently my mother would watch me walk down the hallway, put my coffee mug in the microwave, set the timer and wait for my study-juice to heat up. 

“Ding!” Ah the sweet elixir of the study gods was revived once more. I retrieved the cup, took a sniff of the earthy aroma and headed back to hit the books. 

An hour or two later I would walk back to the kitchen, heat up my coffee and walk back to the room. This was my study cycle. The only time I got up from my desk was to heat up my cup of coffee. 

When my mother saw me in the kitchen again she asked, “Is that the same cup you heated up earlier?” “Yes,” I replied.
She shook his head and said, “You don’t drink coffee; you heat it up.” 

That was when it hit me: my love of coffee and my work ethics clashed. I was so focused when I studied that I would forget my coffee and have to continuously heat it up. I immediately went on Amazon and bought a coffee cup warmer. Yeah problem solved! Sort of. 

Fast forward to present day: 2016, I am 46 and it has been 10 years since my revelation. I’m at work, walking down the hallway to heat up my coffee or get a fresh cup because the one at my desk is old and cold. 

Why don’t I have a coffee cup warmer at my desk you ask? Oh I do, but I’m afraid to accidentally burn down the building so I don’t use it. 

My fear is that in my haste of packing up for the night, I will forget to turn off the warmer and destroy my place of employment. Once again, the coffee/work ethic dilemma is upon me. 

I guess I should just accept the fact that my strong work ethic prevails over my much loved coffee, but heated breaks will always be welcome. 

Or I could drink my coffee first like a normal or sane person and not have to worry about fire or having The Great Coffee Spill of 2020 upon me:

The Great Coffee Spill of 2020

Has this ever happened to you?

I try really hard not to make a mess in the microwave and I especially don’t like to waste my coffee, so when this happened I was particularly sad.

Being this was a silly and sad situation, I decided to send the image to Scott Gordon Patterson, aka, Luke Danes of Gilmore Girls.

I had no idea he would see the message, let alone write me back and ask me a question.

He totally made my day and, of course, I took screenshots!! How could I not?!

Drinking coffee from my Luke’s mug brings me a lot of joy. And having “Luke” talk to me about coffee was definitely a cool memory.

I even made my first snow coffee video with the Luke’s mug, (, and yes, I sent the video to him too. He didn’t share or respond to the story/video which is fine. He did, however, respond when I entered his Dress Like Luke Halloween Costume Contest. I didn’t win and that’s okay too.

Someday, I’ll get around to trying his coffee and I’ll use the Luke’s mug when I do, and yes, I will send a picture to him. Hopefully, he responds.

Until then, I’ll just keeping making happy memories with coffee and my Luke’s mug all the while trying not to repeat the great coffee spill of 2020.

Tasseography: Coffee Reading

The first time I learned about coffee reading was at my parents’ favorite Greek restaurant; I was about 13. I thought it was the coolest thing–I was a kid and I got to drink coffee and have my fortune told! What could be better than that?!

Little did I know there is a whole ritual that goes into Tasseography.

[Tasseography (also known as tasseomancy or tassology) is a divination or fortune-telling method that interprets patterns in tea leaves, coffee grounds, or wine sediments…Divination attempts to gain insight into the natural world through intuitive interpretation of synchronistic events. -Wikipedia] (Don’t judge that I used Wikipedia.)

Anytime I find myself at a restaurant or coffee shop where I can “chew my coffee,” I go for it. Here’s the thing about chewy coffee. It reminds me of the time when I lived in Turkey: the smells, the sounds, the culture, the scenery, everything about living in Turkey was magical and exotic. Even on the days that it was 116 mother f*cking degrees Fahrenheit or even when it was 27 freezing damn degrees. And yes, even hearing call to prayer at 5am when I was still drunk, I consider those times magical. I lived a life that was so different and unique from my regular life and chewy coffee is a way to connect to that former experience. (And yes, I do like the taste of chewy coffee.)

So when I get the opportunity to drink chewy coffee, I drink until the liquid becomes thick, I flip the cup and do not disturb it until it cools. I’ll talk and wait while the coffee and water separate to create images that then can be interpreted. The coffee has done its part for me to be in that moment. The anticipation of what the coffee will “tell” me is the fun part. It is fun to see the looks on the faces of those passing the cup around. These moments sharing stories of “what does it mean?” This is what tasseography means to me. I’m not a diviner nor do I know any, but what is important for me is the fun, the silliness, and the happy moments that ensue over coffee. 

The coffee ritual reminds me to stop, savor the flavor, enjoy my present company, and truly be in that moment. I am really bad at being in the moment, so I’ll try anything to help me slow down and be at peace. It sounds contradictory to say that coffee helps me calm down, but it’s more in the process than in the drink itself that soothes my mood. 

I learned that when I’m “taking coffee,” as they say in several countries, it means to slow down, take the time to smell your cup. Notice the rich, dark color. Feel the warmth of the cup, then when it is a drinkable temperature, taste the coffee. Savor the flavor. I learned in my travels that these moments are a great way to reflect on the day and just take in that peaceful, calm state. 

When I traveled to Sweden for business I learned about a great coffee ritual called Fika (pronounced feeka). Fika means “coffee break” and during the week I was there, Fika was my favorite time of the morning, usually from 9am to 9:15am. They also taught me about having coffee after lunch. I picked up some new coffee habits while I was there and these were some of my favorite moments from that short trip. I have never forgotten the importance of Fika: Fika brings people together to take time to take coffee. 

Coffee-loving cultures have that effect on me. They remind me to have a “five- senses moment” with coffee. Then for the cultures that have tasseography, well that just adds an element of fun. You pass the cup around and share what you see. Sometimes you see animals, sometime you see lightning, sometimes the shape of an eye. It brings people together. You laugh, you slow down and take in the moment. 

Originally published: 6/24/2017

How You Take Your Coffee is How You Like Your Sex

Or so I was told by a coworker. Let me take you back to when I learned this theory. 

I was working and going to school full time so I was reading/studying on my break. Seating was limited so people shared tables. A group found me and asked to join. We became friends over time and began sharing stories and books over lunch and coffee breaks. 

Photo credit: Brandi Kirschbaum

One day on our coffee break one of the guys asked us all how we take our coffee. Someone said black, another cream and sugar, me too: cream and sugar, then one more black. 

He then says, “how you take your coffee is how you like your sex.” 

We didn’t know what he meant. So explained. Black means straight to business, no foreplay. Sweet and creamy means you like it well–sweet. We all looked at each other and burst into an uproarious laughter. 

Photo credit: Brandi Kirschbaum

He said, “I don’t know why you’re all laughing so hard. It’s ruined me. I can’t stand in line at Starbucks without dying knowing how people take their coffee and their sex.” 

Again, boisterous laughter. Then we all looked at each other. He said, “just you wait. It’ll happen to you too.”

Then I shared the story with my friends over the years about coffee and sex and it turns out, he was right. 

It’s true, whenever I’m in a coffee line and I hear whatever drink is ordered, I go back to that day and remember being ruined by him saying: how you take your coffee is how you like your sex. 

I know what you’re thinking, now there’s cold brew, Frappuccino, pour overs. I say think about it: Coffee is still coffee no mater you dress it up. Black or sweet and creamy. 

I didn’t make this up; I’m only sharing what I heard back in 1994. 

How do you take your coffee 😉

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.