Tour de Coffee

My name is Scott and I’m a coffee drinker.  I started at the age of seventeen down inNew Jersey, and it continued through college days and into my career as a paramedic in the city that I still work in.  I don’t really buy all of those tales about it stunting your growth, because lets face it, I’m 6’5”.

During my years in New Jersey, all I drank was coffee from 7-11 or Wawa.  Both were excellent.  When I got toMassachusetts, 7-11’s were hard to come by, and Wawa apparently doesn’t know that the good Commonwealth even exists.  My coffee choice was really Dunkin Donuts or. . . well. . . Dunkin Donuts.  Slowly Starbucks have crept into the area, but I just can’t bring myself to drink it.  I don’t speak their language.  I like to order my coffee by size: small, medium, large. . . and I like to order it by what its called: coffee.  Good, old fashioned coffee.  Nothing mocha, nothing latte, just coffee.

I took a break from the good drink for about three years, but fell off the wagon a little over a year ago, and boy, once I started drinking it again, I realized what I had been missing.  Time after time though Dunkin Donuts failed me.  They’d do something wrong with my order which is always the same and quite simple: “Large coffee, cream only.”  Not Hazelnut, not French Vanilla, and no sugar.  I like to say that I like my coffee like I like my women: bitter.

This blog entry is dedicated to that delicious drink that keeps me going, and makes my day a little easier to start.  Here’s what I prefer to drink:

"A revelation in every cup"

1.Green Mountain Roasters — Its my “go to” coffee.  I get it every morning on my way in at a convenience store on my short route to work.  Its what most of my K-Cups for my Kuerig are.  Breakfast Blend, Dark Noir, Rev, its all delicious to me, and more importantly, I get to make it myself.  No one messes it up.

2.  7-11— Over time, I’ve found two 7-11’s in my city, both of which are on opposite sides.  Conveniently though, one is right down the street from one of our hospitals, so its an easy stop during my visits or after a call.  I’ve lucked out to catch it when its pretty fresh too.  Its not Wawa (oh please, come toMassachusetts!) but its still good.

3.  Dunkin Donuts — Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me one hundred and fifty times, you must be making my coffee at a Dunkin Donuts.  I can’t win with these people.  One time, I asked for a poppy bagel and got a pumpernickel.  If you ask for bacon on a sandwich and you will get sausage.  It’s usually one big head banging, face-palming experience.  Sometimes though, desperate times call for desperate measures.  A guy’s got to do what a guy’s got to do: play coffee roulette.  When its done right, the coffee’s not bad, but when its done wrong, it usually ends up scattered across a parking lot in a fit of rage.

4.  Hospital Coffee — This is the kind of stuff that one could remove rust with.  Thankfully, our primary ER replaced the old crusty pot system with a Nestecafe which isn’t bad, but this stuff is a last resort.

5.  Panera, Starbucks — These two are usually no-no’s for me.  I’m not at Panera enough and I refuse to conform and drink Starbucks.  Its just too “high brow” for me, and the times that I’ve had it, its usually filled up too much which means 2nd degree burns to my hand when I dump some out, and I’m usually not sufficiently literate enough to decode their menu.

Those are my brews of choice, what about everyone else?  Where do you get your fix?

  • I’m hooked on Peet’s coffee. It’s a local company from the Oakland area that has spread out along the West Coast. When I order at the store, I have to get half-caff because they brew it like rocket fuel. I tend to buy a pound of beans a week, however, and make it at home. Nothing like waking up to the sound of the grinder in the morning and having a fresh cup as soon as I roll out of bed!

    In a pinch I’ll swing by Starbucks, though I always get the side eye for ordering: “a medium coffee”. Sometimes I feel like a second class citizen.

    For special occasions, there are always a variety of boutique roasters around that make a fine cup of coffee, for a price.

    • Peet’s is one that made it out here recently and it’s phenomenal. I’m quite happy with its flavor. Besides the hipster organic, fair trade, dark roasted, small batch stuff that I usually drink I have a penchant for Community Coffee. It’s a hold over from my childhood which has some of the most perfect hot-weather drinkability. I always make a point to drop by a CC’s when I’m visiting family in NOLA or down around the Houston area.

  • Epijunky

    7-11 Coffee. 24 ounces of deliciousness.

  • The DL

    WaWa, 20 oz., half decaf, half regular, 4 sugars, splash of half and half, splash of Irish cream

    • Define “Irish cream” 🙂

  • Railrob

    Nothing says lovin quite as good as a Double Gulp full of Diet Pepsi from the local
    7-11. OK so it is not coffee but it is my fix. And now with that desk chained to my leg, most days, a 2 ltr bottle and ice in my 7-11 insulated jug make do.

  • Nice! I’m a Starbucks junkie… My drink of choice. Cafe Americano (water & espresso shots). I get the Venti (20 oz) which is 4 shots of espresso and I ask for extra room. I don’t drink much of the other fu fu la la drinks. I like my coffee black & bitter!

    • See.. there in lies the problem.. I have NO idea what you just said!

  • Josephwdee

    for the record if you consider 7-11,dunkin donunts or hospital coffee, coffee. You should not be trying to rate coffee.

  • SCOTT KIER I HATE YOU. Seriously dude, I’m sitting here drinking my coffee and thinking, “hey I should write something about caffeine options for us EMS people”.

    As a response then to you’re idea-stealing, caffeinated, purely brilliant post, I will admit to being a Starbucks guy some of the time. When I lived closer to DC the only options for decent coffee were Starbucks or Panera. Panera was a good choice when I was studying or writing because I could get free refills. Starbucks was a good standby for espresso in my coffee (I love a good red-eye) when I was on shift. Now, however, in Baltimore there has been a long and heated fight against the big coffee chains. Rarely do you see a Starbucks, DD, Panera, or other coffee purveyor down around downtown. Fortunately for me there are lots of small batch roasters near where I live in Fells Point, Java-Roo, The Daily Grind, Bonaparte, and Latte Da all make an exceptional cup of coffee and generally cost not much more than a dollar or so.

    I am a shameless coffee-snob and I know it. I wont drink anything with Robusta beans, I prefer peaberry when I can get it. I like dark roasts and malty, chocolate, nutty aromas in my coffee. When I come to work I’ll brew enough to last half the day and carry it around with me.

    The downside to all of this rich roasted deliciousness?

    When I have a day off and I don’t drink a strong cup in the morning I have a killer headache, the kind that leaves me nauseous, shaking, diaphoretic. Withdrawals are a b*%ch.

    Undoubtedly one can draw correlations between the amount of cardiac damaging caffeine we ingest and the rate of cardiac related illness in our field, and I’d love to commission that study…. but there’s a pot that just finished brewing and it needs drinking.

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  • I’m a tea guy myself, but I second your comments on DD’s. It’s roulette with the simple order “Iced tea, large, lemon.” They randomly sugar it, they run out of lemons(!), and the biggest sin is that some stores contaminate the pots with coffee.

    Starbucks actually has good tea, but they don’t do lemon at all. They always want to cut it with lemonADE.

    My favorite is Honey Dew, but they are few and far between around here.