Coffee Coffee Coffee …
I love coffee. I started drinking coffee in my late teens. Back then coffee was either made in a percolator or a Mr Coffee. Either way it was bad. There were no Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts was king. There were still real coffee shops were you could buy a cup of coffee for about sixty-five cents.
In the mid eighties I moved to San Diego. It was there I had my first Latte. It was amazing. Shots of espresso, foamed whole milk and a little sugar. It was a bit of heaven. I drank a lot of lattes.
Next I discovered a doppio con panna, two shots of espresso with a dollop of foam. Then there’s the red eye and black eye. Either one or two shots of espresso added to a cup of coffee. I do like shots of espresso. My favorite drinks all have shots of espresso.
When I moved back to Chicago in the early nineties I discovered real Middle Eastern food. And Turkish Coffee. About a single shot of coffee with tons of grounds at the bottom of the little cup with no handle. Add a bit of milk and sugar and I had the nectar of the gods.
I started traveling for the Air Force in 2003. My first few trips were coming and going from the Middle East. On a C-130 it takes four days to get in-theater. We would make stops in St John’s Newfoundland, Prestwick Scotland, Bucharest Romania and finally arrive at Bagram Airbase Afghanistan. On this trip I get the best and worst of coffee.
Of course any where in the UK the coffee is going to suck. Usually there was instant coffee of some kind. I’d add a ton of milk and sugar, it would be adequate to keep the headaches away. Of course the coffee in Romania was great. It was a lot like Turkish coffee but don’t call Turkish, they don’t like that.
The coffee at Bagram was great because of a Starbucks clone, The Green Bean. Everyday we weren’t flying would walk the ten minute walk to the Green Bean, at least twice a day. The first time in the morning for that initial cup of coffee. Then after lunch at some point we would get bored and need to “get out of the house.”
My last major deployment was to Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. The Deid for short. We had rock star digs, our hooch was right next to The Coalition Plaza. Know as The Bra because of it’s very bra like shape when viewed from a distance. Our trailer, the older housing were double-wides, was at the The Bra’s twelve o’clock position and right next to us was The Green Bean. All we had to do was fall out of bed and we had caffeine.
There were three of us on the crew that would get up at the same time every morning and meet at The Bean. Yes we were attached at the hips and our cycles were in sync. We would then take our coffee to The Bra and discuss the news from home and what our plans were for the remainder of the day. No energy drinks for us, we want our coffee.
The other Green Bean was on the runway side of the base. So as we’re getting ready to fly we would send the junior load master to pick up our coffee’s. Never send a non-coffee drinker to pickup the coffee. Of course we would bitch at him during the entire flight for screwing up our coffee orders. He would be coffee bitch for the entire deployment. We really didn’t care how bad he screwed it up. As long as he brought back coffee of some kind we were happy.
My all time favorite coffee drink? Hang on to your hats. Is a dirty, dirty chia. Its a drink where worlds collide. Most of us have been exposed to chia tea, more properly a chia masala. I spent fifteen years living in small, Iowa town. The town was very unique for many reasons but the one I enjoyed the most was it’s very large Indian population. I was taught how to make a real chia masala tea. No powdered mixes for me. Whole milk, black tea and tons of exotic spices. Then I would add several shots of espresso. The Indian women would go crazy when I did this to their holy drink. Its my favorite coffee drink. I must drink it prior to noon or else I will get no sleep that night.