We are at a Coffee Crossroads!
If you have heard me speak together with Ryan, you may already know about the huge role coffee has played in our marriage!
When we were in our twenties, busy having babies and loving life in Montreal, we found it was a challenge to carve out time to dedicate just to each other and to our spiritual development. Rising early came a little more easily to Ryan. I have fond memories of Ryan bringing me baby Ben to feed, early in the morning in the summer of 1984, and then taking him to our adjoining office so I could sleep. Ryan loved this time, reading his Bible and bonding with our Ben. I quite enjoyed the extra sleep!
Still, I longed to be an early riser, and often asked God to change me. We had 3 more babies over the next 6 years. (Our 5th, Emma, was born later in BC). The time challenge increased accordingly. Ryan worked nights – playing for the Montreal Canadiens – so our special time was not going to happen in the evening, after the kids were in bed. We found another way.
We called it our coffee mornings. We tried tiptoeing down the stairs in our beautiful old stone house, to make coffee in the kitchen, but those babies with their radar always heard us, and demanded our immediate attention. So, we bought a coffee maker with an automatic timer and put it in our bedroom! Every night for the next 30 years, we made our coffee the night before, and set the timer to go off early so we could combine our love for each other and our Lord with His good gift of caffeine. In my years of what seemed like perpetual pregnancy and breast-feeding, we also kept a kettle for herb tea in the bedroom. When the kids woke up (if they were walking yet), they knew exactly where to find us – in our bedroom having “Bible time.”
Rather sadly, our automatic coffee maker now languishes in the laundry room cupboard, a victim of downsizing. Don’t get me wrong – we still cherish our coffee mornings and wouldn’t begin the day any other way. It’s just that now we walk the few steps to the kitchen to brew coffee in a French press, before bringing it back to bed to share. We have 2 French presses in our Osoyoos kitchen – one for us and one for our guests.
Back in our White Rock condo kitchen, we currently have nothing. Our daughter, Christi, has taken the Tassimo machine (allegedly a Christmas gift to his siblings from her brother, Ryan, but the truth of the matter was he couldn’t handle not being able to make coffee when he visited because the coffee maker was always upstairs in our bedroom) to her apartment. Thus, I find myself at a crossroads. Do I take the spare French Press back to White Rock? (I probably will). Or, do I purchase a new coffee machine and if so, what type? (I probably will not until we have an influx of visitors again).
All of this coffee contemplation sparked my curiosity – what type of coffee is the healthiest? There are two things to consider – the beans themselves and the method of brewing them.
Apparently coffee is the number one source of antioxidants for Americans (and very likely Canadians too – although there might be a legitimate argument that ours is beer). Ryan and I have long favoured the flavor of dark roasts. I flattered myself that this was a great choice because the darker the roast, the less the caffeine. I had been guilty of over-caffeinating during my perimenopausal decade and had literally burned out my adrenals. Consequently, I was advised by my naturopath to forego caffeine completely and maintained this state for 6 months by drinking rooibos tea in the mornings until I travelled to Cuba, tasted the coffee, and the rest is history.
After further research, I have now discovered that even though light roasts have more caffeine, they also have more antioxidants. There is little point in filling ourselves with antioxidants, however, if we are filling ourselves with pesticides at the same time. I have read that coffee is one of the most chemically treated crops in the world. In addition to destroying the soil and contaminating water supplies, ingesting pesticide and chemical residue plays havoc with human health, disrupting hormones, harming our immune system, and increasing our likelihood of developing cancer. It only makes sense that we take particular care to avoid pesticides and chemicals in foods that we consume on a daily basis. When it comes to coffee, that’s me.
So, I am resolved to search for organic, lighter roasts. Starbucks (a favourite of ours) sells only one type of organic coffee (having eliminated their Organic Shade Grown Mexican) – Yukon, which is a medium roast, so that seems like a compromise. I will be watching viligantly for organic light roasts elsewhere too.
This brings me to the second consideration – how to brew the coffee. Ryan is loving the taste of our French press, but Men’s Health says that the Moka coffee machine yields the highest level of antioxidants. I have never tasted coffee brewed this way and I would love some feedback. It sure does look intriguing:
Then there is the pour-over, or what we called a Melitta coffee maker in the seventies. Mine looked a lot like this, although I remember it being light blue or turquoise:
Starbucks pour-over decaf has been my go-to drink for later in the day or with meals. I avoid caffeine at both times, due to the advice of my Naturopath on the former, and Suzanne Somers, who opened my eyes to the role caffeine plays in weight-gain as an insulin trigger, when combined with food. There are 2 problems with the wonderful-tasting Starbucks pour-over. Starbucks uses non-organic Pike Place Roast and decaffeinates it using methylene chloride rather than the far less toxic Swiss Water process. I am now motivated to drink Rooibos at Starbucks henceforth.
At the Heritage Classic, or any hockey game for that matter, or waking up together thirty-plus years down the road together, drinking coffee is a habit that can be a benefit to our health, and to healthy marriages. It can reduce depression, prevent diabetes, protect the heart, and yes, help us to connect on a deeper level. When grown, brewed, and enjoyed with care for the whole planet, including us, it is a gift.