Pick Your Poison

Captain Picard was into Earl Grey tea; mention the Dude and we think: White Russians. What’s your signature beverage — and how did it achieve that status?


Growing up in the Philippines, no one brewed their coffee in coffeemakers or Moka pots or French presses. They used instant coffee, and that’s how it was in my house. Instant coffee with lots of sugar.  Then when I worked at the radio station during college, the DJ’s taught me how to brew coffee in the coffeemaker, the first I’d ever seen in my life.

When I moved to L.A., I brewed coffee morning, noon, and night in a tiny 4-cup coffeemaker in my tiny 1-bedroom apartment.  Then my best friend Galia, who grew up in what was then Yugoslavia, taught me how to make coffee over the stove in a moka pot.  She said she liked her coffee strong enough to stand a spoon in it.

Years later, when I met Tania, a Brazilian Swiss yogini, she introduced me to the moka pot again, this time, showing me how she brewed her coffee each morning, tamping down the coffee grounds (“You’re not supposed to do it, but this is how I do it,” I remember her saying) with the back of a spoon.


My best friend Pam used to brew a full pot of coffee in the morning and pour it into a thermos which she took with her when she drove to see her massage clients all over L.A.  Pam knew how to live – I can still see her sitting in her car with her cup of coffee (black, not a drop of creamer), and a library book to keep her company as she waited in her car for her appointment to start. She usually arrived to her clients’ appointments really early, which meant that after she found parking, she’d wait – reading and enjoying her coffee.

When I would visit my mom in NYC, I as appalled that she still used instant coffee.  So I would pack my moka pot with me whenever I visited, till one day she bought a French Press and proudly showed me how to use one.  I already knew how (I have two) but it was a proud moment for me to see my mom graduate from instant coffee to the French press!  But then, she only used it when she had guests over. When she was by herself, she admitted later on that she used instant.

When I went to the Philippines, I was appalled once again that they didn’t have coffee makers in the hotels.  Not only that, when you ordered coffee, they served you instant coffee!  Horror of horrors! I should have packed my moka pot then, too.  Then I went to Boracay and I remember walking around with only one thought in my mind – freshly brewed real coffee.  I was like a woman possessed.  If you pulled out instant coffee, I thumbed my button nose and moved on.  Then I stumbled upon a place called Real Coffee and it was like someone opened the doors up to heaven – and gave me the cure to my coffee withdrawal symptoms, 48 hours after arrival.  Lee and her daughter, Nadine, are originally from the US and have made Real Coffee into an institution.  They serve real coffee – no instant coffee here!


And because they have no signs pointing to their little spot from the beach, here is how you find them.


Anyway, so if you haven’t figured it out yet, coffee is my poison.  In Breaking Bad, I loved Gale’s “pet project” and if you’re familiar with Breaking Bad, you’ll know what I mean.


Not to be outdone, on Hannibal, this is how Hannibal brews his coffee – doesn’t she look purty?


So there you have it! Since I can’t be drinking margaritas and wine coolers all day, I have had to settle for the next best thing. Coffee.

And while we’re on the topic of coffee anyway, here’s one more.

Screen Shot 2014-08-22 at 9.27.33 AM

So, what’s your poison, I mean, potion?

Daily Prompt

14 thoughts on “Pick Your Poison

  1. Tea!!!! Proper, stand your spoon up in it, builder’s tea with only a little skimmed milk in it. No sugar. And none of this fruit tea business or Earl Grey, or Lady Grey – proper tea! Preferably PG Tips, but other brands will do as long as it’s strong. And I hate coffee. 🙂

    1. I really need to figure out just what builder’s tea is like! I have no clue being that I’m surrounded by coffee houses and the only tea I know of other than Earl Grey are Chinese teas – which aren’t bad at all 🙂

    2. TEA! I am a purist. Like my friend kathyrnruthd none of that colored water for me. Even if you use 6 teabags it’s still weak. For me it’s Lipton black tea made with Orange Pekoe and Black Pekoe tea from Sri Lankan and Kenyan farms. I use cream and sugar in my tea.

  2. I’m with you. Give me coffee from every producer, made in every imaginable way. But no flavored syrups for me. Just heavy cream and Turbinado sugar will do. Tiger Mom is still an instant coffee fan, but I try often to broaden her coffee horizons. There were many times I boiled water with loose grounds and drank it, sifting out the grounds with my moustache and teeth. Then I was ready to climb another 400 meters to conquer another peak.

      1. I think I know that feeling Arkenstone! Army coffee was the left over coffee no self respecting sailor would drink. The Army got it cheap from the Navy and we chewed it like jerky. 🙂

  3. Tea or coffee. If tea, black with milk & sugar, unless it’s iced tea. Coffee ditto although these days I prefer lattes/au laits.

    1. I like lattes, too, but at home, I just have my coffee with some creamer. Sometimes I’ll make espresso in my moka pot and channel Tania, my Brazilian Swiss friend and pretend I do yoga 🙂

  4. There’s nothing quite like a good cup of coffee. And the stuff we get at work is nothing like a good cup of coffee 🙂
    There is a Starbucks 2 minutes drive away, though.

    1. I’ve had to cut down my coffee intake to 2 cups in the morning and no more at night, even though I need to write when everyone’s asleep – but then that means I’m not asleep and then can’t sleep! LOL

      There’s a Starbucks 2 minutes from me, too!

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