We’re coffee people.

If you’ve ever met Russ in your life, this will not be news to you. The man has an omnipresent cup of coffee in his hand, usually Starbucks.

Yes, even onstage!

I have heard him place his drive-thru Starbucks order so often I even have it memorized:  venti dark roast with half and half and two Splendas.

But here’s a little secret about Russ, aka Mr. Coffee: he rarely if ever actually finishes a cup of coffee. He has one within arm’s reach at all times like a security blanket, but he also leaves a trail of half-filled take-out cups in his wake. At home, I pour mugs of cold coffee down the sink all day long. Seriously, if he actually drank all that coffee he carries around he’d be visibly vibrating and running around like a crazed weasel.

Now don’t get me wrong, I take my coffee pretty seriously as well, though I am just a ‘1-2 cups first thing in the morning’ kind of girl. I grew up with that wonderful acrid smell greeting my nose first thing every morning, and when I’m home in Arkansas it’s still what I wake up to. I come from a long line of  coffee aficionados. When the whole family gets together for holidays, there’s some serious coffee shop-talk floating around. We compare favorite blends and debate the merits of a French-press vs. drip, blah blah blah. My brother Matt has specially roasted beans delivered to his house from some fancy place on the internet, and my brother Joel is even more hard-core– he bought his own dang coffee ROASTER! He dropped a couple hundred bucks on a machine that roasts the raw beans that he orders from all over the world in a meticulous process that requires a tremendous amount of monitoring and the use of a big honking flashlight. I snapped this photo of him at Thanksgiving, watchfully observing the roasting process so that the precious beans (from some obscure African coffee-growing region) will turn the exact right shade of rich brown– not too light, not too dark…

Charlotte was fascinated. And bemused.

Whaddya gonna do, he lives in L.A., he can’t really help it. He’s actually an incredible gourmet cook and a very knowledgeable foodie, which of course didn’t stop me from making merciless fun of his labor-intensive bean-roasting pretensions– until I TASTED THE COFFEE!!!!  It was the nectar of the gods! It tasted like fireworks and sparkles and rainbows in my mouth! Soooo smooth and rich, no acidic bite or burn… *sigh* I’ll never make fun of Joel and his silly roaster and his special order hand-picked-by-Panamanian-nuns-in-the-middle-of-the-rainforest coffee beans again. I’m also thinking about buying him a miner’s helmet for his birthday for some hands-free roasting. It would be totally worth it just for the photos alone.

Sadly, I’m not dedicated enough to devote the time and energy it takes to produce one of those incredible cups of coffee. But I do have a handy-dandy little single-cup contraption that I just love, and it makes really good coffee. When I groggily roll over every morning to turn off my chiming alarm clock at the ungodly hour of 6:30 a.m., it is only the thought of my chickadee mug full of Sumatra coffee that keeps me from disappearing back under the covers and letting the girls fend for themselves.

I discovered this particular coffee maker on one of my runaway mom weekends to a bed and breakfast in Murfreesboro. They had this machine in the morning room with an impressive array of coffee, tea and hot chocolate right beside it. I loved the ease and speed of it, not to mention it made a dang good cup of coffee, but it was the commercial version and was pretty big and cumbersome. Later that year Russ and I spent a weekend at Mark Lowry’s house in Houston, and he had a smaller home version of the same machine, which I promptly went home and ordered for myself. It is called the Flavia Fusion brewer, and it looks like this:

Here’s what the actual coffee looks like:

The only part I don’t like about it is that you have to either order the packets from the Flavia company, or get them from eBay. It would be so much more convenient to be able to run pick them up at Kroger or Target, but I order about 100 packets at a time, which averages out to about 45 cents a cup. They have a lot of different blends and I’ve tried most of them, but my absolute favorites are the Dark Italian Roast and Sumatra– really good.

Well, I realize that’s way more information than you ever wanted to know about the hot beverage preferences of the Taff family, not to mention I just totally did a commercial for Flavia. (Hey Flavia! Send me some coffee!)

So now it’s your turn. What’s your morning wake-up call– Coffee? Tea? Orange juice? Chai? Diet Coke? Do tell.

21 Responses

  1. Phyllis R

    Ok, I have been gone for awhile and snowed in the other…just reading your several blogs today…my very first drink of the morning is a Diet Coke with fresh squeezed Lime juice from Mr. Burger. Which has the BEST Dt. Coke in the world (that I have found so far anyway). I went to Oklahoma City for a few days last week and just about went through withdrawals for my Diet Coke with fresh squeezed Lime juice. LOL After my precious Dt. Coke, I have a cup of coffee with 3 splendas, 2 hazelnut flavored splenda and a whooooooooole lot of coffeemate.

    I must say your machine looks and sounds interesting. I think I am going to check it out. With me being single…a single cup of coffee maker sounds ideal.

    As for all of this coffee talk about the Taff’s being too much info…girl, I think you could write about the brand of carpet you have and we would all read and comment. :) I know I really enjoy your blogs and look forward to the next.

  2. Phyllis R

    Well, I reckon I should say I only use 1 hazelnut flavored splenda. Guess I should have proof read this before I hit that little sending button thingymado.

  3. ruthiebear

    I used to drink lots of thick, black coffee. Then when I was pregnant the smell of coffee made me ill. I have never been able to drink the real stuff since. Due to health issues, I am limited to decaf anyway. What I do enjoy, though, is Caffe D’Vita’s line of caffeine free instant cappuccinos. My current favorite is Mocha Orange. It tastes great hot or iced. I know, it is not like the real stuff, but it takes care of the craving in me.

  4. Adelekruger

    Hey Tori, I dont really drink much coffee (max 3 cups per day) but I have to have coffee in order for me to wake up in the morning. Unfortunately we don’t have Starbucks here in South Africa (I wish someone would just open one – maybe I should…) so I just have instant coffee, milk and 1 sugar. Borring, I know……. I’ve been wanting to buy myself a coffee machine though… Going into winter now… maybe I should just do it! My fav though is called a “mocha choca” – which we get at “Wimpy” – it’s real good! and also a vanilla flavoured latte does the trick for me.

  5. meb

    I started drinking coffee when I was 12 and was told it would stunt my growth. I’m 6 feet tall – I don’t think it worked. If it did, I’m afraid to ask how tall I would be.

    I’m like you, I have to have my 1 – 2 cups in the morning.

  6. MostlySunny

    HEY! We just got that Flavia coffee thing in our office last week! (I just got up and checked to make sure it was the same thing. YEP!) All of the coffee people are loving it. No more wasted pots of coffee. Me – I’m a Starbucks-hot-chocolate-with-a-wisp-of-cinnamon-on-top kinda gal. MMMMMM… **out the door she goes to the Starbucks drive-thru up the steet** Hits the spot every time!

  7. LindaB

    I’m a tea lover myself. It’s smooth, relaxing, with a slow released caffeine that gently wakes me up. (As opposed to the powerful caffeine in strong coffee that’s like a blow to your head with a hammer.) AND, it has antioxidants that are very good for you, too. And I have found some “flavored” teas that are like dessert——some favorites are cinnamon plum, cranberry blood orange, pineapple ginger, and chai. Love ‘em! It’s a lot easier to brew too—-no fancy machines that require a technical degree to operate and maintain. Just a simple teapot and boiling water.

    I do enjoy a good cup of black coffee occasionally—–just because it smells so wonderful! Any more than one cup will put me into cardiac arrest though. I like Starbucks, but also enjoy McDonald’s mocha—hot and iced, which would probably make your family gag, Tori!

    Recently, upon reaching that 60 year old marker, I’ve been vaguely discontented, wondering what good things I may have passed by in this life and wanting to change and experience some new pleasure that I may have missed. I want to step out into new territory, stretch the envelope (instead of my stretch pants), think out of the box. So I summoned my courage one day and ordered a cup of coffee with CREAM AND SUGAR………..well, Splenda actually. And I like it. Who knew?

  8. mmyrrh

    I guess I’ll chime in for us po’ folk and say we’ll drink whatever’s on sale – usually from a can. Thank goodness we don’t have sophisticated taste buds since Mark [hubby] & I can drink up to two pots a day. As far as the coffee maker, almost my entire kitchen is equipped with whatever ‘America’s Test Kitchen’ recommends, therefore I will tell you that it is a . . . wait . . . let me go look . . . . . OK! It’s a Black & Decker ‘Smart Brew Plus’!
    Hey Tori! If that’s Joel’s [electric] stove in the pic, then I’m really encouraged! I’ve been saying I’ll never get used to mine. Shelley

  9. gracelynn

    ROTFL OK I’m not one to preach any sermons on not finishing a cup of coffee. I’ve had my share of unfinished mugs. But I am a little different than most people….I usually have my coffee at night (only Friday and Saturday when I am teaching; otherwise I’d never sleep). There is nothing I love more than opening that bag of Sumatra coffee (Starbucks naturally – I’m with you there Russ!), taking a deep whiff of that ground coffee, and then enjoying the aroma as the coffee perks. Glad to know that you like Sumatra too Tori – I thought I was the only one that liked my coffee that dark. (Parents and brother can’t stand it – means all the more for me!) I just don’t have time in the morning to wait for the coffee to brew so I have to get up and go. Sometimes, if I get lucky and can get myself actually moving faster than a turtle, I might have time to stop at the Mickey D’s in Hertford and get me a cup to keep me halfway awake. LOL Unfortunately, the closest Starbucks is an hour away from me (yes I live in the country) so I have to make do with my Dollar General coffee maker and a bag from the grocery store. But when I go off on a trip and can afford a cup from Starbucks, I want a venti white chocolate mocha! That’s my fav!

    I like tea as well but I usually drink that more when I’m on a trip and trying to relax or, if I get a sore throat, I have to have some mint tea to help it.

  10. rockin robyn

    When I smell coffee it takes me back to my grandma’s house… when it was my turn to sleep over at grandma’s, I remember every morning waking up with the smell of coffee creeping up the steps from the kitchen and I’d hear grandma downstairs whistling as she did her morning chores – before I was even out of bed… sometimes I would just lay there and take it all in.

    Having said that… I love the smell of coffee but I just can’t drink it. I’ve tried but it just goes right to my stomach and makes me feel ill.

    In the morning my choice of beverage is milk! I need it or I don’t feel well. If I ever became lactose intolerant, just shoot me cause milk is my security blanket.

    On cold crisp mornings I’ll get ahold of some good hot-chocolate somewhere but only after I’ve had my milk!!!

  11. CarolynR

    Wow Tori you guys are into serious coffee! However, you still talk a language I’ve not yet learnt, but I am determined to come to grips with the basics before too much longer as I feel I’m missing out on so much in life:P

    I think there is probably a Starbucks in the big cities, but mostly it’s Costa Coffee shops – and yes they do costa lot! At home we have a Tassimo coffee machine. I just love the smell of fresh coffee. But in the morning I usually have a cup of Red Bush or “rooibos” tea.

    mmyrrh in UK Black and Decker is synonymous with power tools!! :)

  12. grfdave

    Are we still allowed to be friends if we drink instant! My wife and & I both enjoy a cup of Taster’s Choice in the morning. If company is over we will brew a pot, but usually are too lazy!

  13. belinda

    I love the smell of coffee, there is nothing like it, I just don’t drink it. So come on over and I’ll make it and you can drink it, how’s that? I have a coffee pot and keep plenty of fresh coffee for coffee drinkers.

    I start of with a nice cold glass of ice water and want a nice cold glass of milk with breakfast. Nothing exciting here.

  14. Barbara M. Lloyd

    Hey Belinda, I usually start out with a glass of water, too. I go through spells of drinking coffee…always when I have company and occasionally when I am home alone.
    I’m more interested in my steel-cut oatmeal in the mornings….but that would be another blog.

  15. themema

    Aw yes, coffee. that wonderful brew. I start my day with iced coffee, with a hint of cocoa, Silk, and Splenda… year round. And usually have several glasses during the day. Our favorite waitresses will meet me with a pot of coffee and a very large glass of ice.

    As for Russ…. I can vouch for his love of a good cup of Starbucks, and also that that doesn’t drink a whole lot of it, and leaves insulated cups strewn everywhere he goes. After I pack up his product and am leaving, someone usually comes running out of the church with a cup he has left.

  16. BrownEyedGirl

    I drink water in the morning. Love the smell of coffee , especially the flavored ones, but can’t stand the taste. More importantly , the aftertaste…

    Now, my husband started drinking coffee again – grinding the beans. I could just see him roasting his own beans and watching the process with a flashlight !

  17. carsmith

    I love the smell of coffee brewing but never got use to the taste. A nice cup of hot chocolate is more my speed. Jim drinks enough coffee for both of us and we always have a pot on hand. He doesn’t care if it gets cold….yuck, but he does like Folgers. Nothing fancy for him. Like Russ, he usually has a cup everywhere he goes. If he goes back to visit the guys at the Fire Station they know to offer him coffee.

  18. jonny

    Well, I can drink coffee, or coffee bean based drinks, but am not a coffee person. I actually like cold, old coffee with lots of milk. Sometimes I add chocolate or caramel to my coffee drinks, or both. I think the only times I’ve done it black & hot has been at the band practice room. I rarely drink anything with caffeine in the mornings. Usually late afternoon or nite if I’ll be having a late nite. I guess if I drink something in the morning it’s juice. Cranberry lite, or some berry based juice. I’m more of a juice, cold drink person I guess. I do drink lots of herbal tea as well, though. And, a common drink when out is a tall glass of crushed lime slices, half sofa water and half Spite Zero. I’ll have to try the crushed lime and diet coke next time, though! Also, funny about Russ leaving half filled cups of a coffee around. 1st time I heard of a guy doing that. Since a cousin pointed it out to me as a kid, I’ve only noticed woman leaving half filled cups of hot drinks around. He must have picked it up from his mom : ) Oh, and if there was de-caff available over here, I may drink more coffee. I also miss diet root beer. Not available over here either.

  19. drmani

    Hi Tori

    Catching up with BabyBloomr after a while, sorry for
    not being more regular!

    My morning (and afternoon, evening, and in-between)
    brew is Tetley Lemon tea, black, no sugar. I’m a
    tea guy, tho’ I’ve savored the occasional Bali coffee.

    Recent photo – My morning cuppa!


    btw, believe it or not, until today I hadn’t Googled
    Russ Taff – and realized with a small shock that he’s
    FAMOUS! Has his own Wikipedia page, too. Wow! :-)

  20. tori

    HEY drmani! Missed you, welcome back! That picture is beautiful– where was it taken?

  21. drmani

    That’s the view from my kitchen window. You’ll see my tea
    brewing in the microwave in the foreground :-)

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