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Too Many Cooks: Our Morning Caffeine Rituals

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You'll be hearing from the staff at Food52 in Too Many Cooks, our group column in which we pool our answers to questions about food, cooking, life, and more.

Coffee on Food52


We have complex relationships with caffeine (or the lack thereof). For some it borders on obsession; others maintain a looser tie. Most in our camp are consistent coffee drinkers, but our means of getting there are diverse, ranging from French press, to Chemex, to our favorite coffee shop. And for those who aren't big into coffee, there is strong support over in the tea party. This week we're taking you through our morning beverage routines, and we want to hear yours, too!

What's your morning caffeine ritual?

How do you start off your day? Do you brew at home or frequent your favorite barista? Tell us in the comments!

Marian: In summer: Cold brew, with soy milk and simple syrup, from the only coffee shop in my neighborhood that offers bendy straws. When it's cold, I drink it black. On road trips, I always drink crappy hazelnut coffee with cream and sugar, purchased at a gas station. And in Asia, I hoarded packets of Nescafé 3-in-1, one of mankind's cleverest inventions.

Lauren M: While I'm not too particular about my beans or brew, my morning coffee has to be large and it has to be hot. I'm that person asking for an "extra hot" latte even when it's 80 degrees out. You'll also see me regularly heating up beverages in the microwave -- once it's room temp, I'm not interested.

Lauren L: The Laurens are alike. Extra hot, all the time. Microwaved multiple times throughout the day as I nurse it. Right now I am on a 3-week-and-counting coffee hiatus as the caffeine addiction was intense. It is making life less fun. I. Love. Coffee.

Bryce: Coffee. All the coffee. Mistos, lattes, coffee cart coffee, or diner coffee. Coffee. Plus milk -- whole or almond is my preference -- and a little sugar.

Kenzi: For someone who loves (loves) coffee, I have such a dysfunctional non-routine. It's so wishy-washy it hurts: If I have good beans and am feeling slightly to moderately dead, I'll make an aeropress before I leave the house. If I can make it out of the door without it, I'll bring them into work and apply a Chemex. If I'm feeling flush, I embrace my status as a Gregular. Poor, and I scrape the pantry for caffeine and make whatever I see by whatever means necessary. And you thought you were indecisive.

Chemex on Food52 Stumptown on Food52

Hannah: A handful of chocolate covered espresso beans! I always eat them out of a sweet little dish that my mom gave me when I moved to NYC. 

Allison: Right after I wake up, the very first thing I do is sleepwalk to my kitchen and make coffee. A large mug of it with a bit of skim milk and one Splenda. 

Merrill: Depending on mood and season, these are my standards: A cappuccino made with whole milk, a little on the wet side. Black tea with milk and sugar. A large iced latte.

Maddy: I generally stay away from caffeine most mornings, but for a treat on the weekends (or if I'm really feeling sluggish), I'll make myself a cappuccino with some cinnamon. I must, must have cinnamon with my coffee. Similarly, I love a good, spicy chai latte made with whole milk.

Dirty Chai on Food52

Daniel: Exits subway, makes straight line to the coffee cart on 31st and 7th. "Large coffee, milk, no sugar....Thanks, have good one fellas."

Elana: I, in the same vein as Kenzi, am all over the place with my coffee consumption -- the only contstant is that the consumption will happen daily. When I have time, I like to make pour over coffee at home with Stumptown beans and throw it in a mason jar for the road ("very Brooklyn," according to Amanda).

Stephanie: I'm an orange pekoe gal. With just a touch of milk. Maybe an iced coffee if it's really hot or a latte if I'm in need of a larger caffeine fix. I really like Hannah's move. Chocolate is always a good move in my book. 

More: Brew your own magical coffee or sweet tea.

Lindsay: Two cups of French press coffee with unsweetened soy milk. My husband brings me the first one in bed and the second one is cold by the time I get to it, so it gets heated up on the stove.

Amelia: My mom told me that I should only marry a man if I am certain he will bring me coffee in bed.

Bea: A large large cup of ginger tea, icy cold. I actually make my own ginger juice/extract by grinding the ginger, squeezing out the juices, and cooking that in a large pot of water. I love the kick that it gives me in the morning and it's super refreshing! 

Iced Tea on Food52

Brette: I always get a large hot coffee with soy milk on my way to work, and I always use a straw (yes, I'm one of those weird people). I get iced coffee in the morning maybe once a year.

Catherine: As I'm always the last of my very-punctual-and-organized roommates to drag myself out of bed, I put whatever's left in the coffeemaker into a mug. I drink it on my 20-minute walk to the subway, then keep the empty mug in my bag the rest of the day (don't worry, I wash it at night). I should probably invest in a to-go cup.

Gabriella: French press. Black. 2 to 3 times per day. Though sometimes if I wake up too late I'll grab a $1 cup from a cart near my subway stop, mostly because I'm a sucker for these cups

Kristen: I walk into Gregory's on 31st and 6th with my travel mug that has a pop-up straw, resembling something a baby or a long-distance cyclist would sip from. I am neither. Gregory's team members know that a triple shot iced latte goes in the mug, unless I inform them it's a quad day.

Tell us: How do you get your morning caffeine fix?

Photos by James Ransom, except for mug by Nicole Franzen

Tags: coffee, tea, caffeine

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