I love good coffee. Especially hazelnut coffee, and especially freshly made with good cream. I'm not a diehard coffee drinker, but sometime over the years I've become picky about my coffee. I will travel miles out of my way if I know a place that serves good coffee. I will walk extra blocks at work to get to Ellen's Ice Cream because she always has fresh hazelnut coffee (from organic, free-trade beans, no less) ready made.
Coffee cups are important to the flavor of the coffee to me. Who wants to drink really great coffee out of a mug advertising Mike's Lube and Brake Shop? Not me. I select a cup to suit my mood and need for caffeine. Big, small, pottery, china, flowered, plain, clear glass, large, small, or very cool shape--all are important to finding the right cup for the brew. Weird? I thought so, but recently learned that I am not alone in this persnicketyness. My sister Maggie stood contemplating my rows of cups and said, "Hmmm, which one is the right one this morning?" It must run in the family.
My favorite coffee mug
I'm a tea drinker too. My English mother taught us to make proper English tea, and it ruined me forever for getting hot tea when I'm out. Tea, you see, is best when made with loose leaves. A teaball is acceptable, but loose leaves are better (use a strainer when pouring, unless you like straining through your teeth!).
The water must be boiling, not just hot (which is why she harrumphed at hot tea machines--the water in those is never boiling). Good tea leaves is a must --she liked a brand called PJ Tips and ordered this English tea through a place in Texas. Mom finally began using teabags as she got older, but she was adamant about using good tea. I am not so diehard about it--but I do like Earl Grey or English Breakfast the best, and don't often use anything else.
I also do not like drinking tea out of a mug (Mom's influence again). I need a teacup with a saucer, and bone china is preferred. When we were children, we looked forward to our 12th birthday because that meant we got our very own china teacup and could have tea at the dinnertable with the grown-ups. It was a rite of passage at our house.
My kitchen shelves--my dishes don't go in cabinets, because I like to look at them.
I realized this year that several of my grandchildren were twelve or older and I had not given them a teacup. I am rectifying that, finding beautiful cups in antique shops for each child who has reached the milestone age. The tradition is being passed on and I hope some of the grandchildren will continue it with their children.