High season: iced coffee

Summer mornings are very different from winter mornings.

In Chicago, at least.

From about November to February, between 6 and 8am, you will find me pondering the moral imperatives of getting out of bed, mentally writing a musical called I Really Should Just Stay Here.  (Featuring the perennial classic, But It’s So Warm Here!  And the big finish, a fan favorite, Why Would I Go Out There When It’s So Nice In Here… Where It’s Warm!  Someday I will shop it to Pixar.)

Once the outside temperature reaches about 60 degrees, though, it is Iced Coffee Season.  Turns out I’ve actually written about this, at least tangentially, in a previous post from years (!!?) back. 

So the story is the same.  It’s summer in Chicago, again.  Though it has been pretty glorious lately (if it’s been hot, it hasn’t been humid; when it’s been humid, it hasn’t been too hot), it’s still well over 60 degrees and I still like to start my day dry and with dignity.

Where I used to brew a pot of extra-strong coffee, now I brew a regular pot, and transfer it to an old pitcher that no one will mind smelling coffee in for the rest of its natural plastic life.  Once the pitcher is only warmish to the touch, I stow it away in the fridge for the week.  One big pot tends to get me through one week, which makes brewing the Weekly Coffee sort of a delightful ritual on Sundays, knowing that I’m providing myself with this for the next 7 days.

What you can see here is that I’m not shy with the cream.  What you can’t see is that I’m also not shy with the agave nectar for the iced version (raw sugar in hot coffee).  And now I’m going to admit something to you.  There have been moments in my adult life when I have abstained from a sweet, creamy morning mercy in the interest of fitness/nutrition/not wasting calories/whatever.  I am capable of drinking black coffee.  I actually don’t even hate it.  But the chorus in my head keeps singing – this is the contemplative moment of the show where the heroine reflects upon her choices and asks the really, really hard questions – Why would you drink that when you could drink this??  This thing that is delicious and makes the world a happy place where everyone thinks you are awesome?  

I could talk about how it saves me money at the one, two, three, four viable coffee shops between my house and my work.  I could talk about how it’s a sweet little ritual first thing in the morning, especially when I get to use my favorite glass.  I could talk about how I am persnickety and believe that This Iced Coffee is superior to every comparable beverage at any coffee stop between my house and anywhere.  (Which it is.)
And all of those responses are true.  But what I keep coming back to is that this coffee is mine.  I am the only soul in the house with a coffee habit.  And so yeah, maybe it’s all wrapped up together – the ritual, the privateness of it, the fact that I’d rather not pay someone to make a thing that I’m better at making by myself.
Or maybe it’s just that when summer hits, with its alluring brashness, its noise, heat, crowds; when the air you’re sharing with a few million other humans tastes ever more precious as the temperature rises, there is at least one thing I know I can be completely selfish about.

Tell me what you think...

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