“I don’t have a problem with caffeine. I have a problem without caffeine.”

If you know me at all, you know I frequently get really excited about things other people find totally ridiculous.  (Honestly, if you can’t have fun with life, what’s the point?)

Upon moving to the South, I realized it’s kind of a dead zone for two things I really enjoy drinking: craft beer and good coffee.  There are a few small breweries, I guess, but not around here, though there is a craft beer store here in town now, and there’s just not the variety I had access to at home (I rarely drink anymore, but the nice weather here is giving me a serious craving for a Short’s Soft Parade, which I could only get if I paid an exorbitant amount of money to have a six-pack shipped from Michigan).  Since it stays hot for so much of the year here, coffee isn’t really popular–this is by far the biggest city I’ve ever lived in, and we’ve got a couple of Starbucks, a Dunkin’ Donuts, and I think a coffee shop whose profits support some kind of church.  Even my tiny hometown has a really great coffee shop downtown, and there were a lot of choices (big chains, regional chains, local-ish chains, and funky little independent coffee houses) to choose from in Mount Pleasant.  Even the grocery stores at home have a wider variety of coffees to buy than the grocery stores here tend to carry, though I suspect that’s because I come from a very working-class place with lots of cold early mornings, and there are people like my dad who have spent the majority of their lives getting up very early and sucking down a pot of coffee before the sun comes up before having to go out into the cold to go to work.

I recently found out that a coffee company I really like from Michigan, Paramount Coffee, has an online store.  The grocery store I worked at for two summers during and after grad school has always carried a lot of their coffee, and I’d occasionally buy it and make it at my dad’s house (always cleaning the coffee maker very well afterwards, because Dad has a burning hatred of flavored coffee).  I also used to work just a few blocks from their facility in Lansing, MI.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I just bought five bags of coffee, because they offered free shipping if you spent over $40.  Yes, it’s $9 a bag, but I’m having a harder and harder time finding coffee I like down here.  I’ve been falling back on a couple of varieties of Starbucks coffee that I know I like, but I’d been missing Paramount’s Traverse City Cherry and Mackinac Island Fudge coffees in particular–you can get chocolate-flavored coffee down here, but it’s just not the same.  And Traverse City Cherry?  Now that is something special.

So much for me cutting back on my coffee intake…I have a serious coffee dependency problem, but there are worse things I could be addicted to.  At least coffee helps give me the energy to get things done, even if my doctor and some of my fellow anxiety sufferers say my anxiety symptoms could be less severe without caffeine–I can’t help but think that the withdrawal symptoms would cause me so much anxiety I’d have to have some kind of emergency caffeine infusion.  In the short term, that’s a lot more important than cutting back.

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