Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Choosing Between Coffee and Chocolate

Is it fair to ask you to choose between two simple and relatives inexpensive caffeine pleasures, coffee and chocolate? I didn’t think so.

While reading the morning newspaper on Kindle, I enjoy two cups of freshly brewed coffee, usually 10% Kona but this week 100% Molokai dark roast. For me, beginning the day slowly is sort of a pleasant, guilt-free ritual. For years, I awoke to a clanging alarm clock, rushed through breakfast and morning tasks, then traveled to my place of work, whether across town, miles down the highway, or merely a few short blocks' walk. It was the choice I made when I was sixteen years old and continued to make for decades. Now that I can stay home and compile stories at my own pace, another choice freely made, I appreciate the more relaxed lifestyle.

Recently, I attended an informal talk given at the Duty-Free Shop in Waikiki by an author and coffee aficionado. Shawn Steiman earned his doctorate in Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences at the University of Hawai‘i. One of his comments, something to the effect that coffee opens the mind and clarifies thinking, stuck with me. Could this reasoning apply to my writing? It was an idea worth some thought.

It isn’t necessary for me to have a clear idea of what I want to express when I first transform my thoughts into written words, I reasoned. But once the thoughts are on paper, I need to convert those ideas into a comprehensible format for others to easily understand. The mystery within a novel should not remain a mystery after the reader finishes the story. If I understood Shawn correctly, a cup of coffee, once consumed, should open my mind and give me the ability to clarify important details.

Yes, I know, the writing process still requires that I bring all the tools with me to the coffee table.

Shawn’s book, The Hawai‘i Coffee Book - A Gourmet’s Guide from Kona to
Kaua‘i also peaked my interest in coffee production and the diverse varieties
of coffees grown here in the islands. Some are even described as having a “chocolate character” so there really is no need to choose between coffee and chocolate. You can have your chocolate, and drink it too.

Knowing your brain needs stimulation to function properly, and assuming you have eaten all your vegetables, could you make a choice between that cuppa joe and a chunk of Belgian chocolate?

Click on the link below to check out Shawn Steiman's book:
The Hawai’i Coffee Book


  1. Seeing as I gave up chocolate nine years ago, I'll take the coffee!

  2. Since I don't drink coffee, I'll go with the chocolate.

  3. I'm not making a choice! Although I do consume much more coffee than chocolate. I must say after having tasted Kona coffee right on the grounds where it is produced, the absolute best coffee I've ever had came from a Brazilian coffee field, roasted and ground by hand and made by a Brazilian friend. As a real coffee lover, I gave it 5 stars. Kona coffee only got 4 stars on my chart, I'm sorry to say. I absolutely can hardly tolerate American coffee that is more like colored water and tastes dreadful! So, yup, I guess coffee wins out over chocolate.

  4. I love Colombian coffee and I love really dark chocolate. They are both wonderful gifts.

  5. Thank you for all your responses. When it comes to coffee and chocolate, it sounds like everyone has formed an opinion.

  6. I'm not a big fan of chocolate, but I do love my coffee, preferably Community or Seattle's Best. I hope you had a great weekend.

  7. I've returned from having two expressos at my local cafe. The staff there know I take it sans sugar, and now don't bother to bring a spoon. Earlier in the year, I began eating more healthily -- I've shed 35 lbs! -- but dark chocolate still is an occasional indulgence...


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