Saturday, December 19, 2009

Coffee, Tea And a Book

What is your favorite beverage of choice?

I'm not talking about a beverage of the "spirits," but coffee, tea or hot chocolate. Do you reach for a cup of liquid refreshment when you sit down to read or write?

Coffee is something I normally reach for when I'm writing and a lot of times when I'm reading. Guess it dates back to the many years of being a journalist, especially covering the police beat. Late nights after covering liquor or drug raids or a car wreck you'd end up at a local restaurant with the officers handling the case to do your follow up questions while they grabbed a bite to eat and a cup of coffee.

Now on Fridays when I put my paper "to bed," I always have a cup of White Chocolate Mocha handy.

I still love my regular coffee (a litte sugar, no cream), but I have branched out somewhat from just plain coffee.

I like to try different types of flavored coffee. Many years ago before there was a Starbucks on every corner the closest coffee shop was about an hour's drive north. It was a Barney's and I made sure to visit every Christmas so "Santa" would know what to bring me.

My love of coffee lead me to read the first Coffeehouse Mystery book (On What Grounds) by Cleo Coyle. I was hooked. I'd found two things I loved together - a murder mystery and coffee tips and recipes.

Since that first book, I've read every one in the series. That love of coffee and Cleo's books has added a whole new chapter in my own life that I'll share with you in the coming days. Let me just say, "drinking and reading" can effect your life.

Back to my love of coffee. There are so many books and websites devoted to coffee that I won't even begin to make a list. I will mention Cleo's website because she does have a virtual coffeehouse with lots of great information on coffee.

What's your take on flavored coffee?

There is a coffee company in Woodstock, Ga., that I have bought coffee (and tea) from for several years. My favorite flavored coffee from them is called "Rainforest Crunch." It has flavors of hazelnut, vanilla nut, almond, and macadamia nut in it. Wonderful coffee just to sip, especially on cold, rainy days.

There's also "Baked Alaska" (decadent white chocolate mousse, double Dutch chocolate, and wild raspberry flavor), "Bourbon Truffle" (Kentucky bourbon, vanilla, and chocolate fudge), second favorite - "Hot Fudge Brownie" (blend of fudge nut brownie, maple walnut, European vanilla, and Southern pecan), and "Sinful Delight" (Jamaican rum, macadamia nut, and coconut) just to name a few.

In addition, I enjoy their vast assortment of teas includeing Formosa Oolong, Lapsang Sauchong, and Berry Berry Tisane to name a few. But I won't go into that now.

I've noticed that several characters I read about will favor a certain kind of drink or food over another. I wonder if it's a favorite of the author's too or just something they added to give the character a bit more of a personal touch.

Do you give your characters your taste for food and drink? Would you have your characters drink something you've never tried? Would you try a certain dish or drink just to have the taste and experience to use for your character?

Gotta go, my cup needs refilling.


  1. Mason - This is a really interesting post! Giving characters tastes for something makes them more real and believable. We all have tastes, after all.

    As for me, I'm addicted to black coffee, so that's what I drink when I write in the morning. Later in the day, it's diet soad or diet green tea. My protagonist/sleuth also drinks coffee; although I didn't think about it specifically when I developed him, maybe he did get that from me ; ).

  2. I can't answer about as a writer, and, probably wouldn't make a good one as I'm not a coffee or tea drinker. A hot chocolate in the morning is nice. (My mother's cocoa is even better.) And, a hot cider at work; nothing smells any richer to me.

    I do know Lee Child says when Jack Reacher has coffee, it's because Lee doesn't know what to do with him right then.

    Merry Christmas, Mason, and thank you for the beautiful music while I answer you.

    Lesa - http://www.lesasbookcritiques.blogspot.som

  3. I'm not a coffee drinker. Give me Earl Grey or Chai tea any day :)

    My characters tend to be coffee drinkers though. I think most people identify with coffee drinkers! I try to match their drink to their personalities!

  4. Margot, I think if a character is drinking something I've had before or I enjoy it does make me connect with them more. It helps draw me in to believe while I'm reading.

    I should drink diet anything, but I don't. I do like hot green tea. I'd have to say over the past couple of years I've cut down on my soda drinking.

    Lesa, glad you enjoy the music and thanks for stopping by. I usually have my hot chocolate or a cup of Cappuccino at night while I'm working on my blog post.

    Hot cider reminds me of winter and warms you while you drink. I also like Wassail at Christmas. I love the smell.

  5. Jemi, thanks for stopping by. I enjoy Earl Grey too, but haven't tried the Chai tea yet. May have to give it a try.

    Writing about something you don't do says a lot about your ability as a writer to me. You can go beyond what you like and know and make that character believable in what they're doing. That's amazing to me.

  6. What a great topic! I'm a coffee drinker and drink a lot of it. :) I also enjoy chai tea and other teas. I love having something hot to drink while I'm writing. Hot chocolate sounds about right this soon as I have another cup of coffee.

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  7. I have to have my coffee first too, Elizabeth. After that first cup I can try something else (will maybe after the second cup). Strange, but I want my first cup of coffee to be regular coffee and then I enjoy the flavored kind. Habits are hard to break I guess.

  8. Good subject and thoughts on it. I'm such an omnivore - I've tried and like almost every ethnic food on the planet, and will drink anything from Schnapps to Hops to liquid sugar pops, so my characters can have favorite drinks and food of all different tastes and I can usually write with experience about it.

    My favorite morning drink? Tough one. Strong blended exotic coffee or an espresso or a cappucino on the jave side, but I also like Monster Lo-Carb Energy drink. Yes, I'm a hypercase in the mornings - that's when I'm at my brightest and most productive so I super charge myself and get all productive, lol.

    Madness Reigns in the Mornings Marv

    ps - love your Christmas music playing whilst doing the reading.

  9. Thanks for stopping by Old Silly, glad you like the music. I may have to come up with something else to listen to after Christmas. Well see.

    The strong blended exotic coffee, espresso or cappucino I could go for, but still haven't tried any of the energy drinks yet. As much as I need energy you'd think I'd give the a try.

  10. I must admit I'm not a coffee drinker myself, probably due to me being a vegetarian person who is very careful about avoiding not so healthy food and drinks. But I do enjoy a cup of black tea with some lemon in it. I always buy a lot of different blends of black tea and always look for a high quality. I drink it in the morning as the first daily ritual, but when I'm out of concentration during work, a cup of tea always helps to wake me up and revive my creativity :)

    I like to use cappuccino when I'm making cakes and cookies :)

  11. I enjoy lemon in iced tea Dezmond, but for some reason I've just never have tried it in hot tea. Guess I need to. I enjoy honey in hot tea instead of sugar. The cappuccino with cakes and cookies sounds good.

  12. In the manuscript I just finished, one of my character's loves tortilla soup. One chicken piccata. I like both those. But one likes zabaglione. I've never had that. I think it might be a book for foodies.

  13. Sounds good to me Carol, the food and the book. I've never tried any of those but the tortilla soup sounds warm and inviting today, especially since it's in the low 40s, no sun, windy and a chance of snow flurries here.

  14. Fun topic! I have to start my day with a a cup of black coffee first thing in the morning - usually accompanied by a purring kitty in my lap :-). Later in the day, I'll switch to herbal tea. And I absolutely adore lattes.

    I've been unsucessfully trying to kick the diet coke habit for years - I once quit for a couple of months, but then missed it too much and started again. They must put crack or something equally addictive into those diet sodas.....

  15. Ingrid, I understand about the purring kitty. Mine seem to get upset if I don't get up when the alarm goes off, guess they know it's time to be feed. I enjoy herbal tea and lattes too. Never drank diet sodas that much, but did use to drink quite a few regular sodas every day.

  16. It really depends. First thing in the morning, I need a cup of tea. Chamomille is my favorite. A few hours later, I want a cup of hazelnut coffee. In the evening when I'm unwinding, I love white hot chocolate.

  17. All three sound good to me. I haven't had white hot chocolate in a long time, I'll have to give that another taste.

  18. hot chocolate? YEA! lost of different teas" YEA! coffee? BLECK


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.