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A coworker of mine was complaining the other day about the coffee at work. I hadn’t really thought about it, I guess. The coffee in the office is very nearly infinitely better than what I was drinking at my old job. Besides, I usually get coffee on the way to work, instead of drinking what’s there.

Then I was reminded of my friend clu, and his recent quest for better coffee. Why should I settle for inferior coffee? Why should I be spending so much of my hard-earned simoleons on lattes?

Well, there’s actually a very good reason. I’m the only person in my family that drinks the stuff. I’ve tried French Press, drip, and espresso machines, and have yet to find a brewing method for the home that gave me both flavor and convenience when I made a small amount of coffee. The closest I ever came was back in the day when I was dabbling with a French Press, but glass is a lousy insulator, and my coffee was always cold by the time it was ready to drink. Plus, I could never get it the right strength.

But, technology has marched on, and there are new and improved methods of brewing the noble bean. I stopped off this morning and picked up: the Starbucks Barista Travel Thermal Press


It’s a little insulated travel mug with a small built-in French Press. Genius! I took it to work, and made a mug of coffee. After letting the grounds steep, I pressed the little plunger all the way down, then took a cautious sip. Not bad. I worked on that cup of coffee while I read my emails. An hour or so later, I decided I wanted to make another cup, in the interest of experimentation. After all, the mug looked like it held about sixteen ounces, which is what I usually drank. So I would be having two cups instead of one.

Well, this cup seemed even smoother than the first one. No acidity at all, no bitterness, and it stayed piping hot. Success! I could make my own gourmet coffee whenever I wanted! Huzzah!

My self-satisfaction did not last long, however, as I began to feel somewhat lightheaded. My vision grew a bit blurry, and I could feel my heart beating in an oddly syncopated pattern. Was it possible that French Press coffee had just a tad more caffeine in it than drip coffee? I did some quick research, and it seemed that, yes, French Press coffee could be a bit more efficient than a drip coffeemaker at extracting caffeine, since the grounds stayed in contact with the hot water longer.

Ah, but as I was doing my research, I stumbled across a product description for my new little coffee cup. It actually holds twenty ounces, not sixteen. Yes, I had powered down forty ounces of extra-strong coffee before eleven o’clock. This was not good.

It took a while, but after Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” had finally stopped playing inside my head, the tapdancing geckos were finished chasing the technicolor dragonflies across the top of my monitor, and I had returned from the men’s room, I was feeling much better.

Despite the abuse to my central nervous system, I remain optimistic about my new coffee cup. I’ll just have to be very sure to have just one cup a day from now on.