Coffee Fix

coffee-poster.jpgMy husband and I managed to miss the whole coffee craze. Up until a few years ago I had never had a full cup – try to restrain your horror – and he would have one only when desperate for caffeine. If it was past 10 in the morning he'd move right past a morning cup and reach for a Mountain Dew instead. All that changed one fateful trip to New England where we were introduced to Dunkin' Donuts. Sure, we knew they made good donuts, but apparently their pastry treats were not the reason for the lines cascading out the door. It was for their coffee, which we didn't hold high hopes for. For all you DD fanatics, we weren't stupid, we just live in Southern California and we aren't privileged enough to have a single store in our region. Back then if we wanted to "Run on Dunkin" we had to drive 7 hours to Arizona. Coming from a region dominated by Starbucks, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and Seattle's Best, we had pretty low expectations of a "donut shop" coffee. Wow, were we wrong. From the first burning sip – coffee is hot – to the last  we just couldn't believe how delicious it was. Or understand how they kept it hot for sooooo long. We had found our java heroin and there was no going back.

The trouble with addiction is planning how to get your next fix and in this case we were screwed. Long before the days they delivered their luscious beans to grocery stores across the country, our New England relatives had to ship us care packages every few months to keep our cups filled. Some ground, some beans. All in an effort to keep it as fresh tasting as possible. Even though I worked as an assistant in Hollywood for years, I never learned how to make coffee. It seems impossible, I know, but it's true. While I tried to follow the instructions (which seriously can't be easier – put coffee in basket, add water, turn on), I could never duplicate our in-store experiences. Thankfully, the Man can. Basically, he had to pick up this skill to serve his own cravings. Even when I do exactly what he tells me, it just doesn't come out right. Since I did teach myself to cook with some success, this is one skill he's more than willing to let slide. Besides he's really good at it. While the coffee will never be as good as on location, his brews almost make us feel as if we're there.

icedcoffee.jpgI thought we had solved our coffee woes until a summer vacation where he was introduced to the Dunkin' Iced Coffee. Who said coffee was just for cold mornings? Now it's a cool and refreshing drink as well. Upon our return, with September and October fast approaching (LA's hottest months), he decided to try out the competitors' versions, since he was now hooked on this chilly treat. Long a Starbucks hater (the sizes are small, medium and large no matter how you market it), he gave the Coffee Bean's "Iced Coffee" a try, which resulted in a long letter to their headquarters about the horror they inflicted on his palate (a slight exaggeration). Turns out instead of a simple iced coffee, he got espresso over ice. Not at all what he wanted or expected. They explained, he perhaps should have ordered an Ice Blended and gave him a coupon to try one, but he wasn't looking for a coffee milkshake. Just "coffee" with a smidge of cream over ice that tastes like hot coffee, only cold.

How hard is that?

icedcoffeemaker.jpgNot very, as we found out with an immediately drop-shipped-from-Amazon, iced-coffee maker. We purchased the Hamilton Beach Electric Iced Tea Maker, so we could do both. (I'm still more of a tea drinker.) They may not say it, but the machine can be used for either brew. It's so simple, even I can do it. Fill the pitcher with ice, add the ground coffee to the top, add water. Push the button. Almost instantly, you have the perfect summer beverage in it's own convenient pitcher at double the strength to pour over more ice with cream and sugar to be added – if that's your thing. It's almost magical. Sure you could pour hot coffee over ice, but believe me it's not the same thing. We tried that, too. Plus, by making it in all one, big batch you have it on hand whenever you get a craving. Which I think – with a month of 100-degree heat on the horizon –  is happening right now.


Lisa Dinsmore is a writer, web programmer, movie and wine lover. She currently runs two review websites to share her passions: and She is also the Managing Editor of One for the Table.