Dr. Strangebrew or: How I learned to stop worrying and drink coffee.
By Ben Eads
“I will not allow anyone or anything to sap us of our precious bodily fluids…” –Colonel Ripper
That’s exactly how everyone I knew responded to me after I asked them if they would like some tea. My co-workers, my family, my friends—all coffee drinkers. They were zombies, unable to function without that extra kick. I, on the other hand, was not. Not yet.
Drinking coffee literally turned me into Beavis’s Cornholio. And, yes, thanks to the coffee I needed TP (toilet paper) for my bung-hole. My “normal” energy level was just short of bouncing-off-the-walls. Then: BAM! My bio-chemistry changed. So did my workload. I decided to give coffee a try. I needed something, anything, to keep me alert from eight A.M. to four A.M, while I beta-read and edited fiction for writers.
Coffee to the rescue! I tried a Starbucks Frappa-Al-Pacino, or whatever it’s called, and fell in love. My quest began with taste. Foldgers? Pfffft! Maxwell House? I just threw up in my mouth…just a little.
I couldn’t lay down the cash the swankier bean-kings deserved. I had to be conservative. I tried Starbucks’s “House Blend” first. It was okay. I was using an old drip machine a roommate left behind. It was tolerable, but I wasn’t satisfied. I wanted a deep, chocolaty taste. I wanted to taste my coffee! Besides, if you’re pouring more milk into your cup than you are coffee, what’s the point, right?
Walmart had a sale on Starbucks’s mocha flavored ground beans. I bought a bag. Meh. A friend visited the same day and asked me why I wasn’t using a French Pass.
“What the hell’s a French Pass?”
“It’s called a French Press, dummy. That’s why you can’t taste your coffee.”
I went online and ordered one post haste. It was cheap, too. It only took two days to arrive. It was then I discovered the holy, sacred French Press. I burned the coffee on the first attempt. I went back to google and youtube and performed more research.
The problem was I didn’t understand the process, and I wasn’t following the rules. I wasn’t allowing the water to cool just a few minutes after boiling. I also neglected to place the top of the French Press down for two minutes before—let me repeat that—before sliding the plunger down, separating solid ground from liquid. I wasn’t letting it sit long enough before pouring, either. But when I did…
I finally tasted a well extracted coffee and all its mocha filled oils. Now? I only need one teaspoon of sugar and just a splash of milk. Some days, I actually prefer it straight black. And the feeling was much different. I wasn’t as jittery.
Ever since, it’s kept me sharp, focused, and awake. I’ve become what I feared the most: a coffee drinker. I can’t see living without my precious coffee.
So, hi! My name’s Ben Eads, and I’m a coffee drinker!
Ben Eads lives within the semi-tropical suburbs of Central Florida. A true horror writer by heart, he wrote his first story at the tender age of ten. The look on the teacher’s face when she read it was priceless. However, his classmates loved it! Ben has had short stories published in various magazines and anthologies. When he isn’t writing, he dabbles in martial arts, philosophy and specializes in I.T. security. He’s always looking to find new ways to infect reader’s imaginations. Ben blames Arthur Machen, H.P. Lovecraft, Jorge Luis Borges, J.G. Ballard, Philip K. Dick, and Stephen King for his addiction, and his need to push the envelope of fiction. His novella, Cracked Sky, will be published by Omnium Gatherum Books, January 2015. You can also find Ben on Facebook and Twitter.