Sunday, March 3, 2013
I recently broke up with coffee.
We've been close since I was nine years old - when my mother let me join her for morning coffee, but only if I took it the way she did: no sugar, no milk. Black and strong.
I do not remember caring how it tasted. It was a rite of passage to the adult world.
I was a hard core coffee drinker. It wasn't just a cup or two in the morning - it was six or seven cups. And when my first job had me working a late shift at a television station, I drank coffee until eight or nine at night.
I can count on one hand the number of times I noticed a case of coffee jitters - and that's over decades. Coffee treated me well.
I occasionally entertained the notion of giving it up. I don't like to be hooked on anything, and coffee was most definitely an addiction. But I was terrified of the dread coffee headache. So I kept drinking.
But something changed a few months back; I woke up one morning and turned my back on the coffee pot. I had green tea. And it was okay.
I'm a tea drinker now. I don't crave coffee. I don't miss it the way I thought I would. I'm caffeinated and feel like my hot morning beverage now perhaps at least a trace of health benefits.
My guy views me sadly - our shared coffee addiction was something he enjoyed. C'est la vie.
Fortunately, tea drinkers are not outcasts in upstate New York. I still love to sit down and have a hot morning beverage outside my own kitchen. Here are some of my favorites.
In my town of Woodstock, we have Bread Alone, Maria's Bazar, Joshua's - all places you can sit down with your coffee drinking friends and enjoy a good cup of tea without ordering a full breakfast. Oriole 9 and Sunfrost can also fix you up.
We have The Tea Shop, a place where coffee drinkers don't dare to tread but where you can sample a wide array of hot liquid treats for the nose and palate. Not made for sitting and lingering, however.
Rosendale has the Alternative Baker. Love the old bakery ambience, love the town.
High Falls is home of The Last Bite, a funky little breakfast and sandwich shop that's always hopping.
In Kingston, it's an embarrassment of riches. Walk down Wall Street in the uptown area and take your pick; Dominick's, Hudson Coffee Traders...but if you're looking for people who really cater to the tea crowd, you want Outdated. They've got a huge selection of loose teas and scones that are to die for.
In Saugerties, head to the Inquiring Mind Bookstore and Cafe. Lots of loose teas, comfortable couches encouraging you to hang around awhile.
Are there more? You bet. But these are the ones I know well, the ones I visit regularly, the ones I think you shouldn't miss. Let me know if I've missed a good one!