A Yo Ho Ho Thirsty Thursday

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In trying to find pictures for Throwback Thursday, I realized I have a lot of pictures of adult beverages (that is said with pride, by the way!). As such, I’ve decided that rather than share pictures of me with bad 80s hair and glasses that legitimately covered half my face, I could easily share glasses of a much tastier kind. So without further ado, I present to you: Thirsty Thursday!

I know, I know: I’ve already featured the Koloa Rum Company on Thirsty Thursday before…and yes, I’m featuring them again.  I mean, is there such a thing as too much rum?  I think not.

Please note that any and all complaints will be actively ignored while drinking from my stash of Koloa…

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Here we are congregated at the tasting bar as our lovely bartender took us through all the rums that Koloa offered: White, Gold, Spiced, Dark, and Coconut.  We all graciously took turns finishing April’s tastes, as she would take a small sip of each for prosperity’s sake and then would slide her glass down to each of us in turn–we couldn’t let delicious rum go to waste!

After running through the line-up, we got a brief lesson on the Mai Tai and Koloa’s version for anyone who wanted one (yes, please!).

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Tastings are daily–but there are a limited number of slots per tasting, so the first thing you need to do when you get there (of course you’re going to go–why wouldn’t you?!?) is sign up for a tasting.  After that, do take the time to walk around the picturesque grounds and visit the gift shop (just don’t miss your tasting!).

For the store and tasting room hours–not to mention directions, recipes, descriptions of their current rum selections, and their e-gift shop can all be found on their website.

The best part of perusing their website is that I noticed that they’ve added a new rum to their collection since we visited: coffee.  Helllllllloooo gorgeous!!!!  Could there be a more perfect rum for me?

My only question (because the previous one was rhetorical) is: who wants to go to Kauai?!?

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Aloha!

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Chalkboard Art: The Simple Things in Life

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New York City streets are filled with a lot of things: people, dogs, trash, mysterious things you’re better off not knowing what they are…but my favorite things NYC sidewalks offer are Chalkboard Art.

I mean honestly, when it’s in the mid-90’s (or mid-30s Celsius), who could ask for anything more (aside from beer and a beach, of course!)???  😉

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The Actual Pilgrimage

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As you may or may not remember (or read/didn’t read), the Big Island has approximately 790 coffee plantations/farms.  Narrowing it down to only one was a rather daunting task, but I did a bit of research and history, looked at only those in the Kona region, and further narrowed it down to those who offered tours.  After learning about Captain Cook’s fate, I decided the best thing to do was not show up unannounced any where there weren’t tours, especially given we were only a couple of miles from where he landed!

In the end, I picked Greenwell Farms, located on the Mamalahoa Highway in Kealakekua.  It was not a far trip from Kailua-Kona and is conveniently located on the highway we chose to take to Hilo, filled with lots of fun things to do along the way!

As we drove up the driveway, I could barely contain my excitement and I’m sure that I was out of the car before it was even in park!  Greenwell offers tours everyday from 8am to 4pm–you don’t need a reservation, just show up and wait for the next tour they offer (I think we waited about 4.5 minutes).  The tour itself was about 30 minutes with a coffee tasting following.

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Greenwell Farm was founded in 1850 by Henry and Elizabeth Greenwell, who left England and relocated in Kona.

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Before we even started the tour, we saw several other fruit bearing trees/plants–all of which I had never seen before (the tree/plant that is, I am well acquainted with the fruit), like avocado, banana, and pineapple.

The first stop on our walking tour (don’t panic–it’s an easy walk, you’re not scaling the mountain!) was an up-close look at a few trees with cherries on them.  I think I made EVERYONE take my picture with The Trees.

After I was dragged away from we left the coffee trees, we then headed over to the building where all the magic happens: what happens to the cherries after they are picked.  Aka, they are soaked in water, depulped, and then dried.

After the beans are dried, they are graded, sorted and then packaged in 100lb burlap sacks to store until it is time to be roasted and packaged.

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As our tour guide colorfully walked us through the process, she had on had various coffee cherries/beans at different stages of the process.

The tour concluded with questions and then we headed back for my second favorite part (aside from The Trees): tasting!

Alas, there were no pictures of the tasting because well, WE WERE TASTING!  Greenwell Farms has a very impressive line-up of coffees, in various roasts.  Wahoooo!  I was so excited and it was another reason I chose to visit Greenwell–because I noticed that they have medium roasts in their collection.  I think we all know how I feel about dark roasts. If you don’t, I’ll just keep my rant to a minimum and just say that I liken dark roasts to licking the bottom of an ashtray.  Not that I have ever actually licked the bottom of an ashtray, but in my mind it’s the closest descriptor I can get.

I WILL HAVE TO ADMIT that I did have a few decent dark roasts while in Hawaii because they weren’t too darkly roasted–only a step or two up from a medium roast–so you still got a lot of flavors other than “bottom of the ashtray”.

After we had tasted nearly everything, it was hard not to buy it all!  I did manage to narrow it down to my two favorites–the Peaberry and the Onouli–and then debated/lamented for a good 20 minutes about which one to get.  I mean, in addition to the gifts I was purchasing (I wasn’t going to be totally selfish, even though I reeeeeeeeeeally wanted to be!).

In the end, I went with the Onouli because it is sourced from 100 year old trees and if you’re making a pilgrimage to a coffee mecca, you should definitely splurge and get the really delicious and rare stuff.

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I was a bit sad when it was time to head out, but I knew that we still had a lot of places to see on the Big Island–and besides, I was taking a bit of Greenwell home with me.

🙂

 

 

 

The Pilgrimage to (Coffee) Mecca

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Let me start out this post with a bit of house keeping:

  1. Yes, I’m technically late with this posting….although I will argue that it’s still Saturday in Hawaii and since this post is about Hawaii, I’m using that as my justification for the lateness.
  2. When writing don’t forget to click save/update frequently, lest you walk away and the iPad goes into sleep mode and magically erases the last hour of work.  I know this is basic computer 101, but I’m so used to writing on the computer–which automatically saves it–that I forgot on the App, saving is manual.
  3. I realize as I’m typing this for the second time that I suppose I should have started with our time in Oahu, since that is where we started our trip. However, given the fact that I’m retyping this all again, I’m more committed than ever to start with the Big Island. Besides, I don’t know that I’ve ever written about any of my trips in order, so why start now?
  4. Just in case it wasn’t clear in Planning To Get Lei’d, the person who insisted we go to the Big Island so that we could tour coffee plantations was little ol’ me.

Shocking, right?!?!?

I’m just going to pause here for a moment and let all the people who actually know me stop laughing.

For those of you who do not know me and/or haven’t had the pleasure of dealing with me sans coffee, the easiest way to describe my love of coffee is to say that I’m 99.9738% certain that my blood type is C for coffee–or perhaps more accurately, K for Kenya and Kona, my two favorite types of coffee.

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So there was no way in hell that I was going to fly allllllll the way to Hawaii and not go to Kona.  Period.  End of discussion.  Perhaps that is why everyone acquiesced to my suggestion of visiting the Big Island.  Of course, I could have easily made the entire trip about coffee, but I didn’t.  Since my darling friends were kind enough to agree to travel with me to the Big Island, I was kind enough to agree on visiting only one coffee plantation (the parameters set to me went something like “fine, we’ll go to A coffee plantation.  You pick.  You pick ONE.”)

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  Yes, that’s right.  I’m a big, fat tease and am NOT going to tell you about our trip to the coffee plantation–just yet.  First I want to introduce you to Hawaii, the Big Island.

The best part of the Big Island (aside from THE best pina colada I’ve ever had in my life) is that every where you go, Kona coffee is on the menu.  I was like a kid in a candy shop anytime we went somewhere and I saw it on the menu.  I mean, sure you expect it but when you get there and see that it is an actuality, it’s quite delightful.  Well, delightful to me–I’m not sure everyone else in the group felt the same!

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Here are some more delightful…or rather informative tidbits about the Big Island.  Most of my information comes from hawaii.com, which should be your first stop when planning to visit Hawaii.  And they’re not even paying me to say that, although I would be perfectly a-okay if they wanted to pay me to say that–and visit more often.  Just saying…

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  • Hawaii, aka The Big Island, is so named because it is the biggest of the Hawaiian islands.  Just in case you were confused, thought they were being ironic, or wanted to be argumentative.
  • It is just over 4,000 square miles and is the youngest of the islands.
  • It has 12 distinct climate zones ranging from rainforest to snowcap peaks.
  • It was formed with 5 volcanoes, although only two of them are still active.  One of which is Kilauea, the longest continuously erupting volcano in the world (this eruption phase started in 1983!).
  • One of the most fascinating aspects is how different the weather is on each side of the island.  Hilo boasts an average rainfall of 128 inches, whereas directly across the island a mere 75 miles away is Kawaihae, who only receives about 10 inches of rain a year!
  • It is home to four coffee regions: Kona, Ka’u, Puna, and Hamakua. There are approximately 790 coffee plantations (do you know how hard it was to only pick one?!?!?!) on the Big Island, however, the largest coffee planation is actually in Kauai!
  • The Big Island is home to both a green sand and a black sand beach (more about those later!).
  • The southern most tip of the Big Island is actually the most southern point in the United States.
  • And just in case you thought it was all fun and games and coffee, Captain Cook was captured, killed, and eaten at Kealakekua Bay (just south of Kailua-Kona).

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Aloha!

 

 

Chalkboard Art: Unicorn Lattes

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New York City streets are filled with a lot of things: people, dogs, trash, mysterious things you’re better off not knowing what they are…but my favorite things NYC sidewalks offer are Chalkboard Art.

I have ABSOLUTELY NO idea what unicorn tastes like.  I have no desire to live a half-life or a cursed one for that matter, so I consider unicorns to be on my “DO NOT EAT” list.  Those who actually know me know just how short that list is–I mean, after all I am not only willing, but love to eat Vegemite and Peeps (although not together–that would be gross!)

BUT if I were to imagine it, I would think that unicorns would taste like cotton candy or perhaps marshmallow.  They would NOT taste like mango and mostly certainly not with some sour sauce added to the mix.  For the record, this description was thankfully provided by a person who has asked to keep his/her identity a secret.  Also for the record, I solemnly swear it is not me, as the only colorful drinks I allow myself to drink have rum or tequila in them!  True story…oh, except for slushies….I do enjoy a nice cherry coke slushy from time to time.

But I digress.  Back to unicorns and coffee and the reason we’re here today: Chalkboard Art.  I think the Chalkboard Art below accurately sums up my thoughts about anything unicorn flavored that a certain coffee company might offer (and a big thanks to Camilla for sending it to me because she knows that I like my coffee as black as my soul!)

60 Questions.

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Happy New Year!  Okay, okay I know I’m a taaaad bit late, but…it’s still January, so I’m not that late, right?!?!?

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In an effort to not scream down the house or throw things at the television during today’s Cowboy game, I thought during halftime I might share one of those “getting to know you” quizzes circulating around the inter webs.

And because I know that 98.76% of the population hates filling these out, I won’t tag anyone…but I love reading your answers, so if you’re in 1.24% who also loves them, feel free to share 🙂

The original quiz is 100 Getting To Know You Questions (but I thought I’d spare you all 100 questions!  okay, okay, I just got tired of answering all of them…halftime is only so long, after all)

60 Questions About Me:

  1. If you could live anywhere, where would it be? Italy or Hawaii or a beach somewhere (not that they’re mutually exclusive, so perhaps a beach in Italy or Hawaii!) 
  2. What is your biggest fear? Disappointing those I love
  3. What is your favorite family vacation? Going to visit Family & Friends and Going Somewhere I’ve Never Been
  4. What would you change about yourself if you could? I would ban the nagging, negative voice in my head
  5. What really makes you angry? ignorance, injustice, and hypocrisy 
  6. What is your favorite book to read? I don’t think I could even narrow it down to 10, but here are a few The Jungle Books, Children of Men, I Know This Much is True, Harry Potter (all of them, of course), To Kill A Mockingbird, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Parasol Protectorate Series., The Spellman Files Series..
  7. What makes you laugh the most? My friends
  8. What did you want to be when you were small? Pediatric Surgeon (yes, I was that specific).
  9. If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be? Road Trip!
  10. What is your favorite game or sport to watch and play? Football, of the American variety.
  11. Would you rather ride a bike, ride a horse, or drive a car? It depends how far I’m going, as I enjoy all three of those modes of transportation
  12. What would you sing at Karaoke night?  Nobody wants to hear that…and I’d like to issue a blanket apology for all those who have
  13. Which would you rather do: wash dishes, mow the lawn, clean the bathroom, or vacuum the house? It’s a draw between wash the dishes and mow the lawn.
  14. If you could hire someone to help you, would it be with cleaning, cooking, or yard work? Cleaning and de-Addy-hairing my life (if you have a labrador, you understand)
  15. If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be? TACOS!
  16. Have you ever had a nickname? What is it? A nickname?  Try many nicknames: Shez, Shezza, Fezza, Sheshie, Sherbear, Sherrybelle, Sher, Hey you
  17. Do you like or dislike surprises? Why or why not? I do because I think it takes a lot of work to pull off a surprise and I’m always appreciative of that
  18. Would you rather vacation in Hawaii or Alaska, and why?  Hawaii.  No diss on Alaska, it’s beautiful and I enjoyed visiting, but I looooooooooove Hawaii!
  19. If money was no object, what would you do all day? Travel the world, eat, write, and pet my dog.
  20. If you could go back in time, what year would you travel to? I don’t know about a specific year, but I think the 1920s would be fun
  21. How would your friends describe you? You’ll have to ask them, perhaps crazy (in a good way), adventurous, loyal, and secretive 
  22. What are your hobbies? Traveling, reading, scrapbooking, not killing people
  23. Aside from necessities, what one thing could you not go a day without? As long as coffee is considered a necessity, I’m good
  24. List two pet peeves. People who don’t pick up their dog’s poop and people who hold the train doors open
  25. How many pairs of shoes do you own?  about 20 pairs of shoes and perhaps 30 pairs of flip flops.  That might be a slight exaggeration….on the shoes.
  26. What would you do if you won the lottery? Pay off my bills, buy a house, make large donations to charity, travel the world, have an awesomely stocked wine cellar/beer cooler/pantry, and help family & friends
  27. What form of public transportation do you prefer? (air, boat, train, bus, car, etc.) call me crazy, but I love taking the ferry (and seeing the Statue of Liberty twice a day is an added bonus!)
  28. What’s your favorite zoo animal? tigers, elephants, and giraffes (oh c’mon, surely you didn’t expect just ONE answer??)
  29. If you could go back in time to change one thing, what would it be? Not to sound hokey, but I don’t think I’d go back and change anything.  I’d be too scared that if I did, I might miss out on meeting some of the most amazing people ever.
  30. How many pillows do you sleep with? 3…although in total fairness, the cat usually sleeps on one.
  31. What’s the tallest building you’ve been to the top in? uhhhh….I think the Empire State Building
  32. What’s your favorite holiday? It used to be Halloween, however, now it’s Thanksgiving
  33. What’s the most daring thing you’ve ever done? Packed up everything and moved to another country….twice.  Oh and I have walked over hot coals.
  34. What was the last book you read? Her Final Breath by Robert Dugoni
  35. What’s your favorite type of foreign food? Sushi
  36. Are you a clean or messy person? I’m a clean, but clutter person…aka I like things to be clean and look orderly, but don’t open the closet or you risk dying under a deluge of random objects I didn’t feel like organizing
  37. How long does it take you to get ready in the morning? Actual getting ready time, about 20-30 minutes, but I need a good hour to sit on the couch and drink coffee before that process can begin or it gets ugly…very ugly.
  38. What kitchen appliance do you use every day? Coffee maker.  duh.
  39. What’s your favorite fast food chain? Sonic, Whataburger, and Taco Villa
  40. What’s your favorite family recipe? Ome’s Peach Cobbler
  41. Do you love or hate rollercoasters? I’m terrified, but I ride them (and usually enjoy it)
  42. What’s your favorite family tradition? Driving around on Christmas Eve, looking at Christmas Lights…of course, this has morphed into going to see the Tree at Rockefeller Center
  43. What’s your favorite movie? The Sound of Music, Steele Magnolias, Miracle on 34th Street (original) and of course, there’s always Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter (and no, you don’t need to comment the last three are series)
  44. How old were you when you learned Santa wasn’t real? How did you find out? Wait, what?!?!  Santa’s not real?!?!?!?
  45. Is your glass half full or half empty? If this is an analogy for life, half full.  If it’s an actual glass of wine or beer (or mug of coffee), then half empty
  46. What was your favorite subject in school? Biology
  47. What’s the most unusual thing you’ve ever eaten? Chocolate covered worms (and no, I don’t mean gummy worms!)
  48. Do you collect anything? Hilarious travel stories
  49. Is there anything you wished would come back into fashion?  Jeans that aren’t skinny
  50. Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Extrovert, who likes a lot of alone time
  51. Which of the five senses would you say is your strongest? Taste
  52. Have you ever had a surprise party? (that was an actual surprise) Yes…I was very discombobulated for the first few minutes
  53. What do you do to keep fit? hahahahahahahahaha….ahem.  what was the question?  oh yeah, uh…..well, I live in NYC and do a lot of walking, especially up and down subway stairs as well as yoga about twice a year
  54. Does your family have a “motto” – spoken or unspoken? The Supreme Commander is always right.  You’re welcome, Auntie K! 😉
  55. If you had a warning label, what would yours say? Do Not Approach Without Coffee…or Wine…or Beer…or Tacos
  56. What song would you say best sums you up? I’ve Always Been Crazy, Waylon Jennings
  57. On a scale of 1-10 how funny would you say you are? 9.125
  58. What was your first job? A frozen yogurt & sandwich shop….long before FOYO was cool.
  59. How many languages do you speak? Fluently?  One  but I dabble in about 4 more…
  60. What is one thing you will never do again? Due to the gag order, I cannot legally answer this question.

If you’re still reading, you rock!!  Now, back to yelling at the game…

Happy New Year–here’s to a great 2017!

 

 

 

Too Distracted for Doughnuts…

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I know you’re saying to yourself (probably outloud and in disbelief): “Shez, ain’t no such thing!”  

Don’t panic!  I haven’t been too disctracted to EAT doughnuts, only to write about them.  

Since 1938, The United States has been celebrating National Doughnut Day the first Friday in June.  National Doughnut Day was created by a Chicago branch of the Salvation Army with a two-fold purpose: create awareness of the Salvation Army’s community service projects and to help raise money for these projects.  The doughnut theme paid tribute to the Salvation Army’s dough lassies, who would pass out doughnuts to the troops during the First World War (it was so popular that it resumed during WWII–you can read more about it here!).

I had every intention of creating a doughnut post yesterday, however, with the excitement and craziness of FAMILY! arriving, I forgot all about it.  I did eat a doughnut (a delicious one from Culture Coffee!)–don’t you worry about that!  I mean, I had to have something distract me while waiting on their plane to land…

 

Chinese Non-Delivery

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Remember in my earlier posts about it being the start of low season and everything closing up early?  Turns out, that affected the food industry as well.  Since our deck had not one, but two grills, we decided it might be fun to grill something for dinner.  We found a grocery store, strolled around for awhile, but nothing struck our fancy.  So we decided Chinese delivery sounded great, bought some candy and left.

Get back to B&B, find the menu, and notice that they don’t offer delivery service between October and April.  Great! Fantastic!  We peruse through the rest of the menus that would deliver–at least in October–but nothing sounded as good, so we opted to go back into town to pick up dinner.  Besides, I needed coffee supplies anyway–because thankfully while April was reading the menu, I was exploring kitchen supplies and noticed the only coffee on hand was decaf.  DECAF!  DEEEEEECAAAAAAFFFFFFFF.  Who does that?!?!? Plus it also allowed us to pick up blizzards at Dairy Queen–so in the end, it was quite a successful jaunt into town.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  Chinese delivery take-out:  it’s 7:40pm when we call.  It’ll take about 30 minutes, can we be there by 8pm?  Uh, what?  Okay [definitely not arguing with getting our food faster].  She gives me the price and the address and just happens to mention not to be late because they close at 8pm.  Okay.  BY 8PM [she just keeps repeating this].  Message received loud and clear.  We arrive at 7:53pm because, well, we definitely wanted our food–not just because we were hungry–rather we weren’t sure if any other food options would still be open other than the 24-hour gas mart.  At this point we were even panicking that DQ might be closed.

Fortunately it was still open.

With food, blizzards, and coffee supplies in our hot little hands, we returned back to the B&B for a quiet night in, playing Lord of the Rings Trivial Pursuit.  And for those of you in my life who think I’m a LotR’s fanatic, I just want you to know that April kicked my ass!

Happy Star Wars Day!

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May The Fourth Be With You!

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PS–Click on the picture if you neeeeeed this mug…or you know, decide to get me one 😉

An Extra Shot

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For those of you who are unaware, coffee is what makes me a whole person.  Don’t bother writing in with [insert crazy argument here]…all I will read is blah, blah, blah COFFEE blah, blah, blah.  I will then make a cup of coffee, thank you for the suggestion, and go about my day.

Anyway, I’m only mentioning this to those of you who have never had the pleasure of knowing Morning Me before coffee: she ain’t pretty.  And the point I’m so long windily trying to make is that it is a rare occasion where I turn down a cup of coffee.

As mentioned in my prior post, there was an announcement that my delayed flight would soon be boarding.  I was torn in two.  Coffee or getting to the gate on time?  Okay, there wasn’t that much tearing…especially given there was no line at the cafe three gates away (probably because most people don’t drink a lot of coffee at 8:30pm….except perhaps the baristas, who were, in fact, bouncing off the walls).  I asked for a breve latte.  Actually FIRST I asked how many shots where in the size I wanted.  Three.  Wow…really?  That’s fantastic.  Then I order a breve latte.  All the baristas stopped momentarily to see if I was actually a person.  A real-live-ordered-breve-and-no-skinny-anything latte.

Then the barista at the register said something magical: would you like an extra shot?  It’s free.  I’m sorry, FREE COFFEE?  Oh honey those are THE TWO BEST sequential words on the planet (except for maybe FREE BEER or FREE WINE).  It’s coffee and it’s free.  I know that extra shots are not normally free, but who am I to argue with a barista who was being extra nice [read: don’t go visit and start demanding extra free shots].  Too bad there wasn’t a lottery place in the airport, I would have totally played because I was feeling so lucky.

I think normal people might balk at 4 shots of espresso at 8:30pm.  But not me.  Oh no, not me!  With gusto I said “of course I do…that would be fantastic!”  I didn’t even question why it was free, I just went for it (I mean, really who would turn this down???)  As I was gushing my profuse thanks I could see a realization of the late time start to sink into the barista’s brain and I could read his sudden perplexed expression like a book:  no, no decaf–all regular please!

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Thankfully my gate was near by because it was so creamy and so delicious, I needed to sit down.  Colectivo Coffee is a Milwaukee based coffee and roasting company who has been contributing great coffee to the fine folks in and visiting Milwaukee since 1993.  You can even go to their store on Humbolt Avenue and watch the whole roasting process–which is not only fascinating, but smells amazing!  Trust me, if you’re in the Milwaukee area visit one (or more of their stores)–you won’t be disappointed: the freshly roasted beans shine through in every cup they make.

My coffee reverie was interrupted by nice flight attendant, who very graciously announced final boarding for my flight.  Once in my seat with my seat belt buckled and tray table in its upright position, the aforementioned reverie continued until the last drop of creamy coffee was gone.  And before you write in and chide me about 4 shots of espresso at 8:30pm, just know that after I finished my delicious breve, I napped allllllll the way to MSP!