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Yesterday was my twice a month get out of the house excursion. This involves grocery shopping and hitting the local thrift shops. I was on a mission at the thrift shops and kept my focus fairly tight. Sadly, I didn’t find the specific bread box that I wanted (one of those adjustable plastic ones with the slicing guide built in) but I did find a complete Toddy system that looked like it had never been used for $7.

When I was homeless in Portland 20+ years ago is when I *really* got into coffee. There was a little coffee shop called Cafe Omega (now known as Tugboat Brewery) and they had a fantastic policy. They actually *liked* us homeless kids and gutter punks and would let us spend hours at a time hanging out there. A few times we were even encouraged to step inside to avoid the occasional police sweeps that would come through looking to harass us. Generally, I would show up around 10 P.M. if I hadn’t made it to the shelter on time to get a cot and get a cup of drip coffee for 7s cents. The next 8 to 10 hours would be spent playing cards or chess with the other punks that came by to hang out, as well as cup after cup of 25 cent refills, which we usually only got charged for every third cup or so. That was one of the few romantic aspects of that period of time. Needless to say, this started my tragic love affair with coffee.

After a few years of this, I got off the streets but my coffee habit continued. Now that I had some money in my pocket from doing either market research or flipping burgers, I could afford to drink coffee at home. I did this with much gusto. This went on for a few years, but after averaging about 4 pots of the juice a day for about 4 years, the caffeine and acids in coffee were taking their toll. I was starting to have serious stomach pains and it would feel like Thor himself was grasping my heart and squeezing. I was told by a doctor to cool it on the coffee before things started getting permanent.

This is when I started learning to live life without caffeine, and to be honest it’s not bad. I sleep better, my chest doesn’t feel like it’s got 220v coursing through it all the time, and I am far less edgy than I used to be. The magical thing is though that if I *need* to be awake *RIGHTTHEFUCKNOW* I can drink a large half caff drip and be juiced for the whole day. The acids still screw with my stomach a bit though.

Cold pressed coffee is the answer to this for me. This method of brewing gets all the taste (and I miss the *taste* of coffee) with almost none of the acidity and bitterness. I was making cold press coffee for a while with a setup I cobbled together but the process was annoying and messy. This Toddy system is *really* easy and simple to clean up. Last night I got it going with a mix of 1/3 dark French roast with full caffeine and 2/3 medium roast ‘house’ blend decaf. I now have a low acidity, low caffeine concentrate of coffee that mixes 1:3 with hot water to make a brilliant cup of coffee.

So, I sit here typing this with a large cup of happiness, 2 stevia and a splash of half and half, and let the hint of caffeine play with the tips of my neurons as I listen to the birds outside my window. It feels nice. Welcome back my friend.

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