Coffee, drip (61%)
Coffee, espresso (27%)
Coffee, French press (44%)
Coffee, other (lattes, frappachinos, iced, etc.) (55%)
Hot Tea, plain (72%)
Hot Tea, doctored (with sugar, honey, cream, etc.) (44%)
Iced Tea, plain (44%)
Iced Tea, doctored (with sugar, lemon, bourbon, etc.) (33%)
Yerba Mate (11%)
Soda, regular (55%)
Soda, diet (33%)
Other (mints, soap, breath spray, intravenous drip, etc.) (22%)
This poll demonstrates that despite the academic bent of my readers, the Flock is still a "Blue Collar Joe" kind of group. At least in terms of caffeine. The average Flocker takes his tea hot and straight up and makes his coffee with little paper filters. Given the number of computer nerds, gamers, and other self-confessed geeks in our ranks I'm amazed at the small response for the more esoteric caffeine application methods. Perhaps a trip to this page of Think Geek's catalog would be a good place to start your holiday shopping!
I also feel the need to talk up my new favorite caffeine application method - yerba mate. Contrary to popular belief, it is NOT tea. At least not in the traditional sense, nor in the Red Zinger herbal hippy sort of way, either. It is made from the leaves and stems of a South American holly (Ilex paraguariensis), and it contains a fair amount of caffeine, ranging between 0.7% and 1.7% of its dry weight.
The neat thing about it is that re-brewing of the same leaves doesn't make it bitter. In fact, the proper way to do it involves pouring hot (not boiling) water over the leaves repeatedly until the flavor is gone. It is common for several friends to share the same gourd, pouring more hot water on the leaves for each person. You can add sugar, honey, citrus peel, maple syrup, or even whiskey to the gourd - but it's quite yummy plain. There are few clinical studies of mate, but apparently, this re-brewing process is very effective at extracting the xanthines from the leaves, so the actual dose from it is quite potent. Interestingly, the three xanthines present in mate have been shown to have a relaxing effect on smooth muscle tissue, yet a stimulating effect on myocardial (heart) tissue. It hasn't made my heart race, but my response to caffeine is somewhat dulled by my history of overuse and my gargantuan bulk.
The paraphernalia for this beverage is quite lovely as well. The gourds (called mate, in the indigenous language spoken in the Andes, which means "cup") range from plain and utilitarian to elaborate silver-chased affairs with engraved bombillas (that's the straw you sip it with) to match. Very pretty, and quite satisfying to the hand, too. Drinking it reminds me quite a bit of smoking a pipe, and some people claim that without sugar it tastes a bit like tobacco.
Ok, enough gushing. I'm going to go have a gourd now. Enjoy your Black Friday!
Oh, one last thing - new poll just went up.
Coffee, drip (61%)