Let's level the playing field. Two enjoyable substances... one with a sometimes badboy reputation and the other embraced as a more accepted recreational drug. But what if you consumed just one glass of each, and compared the results. Which one would win for packing the most punch and modifying the most behavior?
I could never do this objectively for say...soup against chocolate, or books against movies, because fiction and broth based food are actual addictions of mine, and it wouldn't be a fair fight. But coffee and wine share equal positions in my brain, both of them are nice on occasion, taste yummy, and come with the warm fuzzies of hanging out and talking to friends about mice and men. Nothing is better than sitting out on the back porch on a summer evening, with a glass of port and good company... unless it's cozying a cup of coffee and laughing until you cry with your best friend.
So in one corner we have a glass of Cycles Gladiator Cabernet Sauvignon, my personal favorite. Smooth and strong. It tastes like raspberry and chocolate with a bit of spiciness thrown in.
And in the other corner we have a cup of freshly ground, freshly brewed, Sulawesi grown FTO coffee. The only way it could get better is if it were also freshly roasted, and the only way to drink it is dark and black. Yum.
(note: these were not consumed on the same day in an effort to be completely fair)
The wine starts out ahead. Less time dipping your tongue delicately into it and seeing if it's cool enough to drink. I drink my wine slowly, trying to pretend I'm an actual connoisseur. Despite my inability to really distinguish the finer nuances, I am still blown away by the flavors. Wowser.
I know even less about coffee than I do wine, but you don't have to be expert to realize that a good roast brewed properly, tastes exactly like coffee smells. I used to be so disappointed by coffee-- slapped in the tastebuds by bitter, acidic poison that tasted like someone boiled a bunch of nails with tree bark. But this stuff is different, it's like a winning basketball team with no over-achieving stars. Every nutty, custard, molasses flavor is doing its job, and doing it well.
Ten minutes after drinking the wine I'm still sitting at the dinner table, smiling at the antics of my children, talking to my husband, and thinking how lucky I am. For blogging purposes I stop and carefully examine my mind. Do I feel affected at all? Am I buzzed? Nope and nope. Unfortunately, one glass of wine just doesn't pack enough alcohol to do much for me, especially when it's consumed slowly and with food. But then again, after a day of dumped cornflakes, and an egg fight that resulted in a catastrophic looking house, maybe the wine did help me wind down and look more benevolently back on my day.
Ten minutes after drinking the coffee, I have butterflies in my stomach. Why? I don't know, but suddenly I can think of at least 30 things I need to do, and my brain feels like an old typewriter going back and forth. It didn't used to be this way, in college I could sleep through 5 cups of coffee like a baby... except that babies don't sleep through coffee at all, which is why I had to give it up when I had kids. Now, one cup of coffee at four in the afternoon and I'm cleaning the house, writing pages and pages of to do lists, and wringing my hands over the state of the toilet... all while blasting The Scarlet Pimpernel over the speakers and wearing socks, so I can run and slide down the hallway, skidding around corners like a looney toons character. The phone rings and I talk to my brother, chattering like Chip and Dale. I'm not even sure it's intelligible and I certainly don't let him get a word in edgewise.
At three am in the morning after I've mentally written three novels, solved the oil spill in the Gulf and am trying to figure out if my husband's deep breathing can be translated into morse code... I am forced to admit that coffee is the clear winner. Kicked the butt of that poor glass of wine. For taste and experience they are certainly tied, but for sheer ability to make me do stuff I would otherwise not do, I have to award the gold medal to coffee. The most one glass of wine can do is make me sleepy... which wouldn't be all that bad right now.