Coffee…The Magic Elixir

Back in the day, wizards and witches were always big on making elixers that people could drink and something either amazing or deadly would happen to them.

Today, the only magic elixir I know of is coffee. I suppose you could also include tea, but I find that there’s something about coffee that feels sort of magical.

Maybe it’s because a lot of us drink our first coffee of the day pretty much right after we get out of bed. The caffeine in it jump-starts our batteries and gets us ready to face whatever is coming at us on that day.

Pods or No Pods

But it’s not just the caffeine that people like about coffee. It’s the whole idea of it. Whenever I make a cup of coffee in my Keurig coffeemaker, I make it from a container of ground coffee. I have tried the little pods that come with coffee already in them but the amount of work you have to do to recycle them responsibly seems like more trouble than its worth. So I just avoid buying pods altogether.

My sister, who comes regularly for movies and sleepovers,  isn’t crazy about my coffee. She doesn’t think it is strong enough. So she brings her own pods. I don’t know if she recycles them. I’ve never asked.

I’m not what you would call a big coffee consumer. I might have two cups on certain days. But mostly I just have one with my bagel in the morning. I’m not sure it gets me off to a rip-roaring start, but it’s pleasant enough and has probably become a habit.

Brands Up The Wazoo

When it comes to coffee, there is no shortage of choice. I could go to a supermarket and stare at the coffee aisle for about 10 minutes, just taking it all in.

There are whole beans for the purists who like a little ungodly grinder noise in their lives. There is a lot of coffee that has been designed to work with drip filters and other types of coffee machines. I have used a drip filter and probably still would if my sister hadn’t given me a Keurig for a housewarming gift 4 years ago, but I digress.  Then there are a whole host of instant coffees, many of which come in overly sweet flavours and really shouldn’t count as coffee, but do.

I always have a small container of instant coffee around, just in case the Keurig blows a gasket. But no instant that I have ever tried really comes close to brewing your own.

The Journey To Coffee Discovery

On my quest to find the right kind of coffee for myself I have been all over the coffee map. I have tried the Italian coffees, which are more like expressos and cappuccinos. I have tried the overpriced coffees like Kicking Horse. I have tried the mainline brand like Maxwell House and Folgers. I have tried McDonald’s, Tim Horton’s, and Starbucks store coffees. And I have tried all the house brands you can imagine.

What all this experimentation has taught me is that I come out liking a medium roast, Central American style coffee. This is good for me because my local Metro store has a house brand, Irresistables, which has several different Central American coffees. So I can always get what I’m looking for. And because they are house brands, they don’t cost me an arm and a leg.

Ethics & Beans

Now there has been a lot of talk lately about the ethics of the coffee business. There’s even a brand of coffee called The Ethical Bean.

I suppose this means that they have paid a fair price for their coffee and they want you to know that. They even put a QR code on their bags of coffee so you can trace the origin of the coffee you are drinking. To me that sounds like a responsible thing to do, but it seems like a lot of work. I’d rather just believe them.

The coffee I buy doesn’t have any ethical QR code on the package. What I would be happier with is a coffee that I like that came in a biodegradable bag.  I suppose the best way to ensure that I am being a good citizen in that regard would be to buy a grinder and then buy my coffee in bean form at Bulk Barn.

But that would make me a purist and while I like my coffee in the morning and maybe once again later in the day, I’m just not in love with it the way a purist obviously is. Last thing I want to do is it be the guy who lowers the purist standard.

Condiments Galore

Now that I have found my coffee and found the best way for me to enjoy it, I’m quite content to just stay there and stop experimenting.

Although I did do a bit of experimenting with different coffee flavoring that makes your coffee taste like some sort of warm Amaretto type drink. I have tried various degrees of sugar and sweetener, even honey, but have finally settled on no sweetener and just a dash of 5% coffee cream, which gives the coffee a bit more thickness but doesn’t alter the actual coffee taste.

If you are a coffee drinker, you have probably gone through all this, and are at peace with your coffee de jour selection. At least that’s the hope because I want everybody to be as happy as they can these days. And for a lot of us, a good cup of coffee is a small but significant part of that.


Jim Murray
Jim Murray
I have been a writer since the age of 14. I started writing short stories and poetry. From there I graduated to writing lyrics for various bands and composers and feature-length screenplays, two of which have been produced. Early on in my writing career, I discovered advertising. While the other media have drifted in and out, communications writing and art direction have been the constant through a 20-year career senior positions in Canadian and multi-national agencies and a second career, which began in 1989, (Onwords & Upwords Inc), as a strategic and creative resource to direct clients, design companies, marketing consultants and boutique agencies. Early in 2020, I closed Onwords & Upwords and opened MurMarketing which is a freelance strategic development/copywriting/art direction service for businesses working to make a positive difference in the world. I currently write long format blogs in 4 different streams, encompassing, entertainment, marketing, and communications, life in general, and the renewable energy and recycling industries. These are currently published on I have, over the years, created more than 1500 blog posts. I live with my wife Heather in the beautiful Niagara Region of southern Ontario, after migrating from Toronto, where I spent most of my adult life. I am currently recovering from spinal surgery and learning to walk again.

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