When my husband and I were first married, Kevin was an avid coffee drinker. He drank eight pots of black, caffeinated coffee a day. Yes, that is eight pots, not eight cups. I drank zero cups, unless the weather was chilly to the bone or sleep had been evasive. To me, the smell of fresh coffee beans was intoxicating but the taste of brewed coffee was typically revolting.

Eighteen years later, things have changed. Adults, teenagers and children are all drinking coffee. The world is on a crazy sleepless course fueled in part by caffeine. Scientists have discovered that even the stars in the sky are fueled by coffee (ha,ha). Coffee shops selling all types of cold and hot coffee litter the landscape; Starbucks® launched a highly successful marketing campaign and opened thousands of stores. Suddenly, a coffee shop was THE place to be found. Sonic® Drive-ins now sell iced coffees. Even McDonalds® began grinding fresh beans for specialty hot or cold coffees. Things have changed in our house also. Kevin drinks mostly naturally decaffeinated coffee and I drink coffee quite occasionally. In 1995, we bought a industrial strength blender and created soups, juices, peanut butter and, of course, specialty coffees. We both delight in specialty coffee drinks and I will sometimes drink black coffee (even though I think sometimes that brewed coffee smells slightly like a skunk).

Coffee choices have grown exponentially. No longer is the choice only the traditional; "Cream and Sugar?". Now you can choose from Frappuccino®s, lattes, hot or iced cappuccinos, espresso, cold cafe au laits, flavored coffees, natural coffees, fresh ground coffee and even freshly roasted coffee. Would you like a breakfast blend, a dark roast blend or a Hawaiian or African blend? Would you like steamed milk, milk, frothed milk or whipped cream? It seems that coffee has grown its own culture and language, full of buzz words with "ino" endings.

An increase in price has marched hand-in-hand with the increase in choices. After all, a fifty cent cup of coffee will not pay the rent, payroll and matching FICA. I read that over 20 million people a day purchase specialty coffees. If you are one of the many that hug a coffee cup but the price is crimping your wallet, maybe you would like to try a few of the following simple recipes.

Easy Coffee Joy

Ice Cream Fudge Rippleice cream in mugs copyright April CampbellCoffee Recipe copyright April CampbellA recipe this simple is a joy to create. The hardest part is selecting mugs that can handle both freezing ice cream and steaming coffee.Spoon ice cream directly into cups, until cups are almost half full. (Be sure the ice cream is free of nuts or other chunky items.)Pour in your favorite hot coffee and let the flavors meld. I like chunks of cold ice cream in my coffee while my husband likes to stir to melt the chunks. Enjoy!

Easy Coffee Joy II

Ice Cream Dulce de Leche copyright April CampbellIce Cream Dulce de Leche copyright April CampbellIce Cream Dulce de Leche copyright April CampbellHere is a variation of the above recipe. (The above pictured ice cream is full of swirls of caramel.)Spoon your favorite ice cream into the cups. Pour in the coffee. Add 1 teaspoon of caramel ice cream topping and stir.Sprinkle dried cinnamon or ginger on top of the whipped cream. Enjoy your wonderful treat.

Simple Basic Fun Coffee

Simply Basic Fun coffee copyright April Campbell Simply Basic Fun coffee copyright April Campbell Simply Basic Fun coffee copyright April Campbell Simply basic: Stir about 3 tablespoons chocolate syrup into a mug of dark black rich coffee.Steam 1/8 cup of milk over low heat in a pan on the stove. Pour the hot milk into the coffee and top with whipped cream.Sprinkle Baking Chocolate on top. Decorate with slices of strawberries from your garden. Enjoy.

Coffee GT Tiger

Coffee GT Tiger Copyright April CampbellCoffee GT Tiger Copyright April CampbellCoffee GT Tiger Copyright April CampbellSteep 1 green tea bag in very hot coffee. Add 1/16 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/16 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon sugar and 1/8 teaspoon molasses. Stir. Use a veggie peeler to shave thin curls of chocolate from a special dark chocolate bar. Toss 3 or 4 curls of chocolate into the hot coffee.Add whipped cream, hot half and half or steamed milk. Garnish with chocolate curls.

O'Campbell's Favorite

O'Campbell's Favorite Coffee copyright April CampbellO'Campbell's Favorite Coffee copyright April CampbellO'Campbell's Favorite Coffee copyright April CampbellI created this recipe December 2, 1995 and it has become one of our favorites. We use Peppermint OIL from the health food store. Be very careful using this oil. Do not allow pets to come in contact with even a drop. We only use 1 to 2 TINY drops of this oil for one recipe.For 2 large cups of coffee, poor 1 cup very strong, very hot coffee in a blender. Add 2 teaspoons dry cocoa powder, 1 or 2 DROPS 100% pure food grade peppermint oil, 1 cup lowfat milk and 3 teaspoons sugar. Blend until foamy. (We use a powerful industrial strength blender and the coffee retains its heat. You may want to warm the milk slightly before adding to the mixture.)Top with whipped cream. Garnish with decorative toppings. The topping above is crumbled mint leaves and organic, pesticide free dried rose petals. The herbs are from a friend's garden and the rose petals are from my mom's garden.

I hope that you have enjoyed these recipes. Please comment if you have any favorite and easy coffee recipes or if you just want to talk about coffee. What do you use from your garden to create a great cup of coffee? Do you like your coffee leaded or unleaded? Do you love the smell of coffee but hate the taste? Are you trying to stop the coffee habit? Have you read that the proverbial "they" have now declared that some coffee is healthy?

As a side note, I have a wonderful chocolate cake recipe that requires coffee. The recipe was created by Hershey's kitchens sometime in the 1980s or earlier. Since it belongs to Hershey, it cannot be posted here. The cake (called Black Magic Cake) is so moist and delicious that people all over internet claim the recipe as their own.

September 29 is Coffee Day! At Dave's Garden, we are observing the occasion with a week's worth of coffee-themed articles. From growing coffee to drinking coffee to using coffee in your garden, join us each day to read something different about the beverage that says "Good morning!" to so many of us.

Not a coffee drinker? We didn't leave you out. Look for articles on chicory and biscotti.

Happy Coffee Day!

(With special thanks to Dave's Garden's own Critterologist for the Coffee Day paragraph, Melody for the specialized thumbnails that she created for the Coffee articles and Mrs_Ed for the text box below.)

Be sure and read the other articles leading up to National Coffee Day, September 29.

The Truth about Chicory by Sharon Brown

NOTE: The following articles may only be read ON or AFTER their publish date this week, 2008. Believe me, they are worth the wait. I hope you enjoy them all.

Bird Lovers, Wake Up and Smell the Shade Coffee!By Marna Towne (Mrs_Ed)

Coffee tasting on the Big Island of Hawaii by Jill M. Nicolaus

Happy, Hunting Grounds by Jeremy Wayne Lucas

Cowboy coffee: Keeping it real by Summer Walla

And on National Coffee Day — Diana Wind brings us Diana's Anise Biscotti