Coffee Break: Eight O’Clock Coffee

For this morning’s coffee break, let’s both go back to September 2007.

I’d been in Orlando for exactly a year. A number of seemingly unrelated events (me being bored, my Andy Garcia-lookalike manager not liking me, an ill-timed roll of the eyes) had conspired to promote me or, more accurately, banish me to the Housekeeping department of our 1,500-room hotel. I went from Front Desk where I wore a suit and heels, clicked buttons and smiled at guests, to running up and down halls, sweaty and stressed, crawling on my hands and knees through bathrooms left soiled by strangers, cleaning up “protein spills” (Mousespeak for vomit), dragging vacuums and cleaning carts and doing everything I could to make the 150 room checks I was supposed to get done in every eight hour day. (Impossible; it never happened.) At night, I’d just about manage to eat Quizzno’s for dinner before collapsing into bed, where I’d dream about the incessant beep beep of my Nextel radio – they’re sent from Satan, as far as I’m concerned – and dread the thought of having to do it all over again the next day.

But I had to do it all over again the next day, and that’s where my friend coffee came in.

Don’t get me wrong: prior to this, I was already a certifiable caffeine addict. But once I pulled on the god awful tan man’s shirt that represented us Housekeeping Inspectors, tied the laces of the ugly black trainers I’d bought in Wal-Mart for $7 and clipped that goddamn beeping radio to my belt, I was pretty much living on the stuff. It was the only way I could get through the day.

Soon I realized that as much as I loved them, I couldn’t afford to continue picking up a $4 venti latte (triple shot, extra hot, no foam) on the way to work every morning. The budget just wouldn’t allow. So one sunny morning – they were all sunny; this was Central Florida – I drove to Target and picked up a coffee machine for $9. Yes, $9 – not even twice the price of a venti latte. Next, I drove to Publix where I got a tube of disposable travel cups so drinking en route to work wouldn’t cause a burn injury, and the cheapest, most decent looking bag of ground coffee I could find. This turned out to be Eight O’Clock Coffee.

I just love the stuff. It’s such a nice coffee to drink (sometimes continuously!) throughout the day: medium, smooth and easy on the wallet. Problem is, they don’t sell it outside of the US, so I have to stock up on my non-too-frequent Florida visits, or annoy other people who are going there to bring some back for me.

Well, nothing’s perfect, I suppose…

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