Coffee, Tea, or Soda Pop?

I've never been a coffee drinker.  About the only way I can really stand it is by adding a LOT of creamer and sugar, and I figured if I have to do that to make it drinkable, then I'm not really drinking coffee.  Of course, cappuccino and some other modern coffee-based drinks do have a lot of sugar and flavoring, so I'm usually okay with those, although I still haven't made them a regular habit.

Instead I'm a big iced tea drinker.  My mother always had us drink iced tea at meals when I was growing up, and so that habit really stuck with me.  But I prefer iced tea, as I've never been much of a fan of hot tea. Naturally, as I got older, I had to learn how to make my own iced tea. My mother would put the tea-bags in the pitcher, add hot water, and let them brew that way, before adding more water to fill up the pitcher.  I had trouble doing it her way, and ended up breaking a few glass pitchers.

Instead, I developed the habit of using a 1-quart pot to heat the water, and then when the water starts boiling, I turned off the heat and added the tea bags to the pot.  Then I let it sit.  For a long time, until the liquid has cooled.  Only then do I half-fill a pitcher with water, then add the brewed tea, and then add more water to top off the pitcher.  Of course, I put sugar in first, and then the water, then tea.  In that sense, at least, I'm a Southern boy--gotta have my sweet tea!  And the way I make it, it's pretty strong.

I generally use Cain's, a brand produced here in Oklahoma. I've used other brands, but there really does seem to be a difference, even though I know they all use orange or orange pekoe tea (the common "black tea"). Not only does Cain's taste better to me, it's also generally cheaper than the other brands.

Of course, as a fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation, I was curious about how Earl Grey tea tasted.  Earl Grey is basically just black tea with oil of bergamot added to it for a citrus-y flavor.  Again, I wasn't too fond of hot tea, but I found out that Earl Grey makes an excellent iced tea!  Of course, they don't make quart-sized bags of Earl Grey tea, only those small, one-cup bags.  You can use 5 or 6 of the small bags to make up a two-quart pitcher of Earl Grey tea, but I came up with a more cost-effective solution.  I'll use 2 quart-size bags of my regular Cain's tea, and I'll add two of the small bags of the Earl Grey tea.  Not only does this give it that Earl Grey flavor, but it also makes the tea a little stronger, which is fine by me. The tea you can get at restaurants just can't compare to what I make at home.

Soda pop, on the other hand, is a different issue. Of course, as a kid, I really liked the sweet stuff, even if we had tea at dinner.  No doubt soda pop contributed greatly to my dental problems, especially when you consider that I usually got free soda pop when I worked at fast food places in my younger days.  I have since given up drinking soda pop on a regular basis, but the damage is already done.

For my part of the Cola War debate, I preferred Coca-Cola to Pepsi.  Better than Coke, though, is Royal Crown Cola (RC), which I like best of all.  When we were teens, my sister and I did our own blind taste test, and both agreed that, among Pepsi, Coke, RC, and Jolt Cola, RC was the best-tasting. As an adult, though, I've found that I usually prefer a bit more sophisticated flavor, so now, when I do drink soda pop, I'll usually go for Dr. Pepper, if it's available.

I keep referring to them as "soda pop" so that most people will know what I'm talking about.  Personally, I grew up thinking of them as "soft drinks", not as soda, pop, or soda pop. However, most people aren't really familiar with the term 'soft drink'.  Here's an interesting link on the Great Soda vs. Pop controversy.  Isn't that an impressive looking map?  ;-)

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