That Jingle Java Jive
My late husband and I had been dating not quite three months, when one night he said he was going to make some coffee, then he turned and gave me the goofiest grin, “I got Jingle Java!”
It was early in my coffee evolution. I’d been raised in households that depended on cans of Folgers ground coffee, with jars of Taster’s Choice instant as a backup for those times when you didn’t want to percolate an entire pot. I had been introduced to Starbucks just a couple years earlier, since my place of employment was only a couple of blocks from the location of the original Starbucks store, and had quickly become addicted.
The Jingle Java blend he had picked up was a store brand of whole bean coffee, and it wasn’t bad. So the next time I saw Ray, I brought a bag of Starbuck’s holiday blend as a present. Unfortunately, it turned out Ray thought all but the very lightest Starbuck’s coffees were too darkly roasted, and didn’t much care for the holiday blend.
By the next Christmas season we were living together, and I wound up buying a small amount of Starbuck’s holiday blend for me, and a large bag of Jingle Java for Ray. Since I’d done that, Ray found another coffee company’s holiday blend for us to try (I don’t remember if it was SBC, Tulley’s, Peet’s, or someone else). I’ve never liked the notion of flavored coffee beans, so we stuck to the blends.
So a tradition started in which every December we’d get several different holiday blends of coffee and rotate through them throughout the month (and usually well into January). Which I kept doing after Ray died. Michael hates coffee, so it’s just me drinking it, now. Which means I’m often not finishing them up until mid-February.
Except this year, I’ve been having a hard time finding many varieties. Over the last couple of years, the variety of whole been coffees available in grocery stores has significantly decreased. I don’t know if it’s because after two decades the grind-your-own coffee craze is finally dying out, so only us hard cases are doing it, or if the economy just has people buying as cheaply as they can, or what. At most of the grocery stores I’ve been to, the only thing I’ve found is Peet’s Holiday Blend, already ground. Coffee starts oxidizing as soon as you grind it, which changes the taste, so I don’t like pre-ground coffee.
And the store brand Jingle Java we used to buy—nowhere in sight.
There are flavored coffees, but those usually just taste like someone poured nail polish remover into my cup. At least to me.
At one upscale market (that’s within walking distance of my house), I happened to find a display of one of the brands of coffee that I never see anywhere else, and they had a Holiday Blend, so I have two this year. I like both, there’s no reason that I need more than two to choose from–I don’t need any, obviously. But it’s something I liked doing. A silly tradition. An excuse to think about Ray and the many fun and silly things we’d do together every Christmas season.
I love new things. I just wish the universe would give me veto power over some changes, you know?