Coffee in Atlantic City

by Ryan J
(Madison, Indiana)

In the days before Starbucks, when dinosaurs walked the earth, I had the most memorable cup of coffee I had ever had before or since that moment. I am not a coffee connoisseur and often drink day old coffee left in the pot. However, I do know great when I taste it and this was even better than great. It was magnificent.

I was meeting friends in Atlantic City. They were on a road trip traveling up the east coast from Florida and I hopped on one plane, then another, then another and finally the last plane to take me to Atlantic City. It was apparent that there was no single flight from the Midwest to this dynamic gambling destination.

The others met me at the airport and we immediately checked into the hotel. After 12 hours of journey in what should have taken 2 hours, I wanted a cup of coffee. No wait, I NEEDED a cup of coffee. We went to a small café in the hotel and everyone ordered drinks. Only three in the crowd were coffee lovers and others ordered soft drinks.

I allowed the coffee to cool a bit before I sipped. The first sip was a coffee aphrodisiac. I wanted and needed more. It was a pure coffee flavor I had never tasted previously or since. I wasn't certain whether it was my parched throat, the long distance or the true flavor of the coffee that made this such an experience and far more than just another cup of java. I wasn't alone. The other two coffee drinkers also had that same look of lust on their face as they lifted the cup to their mouth. The second and third cup revealed the same delicious flavor.

I had more coffee each day we stayed. They all were as wonderful as the first. The other coffee drinkers and I raved so much about the flavor, the non-coffee addicts had to try a cup and they too were sold on it. That particular brand of coffee was a staple in casinos in Atlantic City in those days but I failed to purchase any for home. They sold it in gift shops in bean form in a red and green plaid bag. Being from fugal Midwest stock and a bit naïve about coffee, I didn't realize that they ground it for you if you so desired. In those days, no one with a middle class budget owned their own bean grinder, so I never purchased a bag for home and to this day, can't remember the name of that magnificent brew.

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