Welcome Guest Author Alex Erickson

Welcome author Alex Erickson, who is here to celebrate the tenth book in his Bookstore Cafe Mystery series, Death by Spiced Chai, which was released by Kensington on October 25th.

Alex writes here about his relationship with coffee, something I have a bit of an interest in myself.

Take it away, Alex!

My Coffee Journey

Coffee and I were not always friends. In fact, I was perfectly content without it. “It’s just dirty water.” I’d said it countless times in my youth. If I wanted something hot to drink, hot chocolate worked just fine.

But then, ever so slowly, my opinion changed.

Back when I was in college, I worked at an Auntie Anne’s in the local mall. I often opened the store, and when I did, I had to choose the coffee for the day. One regular. One decaf. One flavored. It was the flavored one that got me.

I’m not sure how it started. I suppose I was curious. Every time I opened, I made sure the flavored coffee was hazelnut. I couldn’t drink regular, unflavored coffee, nor could I stand French vanilla or any of the other options. Yet, for reasons I have never been able to fathom, hazelnut didn’t have that same “blech” effect on me. I’d make it, and have a small cup in the morning, not because I needed it, but because it was there.

I’ve never needed coffee to stay awake—or wake myself up. Sleep and I don’t get along as it is, so who needs a caffeine jolt when you’re going to be awake anyway?

Yet, sometime after the “hazelnut experiment,” I found myself wanting the comfort of a hot cup of coffee. It was a slow process. I’d go weeks without a coffee. And when I did get one, it might be a latte or cappuccino, something purchased while on the road. Then, ever so slowly, it started to become a habit, and now, I have my morning cup and one evening cup a day.

And still, I don’t feel as if I’m addicted. I have no problem skipping a morning jolt. I don’t need the caffeine to wake up. I don’t get a headache or turn grouchy if I miss out. But there is a comfort to pouring that first cup and savoring its heat that other drinks just can’t match. Even hot tea can’t compare—and I’ve tried.

In the Bookstore Café mystery series, Krissy likes her coffee black with a cookie floating inside it. I’ve been asked if I’ve ever tried it and the answer is a resounding, “No!” I couldn’t imagine drinking anything with chunks floating in it. That includes pulpy orange juice, fruit smoothies, and anything with crushed ice. I don’t want to have to chew my drinks. That’s just . . . ugh!

For my coffee, all I want is a plain coffee—no flavored beans, and that includes the tried and true hazelnut—with pure cane sugar (only a little. I don’t like overly sweet) and hazelnut creamer. Once again, not too much or else I can’t drink it. And, of course, I prefer to grind my own beans.

That’s it. Every now and again, I might have a caramel macchiato from a coffee shop, but we’re talking once every two or three months. And it’s usually when I’m going on a long trip and I’d much rather have a coffee drink than a soda.

Maybe it’s strange that I write about a bookstore café without being a coffee connoisseur or addict.

But I’m going to keep doing it anyway!

Readers: What about you? Do you prefer that morning jolt? Or can you skip coffee for days—maybe weeks—at a time? What about flavors? Take it black and bitter? Or do you prefer your coffee with so much sugar and creamer, it qualifies as candy?

About Death by Spiced Chai

In a small town like Pine Hills, reputation counts for a lot. And for reasons that Krissy Hancock can’t figure out, someone is trashing hers. Cockroaches in the bookstore’s coffee, spiteful reviews, vandalism—Krissy is being framed for every bit of bad news around. Her boyfriend, local cop Paul Dalton, is on the case, but before they can source the saboteur, Krissy is in the frame for murder, too.
The murder weapon was a teapot full of Krissy’s favorite spiced chai, and all the local gossips are spilling the tea about her supposed involvement. But the real culprit has a grudge that’s been simmering for years. And unless Krissy can uncover the truth before the killer’s rage boils over again, it won’t just be her business in hot water—her life will be on the line too . . .

About Alex Erickson

Alex Erickson is the author of the Bookstore Café and Furever Pets mysteries. His latest book is Death by Spiced Chai. He lives in Ohio with his wife, son, and trio of cats. You can find
him online at https://alexericksonbooks.com/

20 Thoughts

  1. Welcome back to the blog, Alex, and congrats on keeping the series going! I like my dark, dark roast in the morning with a little milk. Two cups only and never at other times during the day. After an elegant restaurant dinner, I like an espresso with lots of sugar, but only if they have decaf.

    1. Thanks! I do tend to lean toward the dark roasts versus the light. Timing is everything with coffee, in my opinion. I do the one morning, one night thing religiously. For the comfort!

  2. I love coffee! Like Edith, dark roast, but no creamer or sugar. I don’t care for flavored coffees. My parents were tea drinkers so I grew up with that and still drink tea, too.

  3. Ok, don’t boo me, but I don’t like coffee at all. I don’t even like the smell of it. I’ll take my Diet Pepsi morning, noon and night please. 🙂

    LOVE the cover on “Death by Spiced Chai” and can’t wait for the opportunity to read it.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  4. Welcome and congratulations on the new book! I don’t drink coffee. When I was in second grade I tried a drink of my mom’s. It was the bottom of the cup, the last of the pot, and awful. I do like chai but I don’t drink it very often.

  5. I’m not a coffee drinker, never like the smell or taste of it, and I don’t like Chai either. Tea, hot chocolate, even hot spiced apple cider in the winter, but never coffee. My son & daughter-in-law, however, love their coffee. Before bed they grind some beans & set up the coffee maker for the morning.

    I love your book cover. My cat is sitting next to me right now purring loudly, any book cover that includes a cat appeals to me!

  6. I am stil not a coffee lover. The smell is tantalizing, but the taste just can’t measure up. Team Tea all the way.

    I, too, write a character who is finicky about his coffee. 🙂

  7. I don’t drink coffee. I come by that honestly – my sister-in-law is the only one in my family who likes it. I’ve tried it a few times as an adult, and a sip is about all I can take. I don’t care how much you try to disguise the taste with flavored coffee or milk and sugar, it still tastes bad.

    Fortunately, I love the smell of coffee because I had some roommates who drank it and therefore brewed it over the years.

  8. Coffee mainliner here! Started young drinking cafe au lait at breakfast in grade school and progressed to my current high test concoctions. Cream for me, no sugar, and never any flavoring. My favorites come from the Carrabassett Coffee Company in Maine and Baby’s Coffee in Key West.

  9. Welcome and congratulations on the new book! I absolutely love your books!! Coffee every morning for me! Can’t live with it!

  10. I love the cover. I do not drink coffee. I am an iced tea drinker. I have to have my iced tea in the morning after my water. I drink Lipton black tea. Thank you so much for sharing. God bless you.

  11. I have never been a coffee drinker though I make it every day for Hubby Dearest! Funny, my father never liked coffee, but he made it for my mother every day! Like father, like daughter, I guess. I have tried it and it just takes like burnt water. I like OJ with some pulp and prosecco–a mimosa for the mornings and i do like my Coca Colas and sometimes Hot Oolong tea or hot chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallows. So, I do get my caffeine. I do like your cover a lot.

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