James Rosen, Fox News’ chief Washington correspondent
My Morning Cup features the coffee rituals that most of us have. People from all walks of life — from US senators to ballplayers, subway drivers to college professors — have submitted entries that will run each day.
Here, we reached James Rosen by email.
James Rosen, eternal freshman
Fox News’ chief Washington correspondent
Originally from Staten Island, NY; Washington, D.C., for the last 16 years
Describe your coffee routine. Where do you frequent, what do you like? Make or buy? If make, what coffee do you use and how do you make it?
I usually make coffee at home. We buy the Dunkin’ Donuts Original Blend via Peapod. Where possible, using our Hamilton Beach Brew Station machine, I prepare the coffee the night before and set the timer for automatic brewing at 7 a.m. the following morning. If I should happen to get up earlier than 7 a.m., which I do with some frequency because the predawn hours represent the only time when I can read, write, think or accomplish anything at all in my house without my two beloved sons clamoring for my attention, I start the brewing then. The volume of ground coffee I place into the paper filter is gauged by eyeball; no demeaning plastic scoopers here.
Our coffeemaker is a carafe-less model with a little bar that one nudges with one’s cup – even while the brewing is still underway, if one so desires (though I generally do not) – in order to dispense the blessed java. I pour skim milk first, filling the cup about a third of the way up, then the coffee, until the ensuing admixture reaches a suitably caramel-ish hue. While my wife uses attractively designed coffee mugs, classy and adult-like, I only use the absurd ones I have amassed through gifts or via eBay, segregated onto a different shelf. Mostly these are mugs featuring classic superhero images drawn by the legendary Neal Adams (@nealadamsdotcom), one of my all-time idols from childhood, the greatest comic-art illustrator of the twentieth century. The accompanying photo of me in our kitchen, in Glover Park, shows me holding a mug adorned with the illustration that Neal did for a now-scarce volume entitled “Secret Origins of the Super DC Heroes” (1976). I also have a 1971 DC-issued mug that features the iconic image of Superman that Neal drew for the cover of Superman # 252. There are a few others, with Superman, Batman and Green Lantern, all Neal specialties. If there were more, I’d buy them. Frankly, I don’t know why Marvel and DC don’t make it possible, for the requisite fee, to choose any image from any cover in history and have a coffee mug emblazoned with the selected image shipped directly to one’s door…I also have a slightly larger mug I use at least once a week that I received at the celebration of Richard Nixon’s centenary that was thrown at the Mayflower Hotel in January 2013, and which features, on one side, a replica of RN’s signature, and, on the other, the not-oft-posed question WHAT WOULD NIXON DO? I’m this close to buying a few new ones, maybe with some kind of mid-era Beatles or “Dark Side of the Moon” motif; if there is a Tom Wolfe or William F. Buckley or Hunter S. Thompson mug anyone knows about, I’m in the market. As you can see, in addition to being a cable news correspondent and Twitter addict who lives very much in the here-and-now, I also maintain a large and splendidly-appointed residence in The Past. Anyway, the consumption of coffee helps me get ready for the day, which commences with the preparation of breakfast for the boys and the ceaseless prodding of them to get dressed and to brush their teeth before they head for school.
If buy, where? What time? Do baristas know you? What’s your order? How do you take it (milk, sugar)? Iced or hot?
Even after two cups downed at home, I will sometimes, on my way into work, purchase another large cup – iced coffee in the hot months – at Sims Card and Gift, the ever-convenient convenience store found on the first floor of the Capitol Hill building in which the Fox News Washington bureau is also located. The baristas know me and their loathing is an open secret. Once again, only skim milk is added.
Alone or with company? Where do you drink it? Seated or on the go?
Except for weekends, when my wife joins me, coffee consumption is a solitary pursuit. Never on the go. I take the bus and metro to get to work, and find the transportation of hot liquids on public transportation almost invariably a losing proposition.
Any simultaneous non-caffeinated stimulation? (newspaper, radio, cigarettes, etc.)
I play classical baroque in the kitchen on our Sonos system, and more of it on Pandora at my desk – even as I type this – because I find it calming and uplifting. The concertos and sonatas enable me to carry on with the delusion that I lead an ennobled existence of some kind – chamber music for the king! – as opposed to the Worker Bee existence I know I actually lead.
How many more cups the rest of the day? What time will you drink your last cup?
Almost never do I drink coffee beyond the morning. However: I am one of those people who, even if he consumes coffee at the close of an inebriating dinner, can still pass right out without any problems. Coffee never seems to keep me up at night, regardless of when I drink it. I just don’t have a taste, or yen, for it beyond the morning.
What’s your stance on decaf?
A scourge to be exterminated from the earth, utilizing the most modern industrialized means and without pity or remorse. #justwar
When and why did you start drinking coffee?
I did not have a full cup of coffee until I was well into my thirties. I was freezing my face off at a George W. Bush re-election campaign event in St. Cloud, Minn., and succumbed to the dreadful brew on offer solely to keep warm. From there, the process of caffeine addiction was swift and irreversible. Note: I read recently of a survey that found journalism to be the most caffeine-addicted profession, followed by law enforcement. This suggests: a) I am not alone; and b) a plausible explanation, to wit, that journalists drink so much coffee precisely because they are so frequently required, as a professional obligation, to keep up with the cops.
Describe the most memorable cup of coffee you’ve ever had.
This latte, purchased and consumed this past spring at Nice Matin, the French bistro located next to the Lucerne Hotel in Manhattan, comes to mind, if only because it was so beautiful I felt compelled to photograph it.
Happy caffeination, Coffee Nation!