Cajun Culture: Coffee Milk

I found out something interesting. It seems that Coffee Milk is the official beverage of Rhode Island, but that isn’t the kind of coffee milk I’m talking about today.

You can ask almost any person raised in south Louisiana and they know what coffee milk is. Coffee is a pretty big deal down here. Not in the Starbucks, Seattle kind of way either. Oh, sure there are some people here who will only drink gourmet coffee, but most households here only carry (and recognize) one brand of coffee: Community Coffee Dark Roast.

Community Coffee is a Louisiana brand coffee that serves 11 states in the south. They opened in 1919 and from there, they’ve become one of the biggest family owned coffee company in the U.S. Probably from their Louisiana customers alone.

I’m telling you…Nearly every business you go into, every home, every restaurant, has Community Coffee. It’s that big.

It’s so big, that parents get their kids started early developing an addiction to it. Yes, you heard me right: Parents give this to their children. Well, they did when I was little. You sort of went from formula to milk to coffee milk to coffee…it was great.

Coffee drinking is a favorite pastime for most people. You put the pot on, sit around the kitchen table and b.s. for hours. Naturally, if there are children in the vicinity, they want to be part of the adult conversation. The easiest way to get rid of them is to give them a cup of milk and a dash of coffee. Coffee milk.

When I was young, my dad used to stop at his mom’s house every morning on the way to work for a cup of coffee. Not because my mom didn’t have coffee at home, but because it was a tradition for them. He’d bring me along since he used to bring me to daycare and I’d sit at the table with my grandparents and dad drinking my coffee milk, saying “c’est bon” with every slurp of my drink.

I’m sure there are some people out there shuddering at the thought of a bunch of kids hyped up on coffee being let loose in the school yards, but I’m telling you…it was a great thing. Drinking coffee milk while your parents and relatives drank their regular coffee was like a sense of well…community. You belonged.  You were drinking coffee! Sort of. But it always had to be Community Coffee. And I didn’t realize how much I rely on this stuff until this morning. We’d run out of coffee and horror of horrors, the only thing we had was some decaf someone had given us. *shudder* What’s the point of decaf coffee anyway? It isn’t like it tastes just like regular coffee and it serves no purpose! *sigh*

I’m thinking about smuggling some in my bags when I go to New York. That stuff in the hotel last year in Orlando was okay, but it wasn’t as good as my Community Coffee, which I dearly missed when I was gone. So, anyone who wants a cup of good south Louisiana coffee, y’all head on to my room, okay?

19 Comments

Filed under Family

19 responses to “Cajun Culture: Coffee Milk

  1. Why would you have to “smuggle” in your coffee? Is there something other than coffee in your coffee? Hmmm, makes me wonder!!

    • *snicker* I wouldn’t want to hurt the hotel people’s feelings! I mean, they probably have some gourmet stuff in the rooms and here I am showing up with homemade (sort of) coffee, lol

  2. KAK

    Okay, I admit, that was so not where I thought the story of “Coffee Milk” was headed. I like your version much better.

  3. Jillian

    We have the community coffee here, too.

  4. Aleece

    Another memory of early-morning coffee-milk drinking with my grandparents was the conversation in Cajun French, then hearing your name thrown in there and realizing you were either in trouble or doing something cute.

    • Of course! You had no idea what was being said, only that it was about you. That’s when I’d listen to their tone of voice and watch their hands to try to figure out what they were saying. LOL

  5. I’m drinking a cup this morning because I remembered my great grandmother in Oberlin LA making it for me when I was young and was craving some. It’s just like you said it was the tradition. All the older ladies came over to “drink coffee” or gossip. It was wonderful and so was my cup of coffee milk this morning. Glad I stumbled onto this write up. Thanks. Beth.

  6. Reblogged this on YouNanaBread and commented:
    I was thinking about my Maw maw Aggie this morning and made me some coffee milk and found this lovely article.

  7. Interesting post. Thanks.

    Read and follow my blog here:
    http://annblantonwriter.wordpress.com/

  8. GeezeLouise

    I was raised south of Dallas but I still remember my Paw Paw (who lived in Port Arthur by way of New Iberia) fixing me my first bottle of coffee milk and how delicious that first gulp was. I think my parents hated him for that because I’m pretty sure I insisted on drinking coffee in my milk every morning after that until my daddy put his foot down.

  9. Deborah

    My kids had a worn path from our house to MoMo’s back door for coffee milk😉 Since my oldest could walk that diaper sagging was out the back door to MoMo’s for coffee milk in his bottle💕 Those were the days. 41, 39, and 37 today still drink coffee milk every morning.

  10. C K

    I used to drink Community Coffee until they priced it too high for me. I switched to Rouses coffee with chicory. It males a better coffee for me and a lot cheaper

  11. Lea

    My MIL was French so our 4 kids grew up on coffee milk, coffee, milk and a little sugar. After they became adults only 2 of them drank coffee. I taught school and a mother sent me a note to say John didn’t have his meds for ADHD b/ she didn’t have the money til the next day. She asked me if I could fix him some coffee milk after lunch and that would help. So John and I had our coffee after lunch. The caffeine has the opposite effect on some folks.

  12. Derla Fontenot Lee

    My grandparents fixed it for their kids. My mother fixed it for 4 of us kids. I fixed it for my 4 kids. They fix it for my grands kids and those with my great grandkids fix it for theirs. It’s so deeply associated with Cajuns in Louisiana. And only with Community Coffee!!!

  13. Charles Riddle

    Don’t forget that the sugar content was high also. Pour coffee into a 12 ounce glass about three inches high, then sugar covering about 1/4th of an inch, then milk (whole) up to about an inch or two from the top. That is what i remember, ….and slurping the last part of the sugar from the bottom of the cup. You could drink it, not just sip it. Oh my, what memories.

  14. Billie Jo Sonnier

    Truer words were never spoken

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