"I rarely caffeinate myself (which is weird if you know how little I
sleep), but my favorite beverage that has caffeine in it is milk tea.
...Actually, it's my favorite beverage that isn't water. Can't say I
drink it for the caffeine, though; I just like the taste of sweet
tea-flavored milk."—Robyn Lee
"Don't need the tapioca bubbles (they just get in the way). Just love that sweet, strong milky tea from one of any of Chinatown's bakeries, which are just a dangerous few steps from the office."——Leandra Palermo
Cold-Brew Coffee with a Splash of Milk
"Tis the season for cold-brews. Ask me in November, and I'll have a completely different answer (probably hot tea). But I'm all about the refreshing, mellow cold-brews this time of year, which are incredibly easy, even for lazy people, to make at home. My mason jar method goes like this: 2 cups of water, stir in 1/2 cup of ground coffee, let sit in jar for 12 hours. Once it's had time to brew-ify at room temperature, I strain it in the French press, pour it back into the jar, and keep it cool in the fridge. Great over big ice cubes with a splash of milk.
But, that's if I have my act together and actually remember to cold-brew. There are plenty of mornings when I just buy an iced coffee from wherever's nearby, or if I can find them, Stumptown's cold-brew "stubbies" are as adorable as they are strong."—Erin Zimmer
"Is there a way to take your caffeine other than coffee? I drink it almost constantly until I cut myself off at 4pm sharp. Or 4:30. Okay, sometimes 5. I try to limit myself to small doses many times a day, instead of one or two huge ones. The ritual of making the coffee is as important as that of ingesting it.
In the cooler months, my go-to is drip coffee using a simple pourover method. Everyone tells me it seems fancy and complicated, but it appeals to me for exactly the opposite reason: it's super simple. You can make one cup at a time, and all you need is boiling water. At home I have an electric kettle, in the office I use Max's ultra snazzy electric kettle, but I'll also use the microwave if need be and that works great as well. Get a #2 coffee dripper, set it over a mug, put a filter in (or a paper towel in a pinch!), two scoops of ground coffee, and pour the hot water over. That's it. No coffeemaker to plug in, clean when it's dirty, replace when it's broken, and no need to make a whole pot of coffee when you really only needed one cup. And an electric kettle is a way more versatile tool to have around than an electric drip coffeemaker.—Ben Fishner
"Oh God, in so many ways. My routine is usually something like an 8 a.m. double macchiato, 11 a.m. whatever I can scrounge up in the office, 4 p.m. iced coffee (Nolita Mart around the corner does awesome cold-brew), 6 p.m. macchiato...
If I had to pick one, though, it'd be a macchiato. I love well-foamed milk (so much that I'll often steal the foam off my boyfriend's cappuccino) but I can't kick back cappuccinos all day—too filling. I'm totally fine with espresso, but I find that the little bit of milk in a macchiato draws out the experience, coaxes flavor out of the coffee, and keeps me drinking it for a minute longer than I would an espresso shot.
"Tea is my caffeine delivery system of choice. It's much gentler on the body and the flavors speak to me a lot more than coffee. I'm a big fan of Chinese and Taiwanese teas, oolongs specifically, which can taste floral, woodsy, fruity, and roasty all at once—plus they sometimes give you a kind of zen natural high. I usually drink tea from a gaiwan, seen here. It's basically just a cup and saucer with a lid; you brew the leaves directly in the cup, then strain the tea into a mug with the lid. It only makes a small serving at a time, but with this kind of brewing you can resteep the same leaves most of the day."— Max Falkowitz
"Coke isn't my ALL the time caffeine pick, but it is my anytime pick. I didn't develop a coffee habit until after college, so Coke was it for a long time. I keep a running list of reliable fountain Coke machines (where they consistently get the mix right), though in the interest of temperance, I mostly buy the mini 7.5 ounce cans. Coke made with sugar rather than corn syrup is my favorite, and glass bottles are superior in my mind, whereas I kind of hate plastic ones. There are some mornings (those following a late night) when coffee is the last thing I can stomach, but Coke has never let me down." —Meredith Smith
"Caffeine is a very important part of my life, but it's also one that I'm very careful about. I have trouble sleeping if I drink too much coffee, especially late in the afternoon. (Forget about a shot of espresso after dinner.) So I have a strict regimen that I follow each and every day. When I get up in the morning around 7 a.m., I start with half a pot of French Press coffee. This process is then repeated at exactly 11:00 a.m. As soon as I tried coffee from a French Press in college, I was won over and never looked back. I love the ability to make just as much as I need, steep it for four minutes, and go. Clean up is also easy. As for the beans, I was stuck on La Colombe's Haiti Blue Forest Blend, but for variety's sake, I've been alternating between the many great coffee roasters around Chicago. Everything from Intelligentsia is great. Recently, I've been checking out the esoteric offerings at Ipsento in Bucktown."— Nick Kindelsperger
"It took me a long time to realize that my mother is the only person in the world who still makes coffee using a percolator. Well, her and now me: she bought me one as a housewarming gift this past fall. Some people say that coffee made in a percolator is at risk for over-extraction, but I think it makes an unfailingly delicious, robust yet smooth cup of coffee. Not only that, it makes enough for a group (or me on a tired day) and I can plug it in to keep the coffee warm."—Carrie Vasios
My go-to wake up drink ever since I was a little kid has always been Japanese mugicha—roasted barley tea. Earthy and smoky with a light toasted aroma, it's the perfect when ice cold straight out of the fridge, and it never fails to wake me right up. Of course, it's only when I went and actually looked up some details on its caffeine content that I discovered that it's 100% caffeine free. How's that for a placebo effect? Caffeine or no, it's still my drink of choice for sleepy mornings or hot afternoons, but when I need a true caffeine boost, it's either Mexican Coke, or Diet Pepsi (I have no brand loyalty when it comes to soft drinks). —Kenji Lopez-Alt
"The best way to make coffee? Have someone else make it. My husband Matt (that's the guy in the picture) brews a mean cup of stovetop 'espresso' every morning. His technique has gotten a little more obsessive over time. First, he boils water in an electric kettle, so as to not heat up the whole contraption over the stove, which could scorch the beans. Beans get ground in in a burr grinder (best wedding gift ever) and then packed pretty full in the hopper over the hot water. Watch it like a hawk, and turn the heat off as soon as you have the minimum amount of coffee you need—don't let it brew too long and burn/overextract. Then run the bottom of the pot under cold water to get it to stop brewing before you pour. Serve to appreciative Drinks Editor wife."——Maggie Hoffman
"A cup of coffee (splash of milk, 1 sugar) from the diner a couple blocks from the office gets me going. There are more delicious sources of caffeine, but I enjoy my diner coffee ritual. Besides, everything
tastes better when you are a regular, including diner coffee."— Alaina Browne
"Diet Coke, though I wish it would come in a glass bottle. And iced tea
with two packets of sweetener."— Ed Levine
"Confession: sometimes during cold-weather season (okay, very oftentimes) I drink hot water. It all began when I kept topping off my teabag—with each round, the tea got progressively paler. Before I knew it, I was cutting out the middleman and subbing in a generous squeeze of lemon. Don't knock it til you try it."—Jessica Leibowitz