It started out for me when I did an overnight, call-in radio show in Tennessee. Coffee. And lots of it. Back then it was just whatever I could get my hands on and put cream and sugar in. But after a while, my tastes started changing. Suddenly a cup of double burned, half-day old, gas station or break room coffee wasn't good enough anymore.

I needed something that kept me going, yet didn't taste like mud but at the same time, didn't crossover into the fruity, fu-fu drinks either. Because we all know that one day you're drinking a Raspberry & Vanilla Bean Latte and the next thing you know, you're tying your shirts in knots and wearing roller skates on your way to Bath and Body Works. And for the record, a man is writing this. Any of the aforementioned things would be considered attractive qualities in a female.

Get my point? I'm a real coffee guy.

I have a sign in my kitchen, above my coffee station, that says "Life's too Short For Bad coffee". It has a picture of a rooster on it as well. What does this mean? I'm asking you because I really don't know what the rooster represents here. Am I the rooster? Does the rooster represent Bad Coffee? Or did the signmaker get confused and accidentally put a rooster on a tin sign about coffee? Somewhere there might be a farm scene with a bag of coffee raiding a hen house.

This is getting too deep for me. Let's talk about coffee again.

I took the time to compile a list, through the eyes and scorched taste buds of morning radio guy/coffee enthusiast, of "the Five Best Cups of Coffee in Victoria". So, in no particular order, here goes...

1) Hardback Cafe:

I'm a big fan of the simple and inexpensive house blend they have..."Hard Back Blend". It's basic. It's good. It's coffee. I prefer mine with extra cream. What I love about the Hardback cafe is that when you ask for extra cream, they give you extra. Unlike some places that when you say, "extra cream", they give you, what in most circles would be considered a regular amount of cream. So you have to resort to asking for LOTS of cream. Can't get enough of that cream. Hit me with the cow boob!!! It's also only $2.00 for a large cup. $.90 for a refill. If anyone from the Hardback is reading this, please bring back the "Double French". Thank you. No more.

2) Starbucks:

I like Starbucks. I go for the Dark Roast. Venti size it. But only, and I repeat ONLY, if you can also scrape up enough money to afford an "old fashioned doughnut" to go with it. This is known as a "Radio Lunch. Starbucks also has some really fast wireless internet. By far the best "hot spot" for wireless in town. However, as in any city in America, there coffee tends to run a little more than it's worth. And refer to the "Extra Cream" situation in #1. Starbucks would be the place that you have to explicitly say, "LOTS of Cream”. In fact, I've taken to getting a Venti sized cup, with only a grande amount of coffee. But still, it's very good when they do you right.

3) Long Leaf:

It's a local, downtown coffee shop. You've gotta love that. It's really a Victoria establishment. The owners lived in Seattle, moved back in the mid 1990's and decided that since they couldn't find "Good" coffee here, that they would just make their own. Success. Location, location, location. It's downtown. That in itself is huge. But even if it wasn't downtown, the coffee is good enough to stack up against anyone else on this list... if not actually better. I'm not usually one to stray from the straight and narrow when it comes to coffee, but a Frappe from Long Leaf is about one of the best things about this city. It's up there with shaking hands with Gary Moses or having your first legal beer at the Brown Bag. The Frappe at Long Leaf will become a right of passage from one generation to the next. It is also worth noting that they have delicious pastries and treats. In fact, the Hardback Cafe gets all the food they sell from Long Leaf. Yep. The local coffee industry s kind of incestuous that way.

4) Home Brew:

When it comes to DIY coffee. Trust a certifiable "French Quarter Rat" on this one. Pass up the Star Bucks home blends. Grab "Community Coffee" instead. In particular, the "New Orleans Blend : With Chicory". Strong. Aromatic. Tastes great. There's only one drawback I can think of. Your breath will go waaaaay beyond normal coffee breath. I'm not sure why. But maybe they should call it the "Halitosis Blend".

5) Stripes:

Yep. I did. I listed a gas station coffee brand in the top five list. Yeah, this town is not a coffee town. There's not an abundance. It doesn't help that it's 90 degrees or hotter over 50% of the year here. But that's not why I listed it. The coffee is actually really good. Especially at the bigger Stripe's stores, like in Cuero. "Cafe Del A Rosa" is actually the brand. It's a good coffee, added to by the fact that Stripes actually provides you with everything you need to make it even better. Any kind of creamer or flavoring you can possibly dream up is at your fingertips. And best of all, it's really inexpensive, quick and easy to get! Convenience goes a long way sometimes.

Okay. So now you are equipped with all the necessary information to make a decision on where to go and what to buy, right? I'm right. If you don't agree, then you're wrong. It's that simple. Happy Coffee Drinking. Feel free to add your own suggestions.

Just remember that you're wrong.