I'd take a Diet Mountain Dew over a cup of coffee to get a necessary caffeine jolt any morning, well, except when temperatures hover around zero degrees. Then, my coffee pot at work gets its workout.

I enjoy a good cup of coffee, don't get me wrong, but it's never really been my "go-to" beverage and I can never drink it "black." A bit of cream and a packet of no-calorie sweetener and I'm ready to wrap my hands around the cup and sip away.

While many have gone the way of individual-cup coffee brewers, I still like my 12-cup coffee maker. If I'm going to drink coffee, I want several cups and, because I'm cheap, I know that I can brew a full pot cheaper than brewing an individual cup from a "pod."

I'm not very picky about brand name coffees, but I do like a bit of additional flavor, like French vanilla or mocha. This time of year I love the mocha mint Christmas flavor from Dunkin' Donuts. Add in a bit of Peppermint Mocha creamer from Coffee-mate and I'm a happy girl.

When I'm shopping for coffee and different creamers, I love reading the descriptions of coffees. Most brands carry various blends, including a traditional roast, a dark roast, breakfast blend and even a blond roast. Some boast "robust flavor" and others "a velvety flavor." I'm not sure those descriptors have ever swayed me in my coffee selections, but I still find it enjoyable to read the elaborate words used to describe a blend of coffee.

Because I don't drink my coffee without cream and sugar, perhaps the actual coffee blend or roast is not as important to me as it would be to coffee "purists." I'm also probably just as happy with an inexpensive coffee than one that is imported.

So, by now you have probably guessed I'm not that fussy about the coffee, but know what to add to it to make it fit my tastes.

I prefer liquid creamer to powdered, but really don't mind whether it's real cream or not. I also prefer a flavored creamer, especially if my coffee is unflavored. Those preferences, however, don't mean that I will turn away a simple cup of coffee with a dash of real cream and sugar now and again. As a matter of fact, that is my beverage of choice when having breakfast at my local cafe.

So, I admit, I'm not a coffee connoisseur - I'm far from it, actually. I'll pick up packets of sample blends and odd flavors on a whim. Sometimes they are heavenly and other times I will finish my cup, but the rest of the pot may get poured down a drain.

If you've spent any time at all in the "coffee aisle" of any supermarket, you will understand how I get sucked into trying new blends and flavors. I swear the coffee section and the accompanying sweeteners, creamers and filters will soon fill both sides of an aisle instead of just one.

Like toilet paper and dental care products, we have too many choices when shopping!

Now, to make the perfect cup of coffee, one must not forget the vessel in which the coffee is served. I like rounded coffee mugs that fit into the palm of my hand. I like a short, stout cup rather than a tall, thin one. I prefer a cup that holds 20 ounces to one that only holds eight. Add in some bling, a character, some personality and I'm happy.

While some may stick with the same cup every day, I pick my coffee cup according to my mood. I have cups from different stages in my life too - like my college mug and cups from organizations I've worked with or places I've visited - so those come into play when I'm feeling sentimental. I also have mugs given to me by friends and others that fit the season or holiday.

Perhaps my sister-in-law, Annette, was correct in telling me I really need to learn how to downsize my collection. She helped me reorganize my kitchen recently and felt a bit frustrated when the shelf for the coffee mugs was too small and some had to overflow onto the next shelf and the next cupboard. But, I'm kind of in denial about all that.

As you can tell, I put a lot of thought into a simple cup of coffee, but in the end, I'm not really that fussy about what constitutes a good cup of joe.

This morning, as those temperatures struggled to climb above the zero-degree mark, my coffee pot was put to work brewing a nice pot of mocha mint coffee. I filled my large Santa mug and added a bit of cream and sweetener. I cradled the cup in my hands and the warmth felt so good after becoming chilled on my way into work.

I think my Diet Mountain Dew will stay in the refrigerator today. It is one of those days when a good cup of coffee not only provides that initial jolt of needed caffeine, but is also necessary to warm our bodies from within. It's a good defender to the bitter cold that continues to seep into our homes and bodies!