Caffeinate Up: Free Coffee Day

Gratis cups of the hot stuff and buy-one-get-one deals abound.

Coffee remains one of the restaurant industry's most ubiquitous bargains, and we're not talking about coffees that are found under a layer of foam and nutmeg and vanilla creme and hazelnut syrup, with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar.

We're talking coffee, the stuff hard-boiled detectives order when they sit down at a luncheonette counter. Still, saving a buck or two on a drink you drink daily is, well, a buck or two, and nothing to sniff at (unless you're sniffing the coffee, which officially might possess The World's Best Aroma).

Sept. 29 is Free Coffee Day, not everywhere, but a lot of wheres, including places like Peet's and McDonald's. Nope, it isn't always the case of you swaggering in and calling out for your no-money joe -- Peet's has a two-for-one deal going, so show with a friend, or at least an acquaintance who loves the bean-beautiful beverage.

Peet's, by the by, includes espresso in its Free Coffee Day deal, if you need the stronger stuff.

McDonald's is doing the free coffee thing during breakfast, which ends Mcmidmorning 'round the Golden Arches,

Dunkin' Donuts -- and, yep, there are a couple of free-standing shops now around Southern California, including in Santa Monica and Downey -- is offering cups of their new Hot Dark Roast coffee on Sept. 29. That sounds strong enough to battle whatever Monday may bring.

Other restaurant chains are putting their own spins on the deal, so if you're eating out, you might as well ask (and maybe inspire a spot to mark the holiday with a special next year).

And isn't it perfect that this happy holiday falls on a Monday? And isn't it ideal that it arrives at the start of autumn, when gloomier mornings keep us in bed longer (or make us want to be there longer, at least)?

Happy Coffee Day, caffeine people.

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