Alas, another Thanksgiving has come and gone. 364 days to my next favorite holiday of the year. Sadness.
I’m declaring victory on the 2011 edition of Thanksgiving. Couple reasons; first of all, I’m starting a new tradition. I’m taking the entire Thanksgiving week of from now on. It was soo soothing and since, thanks to the CPAP and insecurities and pains in the asses I’m never travelling again, I believe that a “staycation” Thanksgiving week is 100% better than one any other week of the year. Feels right to hunker down.
I hafta say, I really enjoyed the week with the college kid home. It’s been really cool to listen to him talk about what’s next for him, which BTW is grad school. I’m also really excited to see that he’s started drinking coffee. Mrs S does not and because of that, I’ve never really trusted her, at least not 100%. There are those that drink G-d’s precious elixer and there are the “others”. We did have a little conversation about it. I made a pot, he helped himself, his mother was a little shocked, maybe just the very slightest twinge of disappointment in her voice. The “others” don’t like to see their kind reach the enlightened state of “Coffee Achiever”.
“This is great coffee Dad.” Tear in my eye. “Better than we make.” “What do you make?” “Folgers, we bought a 10lb can and have been using it all semester.”
Son son son.. “Coffee needs to be fresh dude.. a 10lb can will never be fresh.
He commented that he doesn’t drink every day, just once in a while.
“OMG.. Son you’re totally missing the point. You simply have to drink 2 or 3 cups every day. That’s the only way you can become dependent on caffeine.”
Quizzical look from all family members.
“If you aren’t totally addicted to it you will never experience the sheer joy which that first hit, or um sip, a really good cup of coffee provides.” Its better than.. and I left that part out because Mrs S was sitting there and no sense providing her any more ideas, ‘cause showing up with steaming hot cup of coffee late at night is a poor substitute for.. on the other hand, we talking Blue Mountain?.. life is so full of choices…
The kid wants to go to Trader Joes today to get some of that “good coffee”.
Here’s the deal on my relationship with the bean. Which isn’t bean by the way, it’s a fruit pit, but G-d what a great pit it is.
Here’s my coffee credentials- Out of college I went to work for Cost Plus Imports. At the time they were one of the few bulk, varietal coffee sellers around. Folks in San Francisco would line up for there beans. They were way ahead of their time, to bad they didn’t know what they had (See Starbucks). I learned a hell of a lot about coffee from them; tasting, quality, regions etc. It was a great experience. I also learned how to run a company into the ground, more observed than learned, but you get the idea.
Bottom line I love coffee more than probably any other food or beverage. Personally I like bolder flavors, big coffees… I like big red wines and strong smoky single malts too.
Regionally I tend to favor coffees from Africa. Kenyan, Ethiopian.. those coffees have stronger flavors than South American or Central American coffees. Indonesian coffees are some of my favorites as well.
The finest cup of coffee I’ve ever had, 100% Kona. Smooth as silk and full of flavor.
Note that roasting brings out the coffee flavor and has a everything to do with the bitterness or after taste. Roasting brings out the essential oils in the beans which is why dark roasted beans are shiny and a little greasy to the touch. I prefer darker roasts. Italian is the darkest, strong and somewhat bitter. Then espresso, followed by French, Vienna style.. and then your down the lighter brown roasts.
So, with that in mind, I’ve been doing some thinking and, since I like nothing better than serving you, my beloved readers with my opinions.. here’s a piece I’ve working on for a year. Didn’t mean to break it just yet, but the time seems right.
I give you the Old And In The Way coffee challenge.
Some notes- No flavored coffee here. No maple nut goodie, no vanilla caramel supreme.. I can’t stand any of them and I’m not sure I fully trust people who do drink them. Go big boy or go home.
There are to offerings here that are not 100% coffee. New Mexico Brewing companies Pinion Coffee and the Café Du’Monde Chicory. I don’t consider them “flavored” because they don’t have artificial flavor powder added.
I scored these coffees 1 to 5, 5 being the best on the following attributes I like if you don’t, write your own damned blog.
Open The Bag/Can Aroma- What’s the smell that greets when you crack open the coffee. I love that experience of a freshly opened bag. I used to put a table spoon of fresh coffee in my car ashtray to get that “coffee roaster” smell in my car.
Aroma- This is the aroma of the cup. Waking up to the smell of brewed coffee, a religious experience for me.
Color- I can’t stand a cup of coffee that looks like dish water. If you can see through it in a glass mug I’m pouring it down the drain. Gross. The darker and blacker the brew the better.
Coffee Flavor- The most important attribute- how good does it taste. How good it tastes to is more important that how good it tastes to you. Just say’n.
After Taste/Betterness- I don’t really like bitter coffees. Some, specifically mass market coffees seem to have that bitter after burn from high acidity. Part of that comes from the cheaper Robusta beans they use.
Value- Hey, if don’t have to spend $17.00 a pound why do it. I will spend my life looking or the balance of value and taste. See Maxwell House.. the best of the mass coffees.
The final score tells the story.
One note that I have to call out. I was not prepared for just how awful 8:00 Coffee was. This stuff comes from the people at Tata, who clearly are better consultants, integrators and car builders than coffee sellers. This was hands down the worst cup of coffee I’ve ever tasted