Saturday, September 20, 2014


In anticipation of September 29, International Coffee Day...  Please drink responsibly: With friends, with good tasting coffee, and with fair-trade, whenever possible.

I haven't always been a coffee drinker. I've always enjoyed the smell and the social part of me wished that I could say, “Yes” when asked if I wanted a coffee. But I just couldn't get past the bitter taste.

I have always enjoyed hot chocolate, so the jump to Tim Horton's English Toffee Cappuccinos was pretty easy to make. They had the slightest hint of coffee in the cappuccinos, so I almost felt like I was drinking a grown up drink.

One cold morning, I was out shopping with a friend when we decided to stop at McDonald’s for a hot beverage. I went for a caramel mocha cappuccino, took one sip and screwed up my face. This stuff was real coffee with stuff put in; not what I was expecting.

Another of my friends convinced me to let her make me a coffee. She loaded it with three cream and three sugars. It was sweet and drinkable. I decided I might be able to turn myself into a coffee drinker after all.

I started saying, “Yes” when asked if I wanted a coffee. “Triple cream and triple sugar” was a bit too much for me, so I started drinking Double-Double. I remember ordering a Double-Double from Tim Horton's, sitting down to watch my son's soccer practice, and thinking to myself, “Mmm, this tastes great.” It was at that moment that I realized I had become a coffee drinker.

Fast forward a couple years and here I am, staring at the cup that holds what could possibly be the worst cup of coffee known to man. I have had coffee from many restaurants, coffee shops, friends' houses, and miscellaneous shops. I know when coffee is too weak and I don't enjoy coffee that is far too strong (although I err on the side of strong these days.) I don't enjoy a really acidic coffee nor do I like a burnt bean. I also find that it tastes best when I know it's been farmed by workers who are fairly treated and paid an appropriate wage.

I got a coupon in the mailbox a couple days ago - one coffee and one bakery item for $0.99... from Wendy's. I didn't even know they had coffee and bakery items, so I went in to give it a try. I ordered my coffee (two creams and two sugars, please) and chocolate chunk cookie. The lady at the cash register winked and said I'd be happy to know that she had just brewed a fresh pot. What luck!

I paid, went back to my car to continue my shopping for the day, and had my first sip of the coffee. It tasted awful! I tried again, thinking that I might have misjudged it on that first sip. It still tasted awful! I had a bite of the cookie to get the taste of what Wendy's calls “coffee” out of my mouth. I ate the rest of the cookie, little bits at a time, as I drove to the next store. Without thinking, I picked up the cup of hot liquid, more out of habit than anything else, and took another swig. Blech!

At this point in my adventure, I was more interested in pin-pointing the less-than-subtle undertones in this cup of coffee. The beans were dark-roasted, darker than is typically considered appropriate for coffee that is not being written off in an insurance claim. But there was something else, something Robust yet Refined, with a hint Agrarian undertones, something typically unbeknownst to coffee aficionados.

It was Robust in that this coffee would not allow me to forget about it, Refined inasmuch as the taste was reminiscent of the plastic that my grandfather processed at the Polysar plant was refined, and Agrarian in that it tasted like dirt.

A fresh pot, indeed.

I do not recommend this taste-experience for new coffee drinkers as your palette has not fully developed to appreciate the complexity of these flavours.

I also do not recommend this taste experience for seasoned coffee drinkers as you will never forgive me.

Come to my house. I'll make you a cup just the way you like it and we'll have a nice chat while we sip away. That's the way coffee should be enjoyed anyway; it is, after all, my social beverage of choice.

And if you can't make it to my house, we may just catch up over Facetime or Skype or some other fancy technology and share a cup of coffee anyway.

1 comment:

  1. Bean to Skype (get it?? "bean" there?? ar ar ar!! as in ROTFLOL) and even done that. Well written article. To me.... this is my assessment... dark roast coffee tastes like someone has cleaned the cigarette ash tray and dumped the ashes into the coffee basket. I can remember back in IPL days, we used to use Pride of Arabia (I liked it) and one of the guys said it tasted like floor sweepings!! I've bean... to your house and I rather like the coffee less......... than I like the company!!