Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Bittersweet

This makes no sense.

I drink dark roast coffee because I like the slightly bitter taste it provides. I like that twenty minutes after I've finished my morning coffee, the taste still lingers on my tongue. Probably not my colleagues' favorite thing about me, but let them drink their Dunkin' Donuts! I like the bite that comes in strong, slightly bitter foods. Pam and I were having a discussion about this recently (by discussion I mean leaving blog comments and by recently I mean July) and it made me think about how my tastes have changed as I have become and adult or reasonable facsimile thereof. I take a certain pride in enjoying distinctive tastes like dark chocolate and dark coffee. There was a Williams-Sonoma tasting incident with an ex-boyfriend once where we basically dared one another to try darker and darker thimblesful of coffee. I think I made it to three or four from the darkest. Imagine a quad latte (I had one of those Friday morning and my hands shook for an hour) without the milk and pressed into a little cup of coffee. Attempt only if you wish to be awake indefinitely - and before you say decaf let me remind you, gentle reader, not to blaspheme whilst reading this blog. Decaf indeed. I don't think it's not good, I simply don't believe it exists.

You know you're making a Princess Bride reference in your head right now. Go ahead. I'll wait.
So back to the point - why on earth would you identify what makes dark roast coffee bitter simply to eliminate it? It's like discovering why we have thumbs, only to take them away. No, maybe dark roast coffee isn't as important to you as a thumb, but maybe it's that important to me. Just maybe.

Part of the beauty of variety is that there's something for everyone. If you don't believe me, go to the Starbucks on the corner of Boylston and Berkeley any weekday morning between 7:30 and 10:00. Fourteen million people (when you are already 20 minutes late for work, that number is not an exaggeration) with fourteen million kinds of orders - things even I, a 'bucks regular, can't identify. Topic for another blog: how on earth do people know how many pumps a drink takes and how do they know how many to ask for, i.e. the six pump chai? Now they want to give everyone another choice - bitter dark roast coffee or mild dark roast coffee? Or maybe just do away with my beloved dark roast altogether to make it more suitable to the palates of wimps?

Where do people get the money for these studies and from where will they find the money to do the necessary testing on beans, in labs, and in focus groups to mess up my coffee? *looks at pay stub where $400 should be and list of taxes taken away is instead and scowls*

It starts here, and it ends with people barricading themselves in their homes with a bunker full of french roast. I'm just saying.

2 comments:

Pam said...

Hey, blog comments a month ago definitely constitute a recent conversation!

A part of people not liking their coffee without a lot of sugar or milk is, I think, because we're learning to drink coffee at an earlier age, and we have to tart it up to please our younger palates. Most people don't move past that. Hell, I don't most of the time (unless I'm ordering espresso).

Props on the ROUS picture.

And I only know how many pumps/shots/ounces go into each Starbucks drink because I used to work at one. The formulas are pretty simple once you figure it out, and it only takes seeing your drink being made over the counter to learn all the steps. Go at a quiet hour and order something complicated and watch.

Shadow said...

Dear J.L,
I work for the PR firm representing Peet's Coffee and I would like to invite you to meet with us for a coffee cupping/dessert pairing while we are in Boston next week (Nov 5-9). Please get in touch with me if you are interested at eolson at double-forte dot com.
Regards,
Elizabeth