2.16.2007

Addiction in kind

For those of you that haven’t been in close company with me lately, I have a new addiction as well. (This seemed an appropriate answer to H’n’B’s post about her football addiction) Mine is more substance related, though… substance sounds so shady and illegal when paired with the words ‘addiction,’ ‘abuse,’ ‘dependence,’ … you get the idea…
COFFEE!!! I’ve had coffee experiences lately, and there are too many to relate, but they involve baristas and stuff… need to know basis.
It all started a few hours before the Superbowl. Picture it: a nice cool afternoon before going to (what can arguably be called) an old friend’s house for the party. I’ve made plans to meet some friends at Starbucks before heading over there. I get there early and peruse the shopping center where I find a Persian restaurant. I went in to get a menu and their hours of operation, and to my pleasant surprise, they had a Persian newspaper!!! Having gotten the desired information from the (not unattractive hostess) I strolled out with my newspaper and to go menu. Seeing fit to order my coffee before they arrived, I decided to get a size that would last me long enough that I wouldn’t be finished when Affie and her friend got there late. I strolled in to order my coffee and asked what they had. My past experience with Starbucks coffee has been not so pleasant, and I never did have a taste for it, but I thought for some reason I’d give it another try (my subconscious was so right). I can’t remember how it happened, but instead of ordering a plain medium coffee or doppio, (I think it involved the mind-numbing headache I had) I decided to pull out the big guns and order the ‘bold’ brew they had. Was I ever pleased…
Incredible. It’s an Indonesian thing, and dark, heavy, and almost thick. It’s got a bite to it, and is really delightful. Funny thing is, I would have never been able to drink something like this before. I suddenly love it.
You see, black coffee has been one of those things I’ve wanted to like for a long time. (We all have things we want to like, be it social reasons, chic factor, but there are things we do not like that we try to, and for me it was coffee.) I could drink black coffee, but only with some trepidation and slow going, or a handful of sweets by my side. That’s over. I was also never able to taste the ‘aromas,’ or ‘flavors,’ or ‘hints,’ of flavor that people describe in anything, be it coffee, wine, sand… but I’m noticing them now. So, as corny as it sounds to describe the coffee above as earthy, bold, spicy, (even nutty), and almost entirely non-acidic, it’s what I get from it. Delightful.
This has started a kick for me. Like a kid in a candy store (or a linguist in an international airport), I’ve been jumping around to get my hands on all the Starbucks brews and coffees. I welcomed home my first pound of coffee last week, ground for a drip brew. It was a pound of the Komodo, mentioned above. But since then, my other favorites have been Gold Coast (awesome, but not nearly as earthy and pungent as Komodo, since it’s got more Latin and Italian blended in with it; still super bold, but a little sweeter) and especially the Sulawesi (very similar to Komodo, but more elegant, less in-your-face, and smoother; not as big, but with even less acidity; it’s amazing). The Ethiopian Sidamo tastes like a blender full o’ flowers and perfume (yuck), and I’m not impressed with the Café Verona because it’s too acidic for my taste, despite that it’s supposed to be their most popular… Estima, Guatemala Antiqua, Yukon are some others I’ve tried. I’m still waiting to try Sumatra and Kenya, as well as the Espresso and French Roasts. Obsessive? Maybe. Expensive? Sort of. Delicious? Absolutely. I realized when I dig through my pockets for change enough to buy a $1.60 coffee, it can be considered a dependency. I have been getting these afternoon headaches, though, between 2:30 and 4, and the caffeine does the trick. I don’t drink sodas or anything, and the coffee is much better, so that’s been making me happy. That is all.
(~What’s that haunting aroma?~ a la Will Ferrel in ‘Kicking and Screaming.’)
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6 comments:

Jules said...

Haven't posted in a while, but, Starbucks?

As I told Affie on the streets of Athens, lo these many years ago when she & her mom were hitting the 'bucks, and I & my sis hit one of the local Athens playahs at the time, the dearly departed & sorely missed Blue Sky,
FIGHT THE POWER!
Support your local coffeehouse.

I bet the Persian restaurant has wunnerful coffee. I've been wanting to do a coffee service at an Ethiopian place for the experience.

Anonymous said...

As many people here in Seattle say, "Friends don't let friends go to Starbucks."
Yes--I'm being a coffee-snob...that being sad, I DO go to Starbuck's occasionally and DO enjoy some of their brews...
but THAT being said--another local moniker for the Mcdonalds of caffeination is "Charbucks"...
my, don't we love opinions, eh?
Seriously, though, Starbuck's drip coffee is often burnt-tasting...and their baristas are kind of hit-or-miss...you must obviously have a 'good' barista at your local Starbucks, one who makes black coffee TASTE like something good!
Isn't Folgers awful!?
happy tasting, mein Freund und Bruder...
--coffee snob in the NW

p june said...

I actually blogged about my favorite local coffeehouse and how S'bucks ran it out of town.

However, in this area (you know where I mean) there are precious few of the local places and a SB on every corner. Makes it tough.

I don't like Starbucks drip coffee, either. If I buy it there and grind and brew it myself it's great - but I get the burnt/old cigarette taste in my mouth when I drink it there. When AT a Starbucks I go for the espresso drinks (mocha, latte, cappuccino).

Affable Olive said...

Ya know Blue Sky just changed names and is under new management? Haven't tried it yet. I'm an espresso royale frequent drinker and jittery joes when I'm in W'ville, but sometimes, I'm just craving a good strong coffee and Sbux does the trick. Like today, but I was on the road and we hit the first one we found in Columbia, SC.
I was raised on Starbucks though and it's a hard habit to break.
Poly does get them to brew a fresh cup for him...

Jules said...

what is blue sky's new name? My nephew and I went 2 it the last time we were in Athens for an assembly and the girl behind the bar seemed to indicate that it had gone out of business. Never mind that they were serving blue sky coffee. interesting--I like JJoe's--do they still have one in an old church? Anon and PJune described that SB coffee taste well--I prefer my own at home although (I may be about to commit sacrilege of sorts here) Dunkin Donuts coffee is always good and never burnt tasting.

Affable Olive said...

It's Walker's. I had to look it up cuz for some reason, I thought it started with an "R." This website came up first when I googled it: http://www.classiccitybrew.com/athensnew.html
Walker's is their #1 and they actually mention that it was in the old blue sky building, so that's it.