"Espresso! My Espresso!"
An Ongoing Internet Novelette
by Randy Glass - Copyright 2007 - All rights reserved
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Coffee as a Spectator Sport
See a cup of coffee.. Drink a cup of coffee. That's how it usually works. It is a food product meant for consumption.. usually. Not always. We were doing our week's shopping at my local Trader Joe's just before Christmas and, as always, the sample table was manned and well stocked. The pump pot of coffee was sitting in its usual place and so I stopped by for what usually turns out to be either a sip of something not too bad or high-level entertainment. A closely-focused spotlight was needed for this one:
Before pumping a sample I always look at what is being served. Lingering tastes on my palate take precedence over my curiosity, so my motto is: read before you taste. They were serving samples of "Winter Blend" which was described as lightly spiced. Winter and spice usually means cloves, and even the aroma of distant cloves disgusts me, so I passed. I understand that cloves have their place in cooking, and there are folks who like it in spiced tea and such, but not for me, and certainly NEVER in a cup of coffee. I can't even go through the mall at Christmas time for the cauldrons of brewing spices with cloves, passed off as potpourri, in so many of the shops.
I walked a bit further down the Trader Joe's aisle to the coffee display. I pulled a can of the Winter Blend. There were three ingredients: Coffee, red and black peppercorns, and... did you guess? Yes, Cloves! Cloves in coffee. For the two or three percent of you who may find that ingredient list appealing, I apologize. For the rest of you, it gets better:
After I read the ingredients I theorized that only a minority of those who sipped their samples would find it a positive experience. To gain some data points to support my theory, I stayed in place and turned towards the sample table. A woman tasted, wondered, tasted, wondered further, and tasted again. Puzzled, she offered it to her elderly father. He sipped, paused, handed the cup back to his daughter, wrinkled up his face like an apple-head doll, shook his head in disgust, and walked away. Good for you, Pop! At that point I had to stop gathering data because I began to laugh out loud!
Traditionally, there are certain cultures who add flavorings to coffee, like cardomen in the middle east. I find Hazelnut to be a nice match, and nearly everyone would agree that a high quality chocolate with coffee is delicious, whether on the side or mixed into the beverage.
You know that bar game where someone asks you, "If you HAD to, in order to save your life, who would you have relations with...?" and they name two despicable or obnoxious celebrities, and most often the choice would require you to participate in a homosexual act. OK- here's the coffee shop equivalent: "What would you rather drink: A cup of black Folgers or a cup of coffee with cloves in it?" Makes you question the value of life....