Car Polish or Not...

I have been visiting restaurants and coffee shops testing out the coffee just to see how good it is or isn't. I can tell you that there is surprisingly delicious coffee at unusual spots, pizza joints (locally owned not chains), a few bars that actually do serve coffee and not just "ethyl" to sober up their customers and a local gas station that always has a pot ready for their customers to enjoy. These were pleasant encounters.

I was equally dismayed to find that many breakfast chains, dine in restaurants and fast food have some of the poorest quality coffee I have consumed, and let me tell you I have had some nasty coffee in my life. Last night I was at a national breakfast specialty chain restaurant that advertises its coffee. Well, let me tell you that what I got was car polish or worse. I asked for a cup of coffee from a fresh brewed pot after the first cup of swill and received one that was equally as bad and I did see that it was from a fresh pot. I was totally dismayed. I have drunk many a pot of coffee from this chain but I think I will be sticking with ice water from now on. I don't know who their new coffee supplier is but they need to go back to the old one post haste. I did let my unpleasant coffee experience be known to the manager but I think she thought I was just a crank. Too bad because I have been a good customer there since the 70s. I don't know when I will be back.

I avoided Starbucks in my coffee quest because so many people review Starbucks and because quite frankly, they have contributed to the demise of so many local coffee shops that I try to avoid them as much as possible although I do have to have a Mocha Latte on occasion. Yum! I admit it I am an addict!

I did go to a local bakery that has a pleasant coffee bar in it. I had Cafe Au Lait to my hearts content. This was nicely paired with a dark chocolate torte for an experience that was truly amazing.

I suggest that wherever you go for a meal or a snack that you try the coffee Wendy's may pleasantly surprise you as may the local grocery store. You may feel disappointed at a chain coffee specialty shop but you may be well rewarded at the place were you get your oil changed. Just watch out for coffee that tastes like it would take the rust off of a bumper and complain if you get it. You will be doing us all a favor.


Candied Coffee...

Hi, my name is Ardee-ann and I like "candied coffee." I admit that when General Foods came out with International Coffees I bought one of every flavor. They were delish. I was young then, devil may care and was enamored of the fanciful nature of the tasty instant coffees that lured my taste buds to distant locales and made me feel totally bon vivant!

I settled in quickly on the Cafe Francais and Cafe Suisse Mocha as my favorites. Other flavors have come and gone, by the way GF you have ruined the Cafe Vienna. It used to be lovely but when you changed the formula you ruined its subtle essence.

I realize that in admitting that I enjoy "candied coffee" I may destroy any credibility I have in the world of the "real" coffee drinkers but I would only drink one or two cups of these coffees in an evening filled with cups of other coffee that were not gussied up with creamer and sugar. I would drink fine Columbian which in Little Rock, Arkansas back in the early 80s was just about as unique as you could get at your local grocery store.

There were some specialty shops that we would go to and buy some exotic brews to drink now and again but really back in the day I began my addiction to the sweet drink that still lures me away at times and probably keeps me addicted to Starbucks Mocha Lattes. I just like that sweet kick now and again.

I only have the flavored instant coffees as a rare "treat" so to speak but some days despite the allure of my beloved french press I find myself enjoying a cup of General Foods International Coffees and remembering when they seemed so exotic, exciting and new. I was so young then and had such an underdeveloped palate.


Coffee or Tea????

I have been in "merry olde England" for the past two weeks...not literally, darn it, but rather I have been watching movies such as "Pride and Prejudice,""Rebecca," "Mansfield Park" and "Jane Eyre," for example. Let me tell you I have seen a lot of tea drinking from fine bone china sets in these movies. The cups have been dainty and lovely. I am sure they do well for a delicate brew such as tea but I kept wanting to tell the fine ladies and gentlemen to get a hefty mug of coffee and enjoy it. The drink can be just as civilized and provides a lot more body to the brew.

Watching all that ritualized tea drinking made me want to brew up some stout coffee, pour it into thick "diner style" coffee cups and quaff it with impunity. I wouldn't have to worry about burning my tongue or palate in such a case, I could just enjoy the brew heartily and without concern. Doesn't that sound wonderful...fresh brewed coffee to be chugged down immediately before the "bloom is off the rose" so to speak.

If you ever find yourself in the company of too many tea sippers even on the television screen, do yourself a favor ~ brew a pot of coffee and enjoy a cup of joe. You will be glad you did and your taste buds will thank you for satisfying them with some coffee.

I am not discounting the joys of tea drinking and the ceremony that can be involved at all. I am just saying that while tea drinking has its place in the world but so does a well brewed cup of coffee and sometimes coffee can provide a bit more character to your cup than tea can.


Upsetting the Apple Cart!

I am a coffee drinker and have been since an early age but it is only in recent years that I have come to fully appreciate a cup of coffee in its purest stage, black coffee. When I was much, much younger my primary association with black coffee was when I'd go hunting with my father. He'd bring along a thermos filled with black swill that he called coffee and if you were cold, and trust me you would be, you would drink some of this "coffee" so that your innards wouldn't freeze like your nose, toes and fingers were. It was a vile brew as he would percolate a huge church sized pot of coffee as soon as we arrived at our cabin (real cabin...not a house, lodge or cottage...a cabin), then he would keep it hot all day and reheat it every morning while we were there. Ahem, this stuff got stout after a day or so, yes indeed.

As this was my introduction to black coffee, it is no wonder that for years I turned my coffee into a confection by adding a great deal of sugar and creamer to my cup. I wanted the "taste" of coffee but I didn't want it to reach out and choke the life out of me the way some of that hunting era coffee tried to do. I still on occasion enjoy coffee heavy on the creamer and sugar and prefer to make my instant hot cocoa with fresh brewed coffee. It makes an easy quick mocha.

I realize that by admitting that I still enjoy coffee with "additives" beyond some Irish Whiskey that I am destroying my "street cred" as a writer about coffee but I do not profess to be a coffee tasting professional nor even a connoisseur of the bean. I am just a woman who likes coffee and who sometimes gussies it up even if this does upset the apple cart among the die hard coffee drinkers who read my column.

I proudly brandish my slightly whitened coffee (evaporated milk don't you know) and smile as I drink my adulterated brew with impunity.