Thursday, November 10, 2005

He never asks for a second cup at home....

At The Store, I have gained a reputation of being nearly impossible to be around until I've had my first hit of morning coffee. (Now, in truth, I've actually purposely cultivated this reputation, but still....) I love the coffee at The Store, enough so that I'm continually mystified by the strange chokehold that the coffee of Tim Horton's (our local donut chain, and a virtual institution in Canada) has upon the imaginations of so many people here. As I may have noted here before, I like my coffee very sweet: I use five or six packets of "Sugar in the Raw" when I'm at The Store, and I only use enough skim milk to lower the temperature enough that I can drink it quickly. At home, it's straight sugar all the way: no milk at all. I strive to emulate the Turkish proverb, "Coffee should be black as hell, strong as death, and sweet as love."

I have never, though, tried the new-fangled "Energy Drinks" -- things like Red Bull and the like. I have no interest in them, really. For a cold drink pick-me-up I'm more into mocha freeze's (made with, of course, two shots of espresso), or a Pepsi or Diet Pepsi or iced green tea. (I also rarely drink coffee in the afternoon, except during the winter when sometimes a pot of coffee at three o'clock is just the best thing ever.) So I'm always gratified to learn anew that good old coffee contains way more caffeine than Red Bull. That's pretty cool, I think: keep your skinny cans of funny-tasting stuff away from me. I'm sticking with my black coffee, a drink that's got as much history, if not more, as wine.

(By the way, I've always wondered about the invention of coffee. I envision a scene kind of like this:

INCA WARRIOR #1: Taste these beans.

INCA WARRIOR #2: (crunch, crunch) Dude! These beans taste like shit!

INCA WARRIOR #!: Well, yeah. But here's what I'm thinking. We take these beans, see, and we roast 'em. OK? No, we're not done yet -- then we take the roasted beans and we grind 'em up into a fine powder. Still with me? No, we don't snort the powder -- but hey, file that idea away for future reference -- but we'll either filter hot water through the ground beans, or we'll use some kind of vaccuum device to draw steam through them and then condense the steam back into liquid. And then we'll drink that liquid. And it'll be great!

INCA WARRIOR #1: You've been eating those brownies again, haven't you?

Or something like that....)

The link above, comparing Starbucks coffee to Red Bull, comes to me via this MeFi post. It turns out that the linked article is actually the inaugural post of a blog -- can you imagine getting picked up by MeFi the first time you ever try blogging? Wow! And, by the way, the ensuing MeFi discussion thread has some of the funniest verbiage I've ever seen on that site. Here are some representative quotes:

There's caffeine in coffee? Then why am I drinking Mountain Dew and snorting NoDoz to start my days?

I love Starbucks. I buy a grande long Americano every morning. I appreciate and enjoy the fact that my Starbuck's beverage contains caffeine. As an added incentive, I know that I'm also supporting the enterprise of global corporate monoculture, at the expense of independent little coffee shops that sell inferior product and offer snooty service.

Red Bull (sugar free!) gives a much better buzz, IMO, but the taste is a little funky.

It's probably the bovine semen. They don't call it Red Bull for nothing.

You could buy a pound of freshly ground organic coffee for $6, cold-filter it and make literally dozens of drinks to your own taste and preference. Or you could pay that much for one drink from an unknowledgeable barista with a bad attitude, watching in horror as he pumps various syrups and flavorings into a monstrously fattening drink. Tough call.

The indies routinely churn out inconsistent brew that routinely tastes like it was brewed in a Space Shuttle booster rocket.

I'd be willing to bet that you could actually poor 7 cans of Red Bull into the cup they use for that coffee. I mean, come on. Those things are tiny.

To make a long story short for the kids too young to remember, coffee in general -- outside of making it at home -- was undrinkable bitter toiletscum in Flyover Country until Dunkin' Donuts started making decent coffee sometime in the late '80s, if I recall....Red Bull? Please. It's disgusting. It's some sort of hype for the myspace kidz who want to mix it with cheap vodka so they can be both hammered and hyperaggressive. No one will be drinking Red Bull in ten years, but good coffee is forever.

Great stuff -- and someone even goes so far as to quote the relevant scene in Pulp Fiction.

And now I feel like I need to track down a pot to make Turkish coffee, as well as a French press....

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