Friday, June 17, 2011

Coffee Unlike the Starstrucks Kind

There was a time when a nickle of joe was all one could get. The Europeans even had a joke about it. "Why is American coffee like making love in the bottom of a boat?" (Contact me directly for the rude punch line if you don't know it.)

Tinted water. Blaaaach, pewey!
Then came the hard stuff in all its rocky Italian stallion iterations. We loved it... but secretly we all knew it was over the top. Given no other choices, we stayed starstruck.

So, I'm in my local wine shop the other day. Andrea, the proprietress, says, "Try this, you'll love it!" (She is right 98% of the time.) But, instead of a bottle of wine, she hands over a black bag—filled with coffee beans. I take it home, set it aside until the starstrucks is exhausted from the old A-9 grinder. Yesterday, I fill the mill with the new black gold. Ten minutes later, I am sipping what coffee should have tasted like all along. Smooth, mellow, aromatic and delicious... and that's without milk or sugar.

I only recall having this experience once before (in 2001) when a security director friend asked his mother to bring back a pound of coffee for me, from a small plantation in Costa Rica. 

Later in the morning, I am at my town post office. Serendipity. Another patron walks in and hands the postmaster–a black bag filled with coffee beans. They begin talking coffee. I pipe up with, "I just tried that for the first time this morning. You'll like it." Surprise. It turns out the coffee company is located in my tiny town! And, the other postal patron, Matt, is a partner in the company. We kept talking.

Did you know, the darker the roasted beans, the less caffeine they have? Seriously, no java jive. Turns out the lighter colored roasted beans are the ones you want with breakfast. Heavy roasting brings out the oils and dissipates the caffeine. I also learn that Matt specializes in organic beans, some from super small-yield estates—like the kind my friend, Ted gave me ten years ago!

Ok, I'll spill the beans. If you are interested in getting better mocha java lava into your vena cava (and other veins) visit a Fair Trade USA certified coffee partner and look for their organic products. The coffee in my black bag came from Black River Roasters. Real java-heads, however, will want to grow their own. Buy your own plantation!

So... what does this have to do with spies and electronic surveillance? Nothing, not even the black bag reference. Sometimes one just has to take a coffee break from the world of espionage and reflect on the good things in life. ~Kevin