Yes, I confess: I’m a coffee snob.
I can’t abide most American mass produced ground coffee, like Folger’s, Maxwell House, and Hill Bros. Worse of the worse is Sanka instant.
No, worse of the worse could be the Folger’s Instant Coffee Crystals. Instant coffees taste off to me, as though the coffee has been recycled.
I have friends who swear by Dunkin’ Donut’s coffee. Not me. Dunkin’ Donut cofffee provides a taste that I imagine comes from a dirty tee shirt being soaked in coffee and then wrung out in a cup. Just below it are the foul offerings provided at McDonald’s, Burger King and other fast food establishments. I haven’t had coffee from any of those places in decades. Haven’t eaten at them since around 1992, when I returned to America from Germany.
I became such a snob, as with many things, when I was exposed to offerings in other places. Being stationed in Germany was the changing point for my appreciation of not just beer, but coffee, pastries, asparagus and French fries. German coffee seemed so very strong and clear that I was instantly drawn to it. I started buying different Italian coffees available in Germany, examining flavors the way others do with wines.
The same process was followed with wines, and then beers, along with cigars, ports, whiskeys, fruits, chocolate, cheese, fish, oils, vegetables and meats. I learned that an experienced palate will be drawn toward fresher, clearer flavors. Becoming more mindful among the differences in flavors, I became more mindful as I consumed food and beverages. Fresher and more refined foods offered unique flavors on my tongue.
Of course, it ruined me. Returning from Germany and settling into the Bay area, I drove by a KFC. KFC chicken! I remembered eating it as a child. A sudden nostalgic flame consumed me. I ordered a chicken dinner. The eating experience ruined my memories of KFC and made a skeptic of me about all my American favorites.
So, I’m a coffee snob, but I’m also a beer, wine, chocolate, pie, cheese, fruit, vegetable, meat and pastry snob. I’ll eat things because they’re sustenance, and it’s my nature to accept that food is fuel. But I now know that some foods don’t work nearly as well as fuel.
Something about the eating and drinking experience also affected my reading, news reporting and movie watching. Overall, I became a snob, more watchful, more critical, more mindful. Part of me often wishes that I wasn’t a snob, that I can just turn on the television and be titillated by the latest number one show like so many others, or that I don’t need to research and vet news headlines and reports for the truth and accuracy, or that I can just trot on down to a fast food place for a meal.
With that, time for breakfast, locally sourced and organic, featuring berries and fruit we picked and froze ourselves, and a cup of coffee. It’ll be Major Dickinson today, from Peet’s.