Until this morning, I had never had coffee before in my life. At least, not that I can remember. After my experience this morning, I recognize that any previous experience with coffee on my part might have been so traumatic that my brain, in a fit of self-preservation, blacked out all memory of it.
Some background: I don’t know why I never took up the coffee habit. My parents both drink it. My grandfather drank it. It would seem natural that I would, but I never did. Maybe it was the smell. Maybe it was the fact that I was perfectly happy getting my caffeine and sugar from Coca Cola. Whatever the reason, I never tried it–until this morning.
This morning’s experiment came about because I’d read quite a few articles that stated if you were trying to cut back calories, you should cut back on soft drinks, but coffee was a perfectly fine substitute. No sugar, but caffeine. Mostly water so there isn’t a whole lot of calories. All said and done, coffee is probably a somewhat healthier choice in the morning than the Red Bull that I normally have.
So I got small coffee this morning. I could have gone to Starbucks and spent $4 on a cup, but I decided to at least be economical. I went to McDonalds and spent $1. Now, one could argue you get what you pay for, but I have a hard time believing that there is a broad spectrum in overall taste when all you are talking about it boiled water and ground beans1.
I drank the coffee black, because that’s how my grandfather drank his, and besides, adding sugar would start back down the road I was trying to avoid. I waited until the coffee cooled below the boiling point so that I wouldn’t damage my tongue, and then I took a sip.
The coffee tasted exactly how I image hot rain-water would taste if it had been sitting in rotting sewage for a few days on the grease-stained pavement of some festering alley.
“You should have added sugar? Or perhaps a little cream?” I can hear you suggesting. I suppose I could have given that a try, but I imagine it would have tasted like hot-rain water sitting in rotting sewage, in which someone had spilled a few drops of milk, or a pack of Sweet and Low.
I tried a second sip, and a third, and could bear it no longer. I tossed the coffee, and dashed to the store to pick up a Red Bull and a coffee cake. The Red Bull never tasted so good.
But I was disappointed. I wanted the coffee to taste good. I had imagined it would be thick, like hot chocolate made from milk instead of water. But it was as thin as water. People describe coffee as “mud.” From where this description comes, I have no idea. Melt a dozen Hershey bars, and bring the result to a boil, and you have “mud.” What I had was the bile-like gruel you bring up after vomiting your guts out four or five times until there is simply nothing solid left in your system.
So while I can now say that I have indeed tasted coffee, I know that I wasn’t missing anything. At least I gave it a shot. Now I need to look for some other alternative. I wonder if there’s anyplace around here that sells hot chocolate?
- I’m not saying some tastes are better than others. But I make the analogy to beer. There are all different kinds of beer flavors, but if you don’t like beer, you don’t like beer. ↩