All or nothing

I have found coffee to be a demanding mistress. She does not arrive prepared; you have to prepare *her" with fastidious attention, lest she present you with off-putting astringency or straight-up blandness. And when she's gone, she's not--you still feel her presence hours later, sometimes in the form of jitters. The stress can be enough to keep you up at night. Girl needs to go to charm school.

For these and other reasons I've decided to take an extended coffee break. I considered drinking decaf but I simply could not get my mitts on a decent decaf. Even the offerings from self-styled progressive roasters tasted off; usually there was a stale-wood aftertaste. If I was lucky, just an aspartame kind of sweetness in the cup. Coffee as medicine? No thank you. One grows tired and suspicious of the sheer number of excuses one hears in decaf tasting notes. This decaf is not like other decafs! This decaf will change your mind about decaf! Fool me once, shame on you...

This is less of an issue with espresso. All that pressure + a little steamed milk seems to mask whatever flaws there are.

It's also less of an issue for those who like dark roasts. Decaf's flaws are less obvious at darker roasts, so darker they tend to be.

But for those who like coffees that can SANG, that present, when drunk black and strong, pleasing arrays of fruit and flowers and layers of flavor that do not include wood-pulp and Sweet N' Low,  it may be better to say all or nothing. Decaf's a mistress all right...emphasis on miss.



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