One More Complication on the Way To Judging Coffee

As if it wasn't complicated enough.

Sometimes I think that coffee is more complicated than wine.  Forget about the up-front factors, like location, weather, ripeness of the fruit, processing, aging, etc.  They both have those things in common.  I'm just talking here about the final enjoyment.

With a bottle of wine, about the only thing that can change is the temperature of the pour.  Sure, there are factors such as how the wine was stored, and the shape of the glass.  But the latter is just a theory, and the former is pretty much out of your control (unless you have your own cellar).  But with coffee, when you start with whole beans, you have control over so many variables;  the fineness of the grind, the method of brewing, the temperature of the water, the purity of the water, the time of the brew, and probably a few others that I've forgotten.

So, let me add another.  I've found that the flavor, or better said, the enjoyment of a cup of coffee can change dramatically depending on what you're eating along with it.  In this, it's not any different from a glass of wine.  There are some coffees that are best sipped alone, with nothing but maybe some good conversation on the side.  Then there are others that taste terrible by themselves, but go great with something sweet, like the traditional apple pie.  Strong brews go with maybe a hard biscotti, while others are better with a piece of soft chocolate.  And how about a corn muffin?  I LOVE those things with my morning pick-me-up.

Then there is the complication of adding milk.  Personally, I'm a black-coffee drinker (no sugar either, thank you), but I can sympathize with others who add the stuff.  On the other hand, I can't stand to watch skimmed milk poured into a cup.  It does nothing worthwhile: first it disappears, and then, to make matters worse, it waters down the flavor.

I like experimenting with taste.  It's like doing math.  You change either side of the equation, and see how it affects the result.  It's just COMPLICATED, that's all.

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