Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Those subtle blends of flavors

I'm reading A Brew to Kill, a Coffeehouse Mystery by Cleo Coyle and enjoying it much. But I am awed and baffled first by the art of the barista--who knew how much training, talent, and finesse it takes to pull coffee?--and second by the acuteness of heroine Claire Cosi's taste buds.In one sip of coffee, which she savors long and slow, she finds subtle blends of fruit, almond, chocolate, woodsy flavors, whatever--things I never think of when I drink coffee. It's just coffee to me, but I'm not an aficionado. Claire's ex-husband brings home a new bean from  South America, and the author is at pains to dissect the flavors.
Confession: I don't like Starbuck coffee; to me, it's bitter. I don't like strong coffee. I drink decaf, because caffeine hypes me up too much, something I am quite capable of doing on my own without outside help. I only drink one cup of coffee a day. Occasionally I prefer green tea, wish I'd drink it more often because it's so good for you.
Separating out coffee flavors is like letting fine wine roll around on your tongue. I'm afraid that art is missing in me. Another confession: I drink box wine a lot of the time. It's cheap, and some of it is not bad. When I arrive in Austin, my son-in-law always takes a picture of the box, posts it on Facebook, and writes, "Gaga's back in town." As those who know me are aware, I enjoy a glass of chardonnay, and I like it oakey. I don't get much more specific than that, so I'm mystified when people talk about fruity--okay, sometimes I think I get that but I'm never sure. Move on to specific fruits and I'm lost.
I can detect a thin, really cheap chardonnay or a sour one--but my oenophile daughter and her husband scoff at what I consider a nice bottle of wine. And I run from a Reisling or Muscatel--or anything sweet. These days pinot grigio seems to be the white wine of choice, but I stick to chardonnay and I was comforted to read on the internet that the appeal of chardonnay is its complexity. See, I'm not a simpleton.
Would someone run out and get me a bottle of  Kendall Jackson, please?

No comments: