A cup of soul

I can't have a food blog without giving praise to what is without question gives me the most consistently daily pleasure in life. Coffee. This isn't about caffeine mind you. I am no junkie. It's about taste, ritual and satisfaction. My first thought when a situation of me not waking up in my own home? "What is the coffee situation?" There have been countless times packing my own brew in my luggage/overnight bag has happened. My great quality grind, Italian percolator (to me it's the best non electric portable solution) and any extras I may need to take my love in its entirety with me.

My love affair with this dark seductive brew started around age 15. The minute it hit my lips I knew this was for me. With each passing year I liked it stronger, darker and more flavorful. the craze of flavored coffee hit in my mid 20's. For me it was short lived. To me the hazelnut, irish cream and whatever else just masked what was subpar beans. No thanks. I like coffee flavored coffee. Coffee is not a confection. It is an artform.

Aside from the west coast coffee powerhouse cities, the first time I went to New Orleans I made a point to go to Cafe du Monde for my first beignet. This powerhouse cafe is in a realm of its own. What hit me hard is the delicious cafe au lait. I really was head over hells in love now. My boyfriend offcially had some competition and it wasn't another man. It filled my thoughts for the duration of the trip and for many days after I got home. I had to have more and more and yes, MORE. The intoxicating mix of a powerfully strong flavorful coffee with personality to spare smoothed out by creamy milk. To me, to my mouth and to my very soul it was perfection. The beignets weren't half bad either.

A few years later America's coffee obsession really has appeared to have skyrocketed and all I can say is, THANK YOU AMERICA for demanding good coffee that is easily accessible. Sure many people dislike chains like Caribou coffee, and the S word for various reasons. You know what? Not me. They consistently deliver a good product and never disappoint. They are successful for a reason. I have been fair and tried mom and pop coffeehouses that charge the same chain prices but their product has yet to be even in the same realm of goodness. A disappointing cup is far more of a crime than corporate coffee in my mind.

I sat in on a coffee focus group about two months ago. After being given photos to look at and packaging, etc I went into my own coffee monologue about why this is so dear to me. "Coffee is not pretty. It's an artful process to make. Raw beans aren't attractive. The appeal lies in the experience. The smell, the feeling of the warm cup in your hands, the feeling it evokes. To each of us that's a different thing but it's special to every person in this room."

My answer to the novel question of, "if you were stranded on an island the rest of your life what would you take?" Coffee. It's all I need.