Friday, October 06, 2006

Testing, 1, 2, 3...

Let’s see, it’s a little after 4 and the moon is making it a bright morning long before the sun has a chance. And I have a good cup of coffee in front of me for a change. How did that happen? Well, my cooking blog was noticed by “someone” and I was given three types of a new Folgers coffee to try. By accepting the coffee, I also have an obligation to review it and to post that review on my blog. The package arrived in the mail yesterday and this morning I have brewed a pot. The coffee pot is finally silent and so I’m ready.

Now I must be critical of the coffee and what credentials do I have for that? Let me review them for you; I began drinking coffee at the age of 14, sipping percolated Hills Bros. with plentiful helpings of sugar and ½&½. That was my parent’s drink and I hadn’t developed my own taste at that age. But it didn’t take long before I was avoiding all additions to the brew and was drinking it “black”. It seemed like the manly thing to do and I was into all things “manly”.

By the time I joined the Navy, I was a fully developed coffee drinker. I had even joined a private coffee house in 1957; a place where I paid my dues to sip exotic drinks such as cappuccino and latte. Espresso was not a foreign word to me. But the Navy helped me to develop the ability to drink any kind of coffee. Luckily I survived the experience. And I did it without a “parachute”, the addition of cream and sugar. Although there were times when faced with a cup of foul and bitter dregs that I craved that sweet comfort of my youth.

After the Navy experience and for the next 30 or so years, I was pretty much a pedestrian coffee drinker with only occasional forays into the world of gourmet coffees. I still drank it black, as it should be. I owned a coffee grinder for those times when I felt driven to experience a new taste in coffees. I even had a small espresso machine, though it wasn’t often used. And I had moved beyond Hills Bros. I moved easily between brands and wasn’t afraid to try a different one. Although I must admit that the use of coffee during these years was mainly for therapeutic reasons (waking up) and not esthetic ones.

The late 1990’s was when I began to enjoy the taste of coffee once more as coffee shops returned to popularity. And I began to be more critical of what I was given to drink.

Today, I will probably drink four cups of coffee. Three of them in the early morning hours and then a cup from a local coffee shop at a later hour. That’s a normal day for me; though I can have another cup in the evening and it won’t bother me at all. So yes; upon review I can say that I’m qualified to judge a cup of coffee. 52 years of coffee drinking has to be worth something!

This morning’s coffee is Folgers Gourmet Selections, Morning Café. It’s labeled as a light roast and upon opening the bag; I could barely smell any aroma at all. Yes, that’s certainly light. I carefully measured the amount of coffee per cup and added the proper amount of water to the coffee maker. I’m not usually that careful in the morning, but I thought that in all fairness, I needed to make the brewing conditions equal for all three selections.

The first sip was uneventful. No rush of flavors. But it was pleasant enough. I waited for the aftertaste and it came slowly. It was certainly not intense but it was a little more complex than I thought it might be. The first cup was good and I went for the second one. Perhaps, 15 minutes had elapsed since brewing and the second cup was developing some additional flavors; but certainly not strong ones. OK, it’s time for the critical third cup. It’s been an hour since the brewing and if the coffee is going to develop some real character, it has to do it now.

The cup still has a pleasant aroma, but not much strength to it. The flavor? It’s still quite undeveloped. But of course it’s labeled as a “light roast” and so it isn’t going to suddenly grow stronger; it will remain a simple (and boring) but pleasant coffee.

Tomorrow’s choice will be the Columbian and perhaps I can find some character there. The label says, “Medium Roast” and that may be more my style.

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