Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Coffee talk

I am thankful for good coffee. However, I'm not sure if I should be grateful to my significant other for getting me hooked on it. Until the past year or so, I spent my time perfectly happy being a tea drinker. I tried coffee in the past, but it always tasted bitter to me.

When I visited New Orleans years ago, I really wanted to drink a cafe au lait at Cafe Du Monde -- just to say I had. Little did I know folks in New Orleans add chicory to their coffee to make it really strong tasting. I couldn't finish the coffee and had to have hot cocoa with my beignets. It wasn't quite the experience I was going for.

I tried flavors and cappuccinos and finally gave up, deciding I just don't like coffee. No big loss. Except that coffee drinkers seem to enjoy it so much, there must be something to it.

One day, while sipping my chai with the S.O. at Starbucks, he suggested trying an Americano. I did, with a little milk and sugar. And I liked it. Next time, I ordered a latte and -- you guessed it -- I liked it. Now I find that I actually like the bolder coffees better than the mild ones. I don't even need as much milk and sugar in my coffee as I did when I first started drinking coffee. Does this mean my palate is becoming more sophisticated with age or just that I'm killing off my taste buds and can only taste strong, bold flavors? (I've also developed a taste for red wine, dark beer and black olives.)

The good news is coffee can be a significant source of antioxidants:
In fact, it is the top dietary source of antioxidants in many populations, including in the United States. Moreover, roasted coffee residues retain their antioxidant ability; it isn't lost in processing.
The downside is now we have to buy a bigger coffee pot.


Kate said...

Neither Brooke or I have branched into coffee, but I'm the one constantly trying to get his tastes to expand in the same direction you're talking about: strong cheeses, olives, dark beer, etc. Slowly but surely, I'm making progress on everything but the olives. Alas, poor kalamatas!

I don't think it has to do with the degeneration of the taste buds, but the expansion. It's why kids' favorite foods taste bland to adults. At least, that's my view.

Pammeey said...

I'm going to go with the more-sophisticated-palate theory. Makes me feel like a grown up.