I’m not sure who said it first, but I believe it to be Jeffrey Steingarten*: Coffee smells better than it tastes.
I say this as a tremendous coffee fan. I’ve had it dripped, French pressed, and percolated. I’ve had it with beans ground so find you could mix it like Kool-aid, and with beans so roughly ground that one could mistake them for gravel. I’ve had it with cream, double cream, two-percent milk, non-fat milk, half and half, and black. I’ve mixed it with sugar, brown sugar and honey. Espresso shots? Sure! Mixed with vanilla syrup and a glass of milk. Absolutely! Ethiopian beans? Yup. Jamaican? Uh-huh. If it has been on a menu board of a local coffee house, I’ve tried it.
And yet, as much as I love coffee, I love the smell of coffee that much more. In the never ending battle of tea vs. coffee, it is coffee’s aroma that gives the bean the victory.
Coffee’s aroma speaks to my own approach to anticipation. In my experience, the anticipation of a good meal,a good trip, or good movie is almost always better than the event itself.
That’s why coffee is the perfect drink for humanity. The warm, rich aroma of coffee gives us the opportunity to dream of possibilities. The drink itself is a reminder that reality, while never able to equal our dreams, can still bring forth pleasures on its own.
Or perhaps I’m taking a tad too much poetic license after having a REALLY good cup of coffee this morning.
(* NOTE: New Kate’s Law: When in doubt about who said a witty phrase dealing with food, a good guess is always Jeffry Steingarten. When the witty phrase has the word ‘fuck’ in it, a better guess is Anthony Bourdain)