What is the polar opposite of an expert? I don't know the answer, but in most situations I am whatever that would be. Wine. Car repair. Gardening. Engineering. Cheese. Cosmetics. Whatever. I know nothing.
One thing I do know about it coffee. I don't know if 18 months of employment at Starbucks did that for me. I didn't love Starbucks coffee, but it did teach me how to distinguish the good from the bad from the Folgers Instant Coffee Crystals.
I have tasted a LOT of coffee from a lot of places, read more than a few books on the brew, and managed to stumble across some of the best coffee-based drinks (and places to drink them) the world has to offer. And, thanks to that knowledge and passion, many of you have come to see me and coffee as inseparable. I often get emails about coffee-industry news, questions about coffee products, and even requests as to where people might find good coffee on vacation.
Let me say that I embrace the role of coffee-guy in your life. I like my espresso straight, I know that vanilla is inherently superior to hazelnut, I think Starbucks did well for themselves with their new daily-brewed coffee, and I could not be dissuaded in my thinking that coffee tastes better on gray and rainy days.
Most everyone has heard of Paul Revere, whose mythicized midnight-ride has become a pillar of American revolutionary history. I, like Paul Revere, have a message to spread. Unlike Paul Revere, I am not a skilled horseman and I have access to a blog, so there will be a minor difference in delivery method. Nevertheless...the message:
Never - no matter how tired or thirsty or desperate or time-constrained or drunk or possessed you are - never drink McDonalds Iced Coffee. I did. And it was the most disappointing $2 I have ever spent. The texture was inconsistent and bizarre. I only tasted watered-down vanilla milk, even thought the drink was brown and smelled like coffee. The drink was not foul or stankin'. It just wasn't worthy of carrying the label of coffee. It should have been labeled as an "artifically flavored, chemically altered, milk and ice beverage."
So, let me repeat. You will be tempted. You will be hot and lacking energy. You will see the golden arches and the sign promising "iced coffee". You will consider turning through the convenient drive-thru lane and paying your hard-earned money for a little mass-produced treat. Don't do it. Avoid McDonalds Iced Coffee at all costs. You will thank me later.