Cereal, Coffee & The Inlaws

Yesterday was an odd mix.  I grabbed a quick, very greasy, breakfast at the Patrician Grill and then zipped over to Starbucks on Front Street to work. (WIFI is my friend)

As I was sitting there “working” I watch a young StarBuck assemble a matrix of espresso cups along the bar.  Each column was lined up with what looked like an insulated bodum pot.  Then he plunked 2 sampling trays on the counter and came around asking each person in the store if they wanted to participate in a coffee tasting.

What was I to say?  “Nope, sorry, I’m working”?  Ya, right.

So I headed up to the counter to sample the “Africans” which we were tasting: Kenyan, Ethiopian Sidamo, Arabian Mocha Sanani, and a summer blend called Gazebo.

Anthony, who ran the tasting, likened it to a wine tasting. He showed us how to cup our hand around the top of the cup to capture the aroma… much like a patio awning catches cigarette smoke… and inhale.

He told us to slurp and roll, slurp and roll. Allowing the coffee’s flavours to invade our mouths. We followed his instructions to the letter – cupping, slurping, rolling, and all was good until…

He foolishly asked us “What do you taste?” And like every other member of the human race would, we looked nervously at each other and remained completely silent.  Well, except for the surreptitious slurping.

He suggested that that Kenyan had a cocoa flavour and hints of citrus. The Sanani was more herb and citrusy. The Sidamo was citrusy…. (are you sensing a theme here?) And the Gazebo was…. I blurted: “Empty!” What I really meant was “watery”. It tasted like that iced coffee you left ’til the end and the ice had melted.  Anthony agreed and added that it was… wait for it… citrusy.

My blurting did get everyone chatting about what they liked and didn’t like.  Which was cool.

In my opinion the Sidamo was good, but WAY better when coupled with the mandarin/tangerine iced cookie. And the cookie was also WAY better when matched with the Sidamo. I was astonished by how well they brought out the flavours in each other.

The Sinani, while a favourite of one of the other tasters, tasted sour to me. Really sour. It’s the most
rare and expensive coffee they sell, since it’s picked by hand, cherry-by-cherry. Yup, I’m a philistine.

The Kenyan was rich, deep and earthy. It filled my whole mouth with a warm coffee glow and made me happy… so I sipped that while I finished the samples of lemon poppy seed cake, and bumbleberry walkabout. Who names this stuff anyway? Lexa likes tastings even if they give me sour coffee.

After I finished up there, we met the Inlaws @ Marche for dinner (no it’s not a cheapeat, but one makes compromises for the Inlaws, especially on their week-of-anniversary-birth-and-father’s-day) Dinner was good with lots of choices for all of us. Though I always find that at Marche someone always leaves to get something else just as the conversation is getting good.

After dinner, tired & sated we jumped on our bikes and headed home eager to crash on the couch and watch some mindless tv.

But as we cleared Moss Park and were almost home we saw fireworks!

Okay, it was smashed up Fruit Loops on the side walk. But who are we to quibble when there in front of us is a beautiful cereal massacre in the full spectrum of artificial sugar colours. I had to stop and document it. It was gorgeous.

What a lovely way to end our hectic days.  Fireworks!

Alexa Clark

Alexa is a digital marketer and author with over 20 years in digital & interactive communications in the food and tech industries. Alexa's CheapEats Restaurant Guides, for both Toronto & Ottawa, were Canadian best sellers. She is a recognized authority on social media and has been named one of Canada's 20 Leading Women in Social Media.

One thought on “Cereal, Coffee & The Inlaws

  • June 26, 2006 at 4:58 pm

    Great post! I love how some people are so in tune with the subtle flavours of things like coffee and wine and how others, like me, have the palates of 5 year olds. Now I want to go get a coffee and pronounce it full of “tangy berry top notes with hints of grassland”. And then eat cookies. Mmm.


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