Coffee, like most subjective indulgences, needs more than just the words “bad” or “good” as descriptors. Sure, it’s going to end up being one of those two, but we shouldn't feel silly trying to dissect why we feel this way, especially if we drink coffee on a regular basis. Whether it be flavor, sound, or visually stunning art, our past experiences of enjoying our senses have accumulated into one unique palate that we should embrace and challenge daily rather than shun into the doldrums of routine.
I once sipped a version of Booskerdoo Bottle Rocket we were working on, and said that I had tasted “cedar.” A co-worker looked both blank and insulted, unsure if I was serious. He WAS sure, however, that the coffee DID NOT contain wood (more specifically- species of conifer). I knew I wanted another sip; I was curious and focused on why my mind would make this connection.
This single interaction with a coffee had brought me back to my first experience with cedar (kind of a weird sentence...but trust me, I have a point). I was walking around my friend’s extremely old family-house in Princeton, NJ and I mentioned to him a bizarre smell I noticed while taking the tour of their humble home. My friend explained it was a cedar closet, he told me the aroma keeps bugs and pests away to protect cloth and fabrics in the house; the smell was so potent. I was 6 years old at the time... Currently, I’m 24 and I can’t even remember what I ate for dinner yesterday.
Needless to say, the convergence of coffee flavor and the human mind is powerful and unique.
This coffee I tried, decades later, shot me back to a happy moment in time where I was carefree and beginning to understand the world. This nostalgia, which took zero effort to achieve, happens more or less every time we taste something “good.” Our personal palate is an extension of ourselves and helps form our identity; this is the coffee we drink, the food we eat, the perfume we might wear or find attractive. With a little openness and backtracking with the vehicle of “Why is this good?” we can affect our daily coffee ritual in an intriguingly personalized and positive way.