When and where did you drink the best cup of coffee you ever had the honor of tasting and swallowing?


Over the weekend I bumped into swallowing a re-branded home-brew coffee-as-manna packaged as “Dark Aroma” at a local bed and breakfast.

The taste of “Dark Aroma” was musty and nutty and just a bit smoky and it made the best cup of coffee I ever had the delight of devouring in nearly a single swallow.

There was no notice of origin for “Dark Aroma” and no one at the bed and breakfast knew anything about its maker or distributor.

“Dark Aroma” has now become a weekend mystery that will remain lost in the shadows of my taste buds while lingering in the afterglow of the sweet and bitter blackness that formed the best cup of coffee… ever!

Have you ever had a memorable cup of coffee?  When and where did you find it and were you ever able to recapture the magic again after gulping the first cup?

26 Comments

  1. It was around May of 2005, and I was still a barista; Starbucks had released one of its limited edition beans and I was asked to sample it. Sampling coffee at Starbucks means you drink it black so I always dreaded it a little bit because to me coffee is always quite bold, even if it is a “mild” blend. I was taken aback by the first sip as I swirled it around my mouth as required. It was perfection in liquid form and needed neither milk nor any sweetening substance as it tasted divine as it was. I poured myself a full cup and slowly drank it; each sip was as good as the first. Naturally, the beans had to be a one-off. The beans were a rare African Peaberry but naturally a full hour of Google searching yielded nothing useful as far as its actual name.

  2. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm! That make me hungry for coffee, Gordon! How sensual and erotic a bean can be! Did Starbucks end up serving that bean to the public or not?

  3. Ah, yes! I love the Black Apron exclusives. I wonder if they still do them or not? We buy our whole beans in bulk now, so we don’t give all our money to Starbucks like we used to…

  4. We buy 5 pound bags of whole beans on Amazon.com — whatever organic coffee bean is best priced that day. We keep it fun that way and a 5 pound bag lasts us about two weeks.

  5. Ah, I think I see the issue. I have been drinking only espresso based drinks so I only make one cup in the morning and one cup at night, maximum – that’s four scoops maximum because you can’t fit any more than two scoops of ground espresso in the portafilter without defying the laws of physics. 🙂

  6. Ah! We’re full-pot-o-coffee drinkers here all day long. Some of it we toss, but most of it we share with visitors and others in and out of the building.

  7. I usually have four cups daily, grinding up San Francisco Double French-roast beans acquired at our local CostCo. Friends of mine with a “French Press” make better coffee out of espresso-roast beans, but that’s too much trouble (and too time-consuming). Unless we have company, I drink coffee black, and I don’t mind re-heating via the microwave — sure, it’s best when just brewed. I’m of the view that coffee prevents cirrhosis of the liver for those of us who drink a moderate amount of wine, having read about research to that effect. I’ve enjoyed greatly café au lait in France and caffe latte in Italy, as breakfast coffee, but I don’t go out of my way for such when I’m home. We’re often given Kona beans from HI, Ethiopian and other African beans, and beans from Central America and elsewhere, but I have always gone back to the CostCo brand mentioned above (my grandson in Walnut Creek is a schoolmate of the CEO’s son).

    Aloha ~~~ Ozzie Maland ~~~ San Diego

  8. I will have to look for your Double French beans, Ozzie! The connection between coffee and liver protection is fascinating. Kona is a fine bean.

  9. David–
    Once upon a time, Dunkin Donuts had the best darn coffee! I would love to know the history behind their coffee because the coffee they serve today is not the coffee that my father let me sip as a kid. It was such a smooth blend and probably the reason I drink coffee today.
    Oh, how my dad loved to dip his crueller into that coffee!

  10. Hiya Donna!
    Growing up in Nebraska we had a “Mister Donut” that was one of the original buildings in the franchise:
    http://www.mister-donut.com/welcome.htm
    They made the donuts right there in front of you. The coffee and donuts were magnificent.
    Have you noticed chocolate has also changed, along with the coffee? When I was a kid a Hersey Bar was absolutely incredible. Now a Hersey bar is chalky and tasteless.
    Are the products changing because of the economy of cheaper ingredients?
    Or are our palates just becoming more sophisticated with age?

  11. David,
    I thought about that myself. That maybe I just remember it being better than it actually was and perhaps it’s the same coffee. But I don’t think it’s the same coffee. I remember drinking it in my twenties and it was pure heaven.
    I’m convinced it’s not the same coffee it was twenty years ago. I would really love to know.
    I recently had a Hershey bar around Valentine’s Day and I thought it was really good. That might be because I don’t eat a lot of chocolate so anything might have tasted good to me!

  12. Donna,
    I think the rise of chemical additives changed a lot of the quality of our modern foods. 30 years ago there was far more human effort in making things taste good naturally with natural ingredients.
    Now we can replicate any taste in nature from a chemist’s lab much cheaper and faster than we ever could by relying on nature alone. I can tell the difference between a scientist’s hand a cook’s palm but maybe that’s because I’m always looking for the human touch.
    I find any sort of food that requires sweetness to make its notes is not the same as a similar childhood delight. I blame it on the rise of high fructose corn syrup, refined sugar and chemical sweeteners.

  13. David,
    i’ve never really thought about it. but the most wildly different coffee i’ve ever had was Turkish coffee. caught me by surprise at first but then got to like it.

  14. Hi David,
    Brnading myself as a die hard coffee fan seems less…I can survive on coffee I guess – if the climate permits.
    I had a dinner invitation once in one of myfriend’s place where the coffee was served in a tiny japanese cup – and it was a small shot – black.
    It was strong like hell but the flavor was just awesome…I can still cross miles to get some…

  15. I, too, have had Turkish coffee, Dananjay! It was many years ago and it was cooked on the stove all day and it poured out of the tiny pot like caramel. It was delicious!

  16. I want to try that cup of coffee, Katha!
    It’s funny how we change our coffee preferences here. In the Winter it is hot and black and in the summer we drink it cold with tons of soy milk — and when we’re in the midst of it we can’t imagine drinking it any other way. It’s funny how the weather changes your wants and needs.

  17. I haven’t had it since, Dananjay! I wonder where I could get some? I found it at a Pakistani gyro shop in Lincoln, Nebraska a couple of decades ago. The immigrant managers drank it all day long and used it as a “dollar tease” to play a joke on unwitting customers. The coffee was very strong, and most people hated it, so when customers paid a dollar to try it they usually spit it out. I loved it. They were shocked. I think I drank three that day and I made two new best friends. Ha! They closed a week later and I never had another bite of that divine coffee.

  18. David! They drank it all day long? They must’ve stayed awake for months!
    I had it about six years ago during a meeting at a client’s place in Ajman. it tasted heavenly, and had two servings. i tried it again a few years later at a coffeeshop and it wasn’t the same.

  19. Dananjay —
    Yes! They were always cooking it on the stove and drinking it in shots from a small pot.
    I’ve tried to replicate the experience in local falafel joints — but just as you said — the taste and the delight cannot be repeated.