Coffee

An Ode to Hot Coffee

Summary

I fill up my coffee mug, set the pot down, and the race is on. I want to savor each sip, yet each passing second brings me closer to despair. I want to move forward in a straight line, yet […]

I fill up my coffee mug, set the pot down, and the race is on.

I want to savor each sip, yet each passing second brings me closer to despair. I want to move forward in a straight line, yet this race is littered with stops and starts. Go too fast and I’ll get burned. Go too slow and my taste buds will admonish me.

I make progress, getting halfway through the cup, only to get lost in my writing. I return to the cup, thinking, praying, maybe it won’t be so bad. Maybe I can still salvage this situation.

But no. The line has been crossed. All good things must come to an end. Hot coffee left out eventually turns cold.

Don’t get me wrong, I like coffee in almost any fashion. Coffee ice cream, chocolate-covered espresso beans, and, if my wife didn’t finish her cold brew, I’ll probably have the rest. Or, if the stars align, I’ll order a frappe (shoutout to Aroma). But nothing can hold a candle to hot coffee.

The scent. The depth. The taste. Everything is elevated when the temperature rises. That’s why, no matter the weather, no matter whether I’m dripping sweat after a workout or rising groggily out of bed, I consistently turn to hot coffee. As soon as the cup gets cold, the entire taste changes, and not in a way that tends to agree with me.

I’m not alone in this view. As Cook’s Illustrated notes, “studies have shown that when food cooled to 59 degrees and below is consumed, [taste bud protein channels] barely open, minimizing flavor perception.”

From frigid winters in Boston as a college student, to my humid honeymoon in Vietnam, I’ve indulged in hot coffee. I even enjoyed hot cups of joe during a recent visit to Palm Springs, California, where the temperature regularly exceeds 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Iced coffee technically might have felt more refreshing, but there’s water and beer for that. Even with the desert sun beating overheard in Palm Springs, those hot cups of coffee still filled my nose, my mouth, my soul with a warmth that the ambient temperature never could.

And so, I implore you to not let these external factors dictate your coffee choices. If you’re really in the mood for iced coffee, or you’re just one of those people whose taste buds call out for something cold, I suppose I conceptually understand. But for those who delight in the steam rising from a cup of black gold, know that the experience can hold up in any environment.


Jake Safane is a freelance journalist and content marketer living in LA who’s worked for companies like The Economist. When’s he not drinking coffee to fuel his writing, he enjoys baking vegan goodies and exercising.

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