I don’t know if it is a sign of aging or if the crops have gone to Hell, but for the life of me I’m having a hard time finding and enjoying a memorable cup of coffee these days. Actually it isn’t a new issue; it has been going on for a while. I’m just not enjoying my coffee like I used to…and if you know anything about me, you know that is a serious problem!
I thought maybe my taste buds have been damaged by years of really hot coffee (I like it piping hot), extra bitter IPAs or too many jalapeno peppers. Or maybe everyone, including me, has forgotten how to roast coffee. Or, maybe the coffee farmers have worked their land to the point that the nutrients just aren’t there. Maybe it’s just that when it comes to coffee, really, really good coffee, I have been spoiled over the years.
You have no doubt heard it said that “good is the enemy of great.” Yeah, I get that. But sometimes the reverse is true as well. “Great can be the enemy of good.” Let me explain. I discovered true specialty coffee about 17 years ago. I followed that rabbit hole for a year until it led me to a Probat coffee roaster sitting in the middle of a coffee shop in Ohio. From that day forward my coffee experience changed forever.
From that day till now I have had the opportunity to sample some wonderfully memorable coffee. Some of it I have roasted myself, some I have purchased. I remember a cup I had in Asheville years ago at Izzy’s. It was roasted by Counter Culture. Izzy brewed it up perfectly; best cup of El Salvadorian coffee I’ve ever had in my entire life. I can still taste the memory. I have roasted some phenomenal Hawaiian Kona, Jamaican Blue Mountain and Panama Geisha. I had 600 pounds of organic Bolivian coffee at my old shop in Indiana that was absolutely stellar. I bought every bag they had. I have opened up GrainPro bags of naturally processed Ethiopian green coffee (un-roasted for those of you unfamiliar with coffee processing) that smelled so strong of fruit that if you closed your eyes you would swear you had your nose stuck in a box of Fruit Loops. Phenomenal stuff.
So maybe I’ve just had so much great coffee, that good coffee just doesn’t cut it. I recently roasted up some coffee and shared with a friend at work who requested some. I thought the coffee was “Meh” at best. He thought it was fantastic and has been asking for more ever since. Go figure.
What’s worse is that this phenomena doesn’t end with coffee. It translates to other important parts of life. Like motorcycles. I have never sat down and tried to count how many motorcycles I have had over the years that I have been a rider, but it would not be a stretch to say around 50. Let’s just say I’ve owned a lot. In the late 90’s I bought my first European motorcycle, a BMW RT. From that day till now I have only owned a handful of bikes not made in Europe, most of them dirt or dual sport bikes. Every time I buy a Japanese bike it has a short life in my garage, no matter how good it is. Take the Yamaha FJR for example. Nice bike. Lots of power…rolls like a freight train when you twist the throttle. Handles pretty decent for a heavy bike too. I’ve chased sport bikes on it more than once. Didn’t even make it a year. I traded it on…a Ducati.
Since that time I’ve been fortunate enough to own several more Ducatis, Triumphs, BMWs and now KTMs. While the criteria for what makes a great motorcycle is debatable, from my perspective these manufactures make exceptional machines. They have that undefinable something that speaks to your soul. It is like choosing between vanilla, which is “good,” and Comfy Cow BFF (a Louisville treat!), which is “great!”
And they are beautiful, or at least memorable in design. Consequently, every time a nice non-European bike comes out and I start reading about what a good bike it is, even to the point of considering buying one, I am reminded of one thing…I’ve owned many great motorcycles…I don’t want to settle for good.