Seattle Coffee Drinkers Are Spoiled

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Spilling the Beans is blogging from the road this week. From a hotel room in Moab, Utah, while sitting against the door in an effort to connect to my hotel's wifi, to be exact. Going on vacation can be tricky when you're a Seattle Coffee Snob/Addict; the Pacific Northwest forgets just how good it has it when it comes to coffee. So far, in four days of travel, I have found only one decent cup of coffee . . . and to be honest, I'm not certain if it was actually better than the other coffee, or if I'm simply re-adjusting.

Making generalizations about coffee in Utah would be difficult, since every place I have yet visited has provided a different complaint. At one, the espresso shot was pulled for about twice as long as it needed to be (mind you, the shot was not running slow, and this produced about 3.5 ounces of espresso). At another, the coffee was severely over-roasted. At a third, water quality interfered with coffee flavor. And so on. But in all of this, only one truly blog-worthy thing has materialized thus far: a list of the "Top 3 Things That Should Never Be Mixed With Coffee."

3.) Fruit syrups. About once a year, I get suckered into drinking an iced latte with something like blackberry syrup in it, before I remember why fruit syrups and coffee should not be mixed. This may be controversial, but I firmly believe that coffee is excellent when served with fruit, but not with (fake) fruit in it. Worst syrup I've seen in a coffee shop to date? Probably peach.

2.) Marshmallows. Marshmallows do not belong in coffee, regardless of how much said coffee may resemble hot chocolate. Marshmallows in coffee are sickeningly sweet and inappropriate. This applies to "toasted marshmallow" syrups as well. To my knowledge, nobody makes a whipped-cream-flavored syrup, so why exactly someone felt a marshmallow-flavored one was needed is a mystery.

1.) Styrofoam. It has been quite some time since I've seen coffee served in Styrofoam, but here in Utah, it happens with disturbing regularity. The most bizarre thing yet encountered on this trip was a Styrofoam coffee cup, with the words "Coffee Without Compromise" printed on it. Still puzzling over that Salt Lake City gem.

While the Seattle coffee scene is by no means exempt from strange or overly sweet coffee additions, nor from poorly made coffee, there is a Pacific Northwest standard of coffee unrivaled by coffee in most other states. In terms of coffee (and lack of Styrofoam), we Seattleites are utterly spoiled.

Count your blessings! And please, enjoy a cup of well-made coffee on my behalf this week.

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