13 December 2022

How I (minutely) adulterate my coffee

I like coffee. Good coffee. I buy whole bean Age Sumatra from Peet's delivered by UPS every three weeks (free if you order enough, in my case 2 lbs.) We drink a lot of coffee, in my case, unadulterated (black). Well, almost. I also admit to being addicted to its principal psychoactive agent, 1,3,7-dimethylxanthene, usually called caffeine, which is also found (yes, it's exactly the same molecule) in guarana, maté, and tea among some other even less savory plants. (I dislike all of those, except tea, which is OK but not great). I like to say this is my last and only drug, which is sort of true, if you don't count theobromine (3,7- dimethylxanthine, aka theobromine). Which is the active ingredient in chocolate. Which I love almost, but not quite as much as coffee. 

If I didn't lose you right away, you might wonder why I said "almost" black. It's because I discovered a funny little trick which is, for me, while very, very subtle, literally the only thing I've ever found that actually enhances the taste of coffee. No, not chicory, which is an abomination used to make the very worst coffee sort of palatable. It's... maple syrup. Not real maple syrup. The sorbitol-based sugar free kind. What? You say! No, really. It's not artificial sweetener. It's sorbitol, a sugar alcohol which occurs naturally. And I use just a tiny squirt in a whole pot of coffee. Less than 1/8 tsp. I contend, and maybe it's just my imagination, that it tones down appreciably but subtly the bitterness inherent in all coffee, without appreciably affecting the flavor (sotolon is the principal flavor molecule, and it doesn't interfere noticeably with coffee at this concentration). Try it. Just a tiny squirt in the coffeemaker. 

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