Taste the Rainbow

Though it’s only just now noon (on the dot!), today has already been a day filled with disappointments.  My plan of sleeping in was interrupted by a pair of Georgian men throwing giant plates of sheet metal off a roof across the street.  I’m sure they had a good reason for it.

Then my plan to sip coffee on the balcony while reading in the morning air was ruined by the very quickly darkening of the sky and the torrential downpour that followed.

Once I had reconciled myself to a rainy Sunday spent indoors, the storm broke and the clouds blew away.  (Though the balcony is soaked, rendering Coffeeplan still ruined.)

But life goes on!  Things have been crazy busy for me lately.  From my part-time recording gig to my search for an assistant to my raging success on the TLG blog (Where I do most of my writing these days, alas!).  I’ll be heading to Sweden in a few short weeks to visit dear Joanne and there are elections all over the place!  October 1 is the parliamentary elections here and then, of course, November 6 is the US presidential election!  I’ve got my ballot and I’m ready to fill it out and send it in!  Hooray for absenteeism! (Or is that something else?)

Last week I made a curious and exciting discovery.  While checking out at the store with my chicken salad lunch (far too much mayonnaise that day), I saw a slightly off-color packet of instant coffee.  Curious, I picked it up.  Sure enough, I had discovered a new MacCoffee flavor!

To the uninitiated, MacCoffee 3 in 1 are a terrible collection of instant coffees that passes for “Coffee” over here most of the time.  They consist of powdered milk, sugar, and instant coffee in one little packet that you can just mix right into a cup of hot water and voila!  “Coffee!”  Last year Angela had a lovely French press that we used on special occasions (Rainy Sunday mornings) to make delicious Dunkin’ Donuts or Maine Roasters’ coffee that we’d brought back after Christmas.  She got it in our separation.  Though, to be fair, it was hers.

Over the summer, after hearing about the trials and travails of my instant-coffee experience, Katelynn, one of my SRAs this summer, bought me a parting gift of instant Starbucks coffee!  Caramel and Iced.  I haven’t tried the iced yet, because I don’t know how to work it and can’t be bothered to figure it out just now, but the Caramel was delicious!

Within a few days of moving in, my new apartmentmate, Hilary, had cracked one of those caramel babies open and loved it!  She was on the phone to a mutual friend of ours here in Georgia and remarked, “Wow!  I can’t believe that they have instant Starbucks Coffee over here!”

“They don’t,” Morgan replied, “Raughley probably brought those from America and can’t get new ones.”  While that’s true, I wasn’t terribly broken up over it.  After all, I have a veritable cornucopia of instant coffees at my fingertips!  Behold!

I call this the MacCoffee Rainbow! Instead of Roy G. Biv, we’ve got Rob G. Bv. That’s Red, Orange, Brown, Green, Brownagain, Violet! Imagine the paintings you could paint with that pallet!

It’s beautiful, isn’t it?  You might find yourself asking, “Well what the hell’s the difference?”  You’re in luck, friend, because that’s why I’ve come here today!  Let’s run through the Rainbow!  Rob G. Bv at a time!

Red is for Strong! Sorry, for “strong!!!” That’s right! The packaging includes THREE exclamation points!

Strong is incredibly bitter.  Basically, they take the formula of Coffee:Milk:Sugar and skew it heavily in favor of coffee.  This makes it way more concentrated and boy can you taste the difference!  My first year here, I can’t even count how many late nights I spent sitting in my kitchen with Marissa, Joanne, Pauli, and Cristen sipping strong!!! coffee so we could stay up until our flights.  So many times that I gave myself some type of acid burn and have been turned off by it ever since!  Having purchased one for the purpose of the above photo, maybe it’s high time that I give it another try?

Ahh, Айриш Крим, probably one of my favorites.

For a few reasons!  Chiefly among them is the fact that it’s called “Айриш Крим” which is a phonetic Russian spelling of “Irish Cream” rather than a translation.  Sure, it might have made more sense to call it “Ирландский Крем,” but where’s the fun in that?  It’s also delicious!  It’s got just the right creamy flavor to make you think of Ireland, where, as my good friend Treasa told me, “It’s just called ‘cream’.”

The standard. The stalwart. The always reliable. MacCoffee.

In the frigid, sleepy months of winter, I often find myself buying Original flavor MacCoffees in bulk.  I snake a ribbon of them from their rack where they hang by the KitKats and the Mars Bars and it feels like winning a bunch of tickets at an arcade.  You unspool them all and let the cashier count them, instinctively scanning the shelves behind her for what fabulous prizes might be yours, if only you can get enough 100s on skeeball…  At Chuck E. ყველის, the only prizes are condoms, lighters, and knock-off Transformers.

Green is Ireland! Oh wait, that was Orange. Oh wait…

This green fella here is Лесной Орех, or Hazelnut.  Now I happen to know that hazelnut chocolates use the word “Фундук” but I think that’s because Фундук comes from the Turkish word for hazelnuts.  Are hazelnuts from Turkey?  Either way, as certain folks who have spent a lot of time in Starbucks with me (Katelynn, Andy, and Nick, I’m looking at you!), I’m a huge fan of the Hazelnut Latte.  Back in my Georgetown days there was this super sweet beverage served at Midnight Mug called “Les Mis”. Midnight Mug was a cafe in the heart of Lauinger Library and all the drinks had literary names.  Les Mis was a Caramel and Hazelnut latte.  Eventually I “graduated” to the pure Hazelnut as the Caramel was so sweet.  So now my “grown-up drink” is the still-sweet hazelnut latte.  Or Фундук.  Or Лесной Орех.

Speaking of Caramel!

The inspiration for this entire post (So all credit and blame can be directed this way, thank you!), Карамель is sweet and tasty!  I found it in the shop the other day and couldn’t help but buy a pair of them!  I almost missed it, too.  It’s just a shade darker than the Original flavor packet and it would be easy to miss jumbled in there as it was.  It’s rather delicious and I wish I had more of them!  Maybe I will buy more…

I don’t know if Violet is really the right name for this color. But so I shall call it!

Last and certainly not least is lovely Амаретто!  My favorite thing about this one is its smell.  You cook it up and just let the almondy smell waft in your direction.  One of my favorite things to do on the caffeine-starved afternoons of March was to mix a Strong and an Amaretto in one tall travel mug.  You got the caffeine kick and the acid reflux of Strong masked by the scent and subtle taste of Amaretto.  What’s not to love!  Furthermore, Amaretto will always remind me of the heady days of Spring 2009, just after Obama’s inauguration when David, Haruka, and I would sit around drinking White Russians and Amaretto Gingers watching Korean movies.  What a time it was!  (And what a life I’ve lived!)

So there you have it!  Check back in January when my dear friend and Coffee Professional Nicholas C. Royal joins me in Georgia!  I’m going to make him do an educated taste test!  Then maybe we’ll mix them with alcohol.  But not chacha.  Marcia can attest that chacha in the coffee is a bad idea.

I’m particularly proud of myself for not using the word “robust” in this entire coffee roundup!

I think I’ll go make myself another cup!

2 thoughts on “Taste the Rainbow

  1. Oh, I have been away from this blog for too long. This post reminds me why this is such a tragedy. Here I am coming to see if Roli has any info on tomorrow’s elections, and instead I get a wonderful reminder of MacCoffee (and a shoutout to Midnight Mug).
    I had that confusion over the Russian word for hazelnut as well while in Georgia.
    Chuck E. Qkhveli would be a great name for a post as well, should such a thing exist.
    Enjoy tomorrow. Keep your head down.

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