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Sunday, January 9, 2011

Manhattan Special Espresso Coffee Soda

There's a gathering at the Lab tonight. Not only are the Kibbitzer-in-Chief's parents (Punctilius and Cilious) here, but my own parents--the Quaffmaster and Quaffmistress Seniors, the ones whose Shasta-buying habits set me on the road to where I am today--are visiting from their secret hideout in Topeka. RoTalMomska and RoTalPopska (suitable for the soda atmosphere) have not exactly volunteered for this review, but the restraints should allow them enough freedom of movement to participate.

This one was donated by the Mysterious Stranger. I was very happy to see it; I had feared that the Stranger had abandoned us. Had I not sufficiently expressed my gratitude? I'm not sure how to contact this individual, so all I can do is post, here in this public* place, my sincere thanks.

I have a confession to make. I don't like coffee.
Well, that's not exactly correct. I love the smell of coffee, and from my very limited experiences with it, I suspect I could develop a taste for it. However, I've observed what coffee has done to some of those close to me. I've observed their quivering husks, more or less undead, incapable of coherent speech or coordinated movement until they receive their morning coffee dosage. I won't go down that road!

Compared to some of what we've dealt with here, coffee soda should be positively ambrosial. However, my own ability to assess its coffee-ness will be limited. Fortunately, most of our other visitors are coffee consumers. Cilious, in particular, has had much to say on the proper making of coffee. Thus, we are fortunate that they are here to properly review this Weirdness.

Where and when: Donated by the Mysterious Stranger
Color: Very dark brown, almost opaque. Fizzy. Like unto a misty fen.
Scent: The coffee-ish smell is there, underlaid with a faint sweetness. There's a third smell, too, which comes just after the coffee. It's bitter and makes my teeth hurt. I'm not sure why.
RTM: "Eeewww. That's weird."
Nazgul: "Coffeeeee!"
LAT: "Smells like coffee."
Punctilius: "I'd say coffee on a binge."
K-i-C: "I was going to say smells like washing the coffee pot."
RTP: "I was...unimpressed."

Taste: The initial taste is quite sweet, fairly tart--almost citrusy. The coffee comes in shortly thereafter. It's bitter, but not unpleasantly so. Actually, it's kind of nice.
It's rather a lot like the Abbondio Chinotto, actually, although that had a stronger bitter/sour flavor.

This is--to my surprise--quite enjoyable.

Punctilius: "*Sparkling* coffee on a binge."
Cilious: "Now that I've tasted it, I can smell the coffee. It's not unattractive. I dont think I'd buy it."
RTP: "It tastes like my impression of coffee grounds. Cowboy coffee."
Cilious: "Cofee was quite a luxury in the old west, wasn't it?"

This leads into an extensive discussion of the nature of coffee. Whether cowboys were capable of obtaining coffee, how it would have been made, its impact on cattle drives, burlap, and other such topics are explored.

RTM: "It's got the same kind of aftertaste as coffee does." This is spoken with a not-entirely-approving expression.

Me "So this is a fairly authentic coffee experience?"
General assent.

This is a crowd which enjoys conversation, and it's been all I could do to keep them focused on soda for as long as I did. The conversation has moved on, and is currently careening past employment experiences involving coffee, relative caffeine intake, and dog adoptions. Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Marshall Plan are likely to come up soon, and so it's probably best to draw a curtain over the quaffing portion of the evening.

I do like this family.

Quaff rating: 3.0. Surprisingly enjoyable, although not really remarkable, except in as much as it is not awful.
Cough rating: 0.5. I don't like coffee.

*It's still public even if nobody is there.

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