Diatribe | Issue 20
Enjoying as I do a frothy caramel latte as much as the next/other heterosexual male English student at Otago University, I decided last week to bite the proverbial bullet and splurge, in the least pleasurable way possible, on a 10-pack of your Moccona Frothy Caramel Latte sachets, on special for $4.99 at New World.
The next morning I woke up, rolled myself a cigarette (cornerstone of any nutritious breakfast), boiled the kettle and prepared to take a welcome, brisk stroll into flavour country. I followed your instructions to a tee – I selected my “favourite mug”, measured out exactly 250ml of hot – not boiling – water, and began stirring briskly as soon as the water touched the magic powder (thereby ensuring both an even consistency and a nigh-communist distribution of what I assumed would be a tantalising caramel taste explosion). The coffee looked fabulous – a light, welcoming shade of hazelnut-coloured froth on top – and upon finding a small tube of chocolate beverage topping on my flatmate’s shelf in the pantry, I decided to indulge myself and sprinkled what I would describe as a sensible amount of topping onto my drink. I took a seat on my balcony (which is spectacular, might I add) and, lighting my cigarette and inhaling deeply, accompanied by the seductive fragrance wafting from my mug, took my eagerly-anticipated first sip of coffee.
Imagine my surprise then when my tastebuds were greeted with what I immediately believed to be caramel-scented, turgid dishwater. I can state without hyperbole that the contents of my cup would finish runner-up in a taste-test against a reconstituted turd. Disgusted, I poured half the coffee off the balcony instantly, getting rid of the foam and revealing that a substantial portion of my drink had taken on a form aptly described by my flatmate as “what it would look like if you could piss shit”.
Now I feel violated. We expect this sort of nonsense from herbal tea; unless one happens to be a pretentious fine-arts wanker it is widely accepted wisdom that herbal tea is to hot beverages what homeopathy is to medical science. But not coffee. Coffee is good. Coffee helps me. It brings me up when nothing else can. I’m not sure why I hated your product so – perhaps caramel lattes are simply not me. Perhaps, subconsciously, the Michael Jackson mug is NOT my favourite, in which case I have flagrantly flaunted your meticulous instructions and thereby accept full blame.
But I don’t fucking think so.