This is my fourth year of Coffeeneuring. The previous three were great, but they were spent primarily within the safe geographical confines of MY Town while drinking nothing but straight-up black coffee. BORING!
Well, NOT NO MO’ as the kids say these days. This season, I will be traveling to seven different towns and exploring them by bicycle, which, as everybody knows, is the best way to explore a town or city. Then I will visit local coffee shops in each town. That will be the easy part of the plan to expand my Coffeeneuring horizons. Much more difficult will be the second part of the plan, which involves forcing myself to drink seven different types of coffee drinks. I’m very afraid.
I’ve chosen the City of Eagan, Minnesota to kick off the 2018 Coffeeneuring season. Eagan is one of the largest of the Minneapolis-St.Paul suburbs, both in terms of population and square inches. In fact, its total area has to be somewhere in the tens of millions of square inches. The city has a fine network of bike trails and several very nice parks. I parked my car in one of them.
Lebanon Hills Regional Park is a gem of a natural area with its forests, lakes, native prairie grasses, wetlands, ecologically-minded buildings, and hiking & biking trails. I biked in and around the park for about an hour.
At about 11:00 a.m., the temperature had risen all the way up to 38-degrees (F) and the effects of the pot of coffee I drank earlier in the morning were wearing off. So I used my phone for something other than taking pictures and I Googled the nearest coffee shop. “Aha, Dunn Brothers Coffee it is,” I said to myself.
When I first started drinking coffee–way back in my freshman year of college–I used to add that white, powdery, artificial creamer stuff. That’s how my boss/coffee-mentor taught me. Once, and ONLY once, I added sugar. YUCK! After a few months of drinking coffee with white, powdery, artificial creamer, I discovered the joy of pure, unadulterated black coffee. I have not consumed coffee in any other form in the ensuing 42 years. (Except for espresso, which is basically just a small shot of stronger black coffee.)
You’d think I would be curious about trying another version of that wonderful caffeinated beverage, but that’s just not the case. None of those coffee shop specialty drinks ever appealed to me. The ingredients sounded unappetizing, if not outright disgusting.
But my entire coffee-drinking world is about to change today. My horizons are going to broadened. At Dunn Brothers Coffee, I dove right into the deep end with a coffee that contained some truly ungodly ingredients. I ordered their signature Pumpkin Pie Latte which, according to the menu, contains “real pumpkin, real spices, and real maple syrup, all complementing our classic latte.” Not satisfied that they were ruining a cup of coffee quite enough, the menu continued, “This year, we’ve added our new house-made cinnamon whipped cream for an extra dash of the season!”
I’ve heard people speak of this Pumpkin Pie Latte in ridiculously reverent tones in the past. I didn’t believe a drink like that could really exist. I didn’t believe a drink like that SHOULD even exist. Now I know that is does exist, because here it is right in front of me. I guess I better get on with this Coffeeneuring experiment.
I wiped off my face with my sleeve and re-started the taste test.
I’m very sorry you had to watch that video with your head cocked sideways. I don’t know what went wrong, nor could I figure out how to correct it after uploading it onto YouTube. I’m also sorry for being so predictable. You could see the big coffee-spitting scene coming from a mile away, couldn’t you? And you knew I was going to do that no matter how it tasted, didn’t you? You were right.
The fact is, the Pumpkin Pie Latte wasn’t all that bad while it was piping hot–certainly better than an actual slice of pumpkin pie–but when it cooled off it was awful. And it cooled off quickly out there on the patio.
Don’t worry, though. I won’t be abandoning this Coffeeneuring experiment. I will be back next week with a new city, a new coffee shop, and a new coffee beverage.