Monday, February 9, 2015

A study in coffee

Back in San Francisco after 24 days in South America and not having to go to work today (whoot whoot!) I've been asked what on earth I was going to do with myself. Well, the general answer is I haven't a clue but I'm sure I can busy myself somehow. My days as a lady of leisure have officially begun!

The blog posts are likely to turn to random musings about wherever I might be or whatever I've gotten myself up to. The serious international travel adventures will pick back up in April. Until then I won't be in one place too long and I'm booking up weekends and days quite fast around San Francisco, Philadelphia and a few other West Coast spots. While I have a free week in San Francisco I decided that in addition to getting some much needed running miles in, planning the European leg of these six months, and hoping the rain clears, I'd take on a research project. The topic of choice: coffee.

I've generally avoided coffee like the plague. On occasion I'd randomly find myself craving a Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino or even ordering coffee gelato but those were rare and far between - moments when I must have been so delirious from heat making me think I wanted coffee flavor to cool off. Any time someone would want to 'grab a coffee' I'd agree and then awkwardly have water, juice, hot chocolate, or maybe tea. Things are about to change and we'll see if I find myself with a new bad habit or just shakes from jolting my body with caffeine that's not in the form of Diet Coke.

A lot of people love coffee and San Francisco loves (perhaps obsesses over) fancy coffee and coffee shops. So while I was in South America I started to think that perhaps I should give this much loved beverage a chance.  This time away from work is supposed to be about learning and discovery so perhaps I might find a coffee drink that I could stomach and even enjoy. I also need something to do during the day and figured I might as well check out some of the coffee spots around the city. When there's wifi there's endless number of hours I can seemingly waste on my computer. I also have a stack of magazines to catch up on and numerous books I want to read.

Given that I'm new to this coffee thing and any time I've heard people talk about coffee or order coffee it's like a foreign language to me I determined that I first needed to do some research. Anything other than straight up black coffee or an espresso I could not begin to tell you what on earth they were drinking. I am most certainly uneducated in the language of coffee.  To begin the research I started with a Google search for 'coffee drinks' to see what might come up. Voila, a Huffington Post article called 38 types of coffee drinks, explained. It was a pictorial guide to what made up different coffee drinks. Pictures and then trusty wikipedia were a good place for me to start!

Now that I had my list of coffee options the very scientific field taste testing could begin. The planned approach is to visit different spots and order various coffee drinks, note what was good and bad, and determine in the end a potential winner. I do know that quality of coffee does vary from place to place so I will attempt to order the same drink multiple times before passing too serious of judgement. I'm starting with the basics and then will venture into crazy concoctions with different types of milk and what not. That's a little advanced for this rookie right now. I welcome suggestions for additional data points during this coffee study!  
Today's visit and taste test was at Saint Frank on Polk Street for a latte. It's pretty for sure... let's see how it goes down!

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