Here are the facts. I was not a coffee drinker until college; I used it as a tool to keep me going. I won’t bother with the particulars of what I was doing; suffice it to say that it was a tool–like a lot of my college friends. When I met my exotic wife my nose started to turn up at drip coffee. It was odd to say, “No, I don’t like your coff-…I…er… already had a cup this morning. The best part of waking up, haha, you know the rest, haha…(Wink)”. Ugh. Sorry, mom.
I would not consider myself a coffee snob: I have enough hipster points against me, I need another thing to be snobby about like I need another pair of Wayfarers and the secret knock and password to that bar you didn’t know existed. I consider myself someone who appreciates a well drawn espresso with a hint of milk and a shy poof of foam on top. Ordering it as such makes me sound like a total hipster snob, but I don’t trust the aliases my coffee tends to assume. In Spain, cortado; in Italy, caffè macchiato; in USA, who knows what you will get.
I was lucky enough to befriend a very talented barista named Omar in Washington, D.C. during my stay there. He works at Tryst Coffeehouse and Bar in Adams Morgan. I knew exactly what I was getting when I went there because I sat at the bar and barked my order at him. He complied, but then he also blew my mind with a creation of his own.
He became aware of my love for spicy food and saw that the bottle of Sriracha at the house was quickly disappearing. To wit, his creation was perfectly aligned with my tastes. He served me a “Mocharacha” (name pending). It is a single, whole milk mocha with just a drop of Sriracha and a bit of foam. Gross sounding, but if you are like me, you’ll find it enchanting. Imagine a cold, dreary, sleety D.C. morning. You go into Tryst and see Omar, you sit and he plops a Mocharacha in front of your face. Grasping the glass with two frozen hands, you sip. At first it’s all coffee with the familiar echo of chocolate not far behind. You swallow–but wait, you can’t taste the Sriracha but you sense it. Its iconic, pungent burn dances on your tongue and high-fives your palette. The effect is not spice, just smolder. Just enough for you to nestle in its footprint after you have vanquished the rest of the coffee.
Moral of the story: Sriracha in your coffee, what can’t this condiment do?