Coffee and Salt

Wild Coffee, Black Lava Salt, Cardamom

Today I had perfection in my mouth.

In one of the Blogs I regularly read the topic of Salt in Coffee is being addressed. Alchemy is always the center of action for Khymos, constantly looking into the basics and the achievement of taste. As I read their new issue this morning, I decided to drink my coffee with a focus precisely on the Coffee-Salt-Alchemy. However, for no particular reason I did not want to just taste what happens with Coffee and Salt, but rather add in some way to the observation. My choice was Cardamom. I took one Cardamom Pod and some Hawaiian Black Lava Salt out of my Coffee-Cook-Case. Usually I tend to use about half a pod for some 10-12g Coffee. Today I took a complete pod and about 20g of Wild Coffee from Ethiopia. Soon enough my palate thanked me!

An Essence is something essential. That is how I understand one of the most important principles of pleasure, which Nature and many Cultures offer us. If in Saffron, Vanilla, Coffee, Cocoa, Alcohol – especially in drinks with high percentage -, as well in Salts, an Essence, a reduction is often there, which enables the body completion of taste, while simultaneously protecting us from becoming victims of side effects. We ought to avoid great amounts of Coffee, Cocoa and Vanilla. The intensity found in these products forces us to consume them wisely and measured, while almost forcing us to enjoy them. Salt is a well-rounded example. Without salt life would not exist, but salt could just as well – sometimes in minimal, sometimes in greater amounts – kill and destroy. For the human organism salt is highly useful and destructive, it is high-potency, so much, that we always speak about a Pinch of Salt. As we well know, this pinch is a wonder. In the Bible, in the literature, in Mysticism Salt plays a huge symbolic role.

What happens with salt, really?

Gradually over the last twenty years I have developed the use of product refinement with and around Coffee. Being a creative person lucky enough to have grown up as a happy victim of culinary artistry by a Mother from Puerto Rican and Father, Grandmother and Aunt from Cuba, one learns much about when to challenge and push ones own tongue, and when to spoil it and soothe it. Hence I find myself between the high demands acquired in my youth and my creativity and experiments inspired by my organic and intellectual needs of today. Add to these a great collection of ideas gathered from suggestions and observations from people I have met along the way, leaving me with some lasting impressions. But besides a perfect mixture of Wild Coffee, Black Lava Salt and Cardamom, I decided to taste two regular cups of coffee from a simple automatic coffee machine. These machines with new technologies are almost able to guarantee the same result for two servings. In one of the cups I threw a pinch of salt and it was obvious. The bitterness was reduced, though not destroyed. Being that bitterness is a quality and character of the coffee taste it is ideal to keep some of it. It does not matter to me at this point, if there is an alchemical reason behind it or not (it may be the palate), but in addition to the bitterness reduction, the taste becomes rounder, fuller. The body of the taste spreads in the mouth with more density.  This underlines for me what Martin Mersch says in his Khymos article.

And with this true experience of pleasure another coffee rest became undrinkable. Here you see a man with a large snuffler, but clearly unlike Pinnochio. It was truly a good cup of coffee.

great unlike-pinnochio Snuffler / from the 'undrinkable Coffee rests' Series
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