Thoughtful comment by Tonx yesterday about the famous unreliability of memory got me thinking about what, exactly, I may have forgotten in my coffee days. Then, this morning, unpacking some boxes with a view of the Olympic Mountains in the distance, sharp as knives in the late autumn cold, I was searching for something to drink my morning out of and I came across this old mug...
Just the other day I was drinking from a different Washington mug, that is much more handsome but which doesn't belong to me. I remember thinking to myself, "Bummer, I should get myself a Washington mug, since I don't have one."
Well, I do have a Washington mug. I just plum forgot. And, there's something oddly appealing about the cool cheesiness of the one pictured here. I believe I shall make drinking from it a habit.
Anyway, a physical mug can be brought back with (near) perfect fidelity, and a memory cannot, even with the aid of cupping notes or video. That's why the most memorable coffees are a combination of objectively fantastic (just plain old good tasting) and then memorable for some other reason: the person you were drinking it with, the setting, the circumstances.
My favorite part of what I do is that it puts me in strange, interesting, sometimes uncomfortable, but always memorable situations. And then it puts coffee in front of me: sometimes mediocre, sometimes amazingly beautiful, sometimes terrible. When the beautiful and the memorable come together, that particular cup of coffee becomes more than the sum of its parts. It's those moments that really make it all worthwhile.