Tuesday, September 09, 2008

I gaze, therefore I drink

Today's edition of SSTOL is fueled in part by Starbucks Gazebo Blend coffee, which the folks behind the Sign of the Naked Fish-Tailed Lady describe as "created for summertime."

It seems a mite peculiar to be quaffing this particular brew on the first truly autumnal day here in Wine Country — dark, densely overcast, and downright chilly (only 57 degrees, and it's almost noon) — but it's what I have on hand.

Atmospherics aside, it still drinks quite well.

Gazebo Blend is an amalgam of East African coffees, which suits my tastes perfectly. Kenya, my all-time favorite Starbucks coffee, is native to the same region (and likely includes some of the same varietals). Gazebo shares some of Kenya's bright, acidic, citrus-like character, but it strikes my palate as richer, deeper in flavor, and slightly less sharp than Kenya. That makes Gazebo neither better nor worse than my old standby; it's merely a similar-yet-different sort of contrast.

What it lacks in Kenya's distinctive tang, Gazebo more than makes up in comforting drinkability. Starbucks suggests that Gazebo translates nicely into iced coffee, and I can well imagine that it would — although it seems a waste to me to suppress the flavor of excellent coffee by burying it in a blended drink. That's what the house blend is for.

Alas, Gazebo Blend is one of Starbucks' seasonal offerings, and I don't believe it's available at this moment. (I'm working toward the end of a bag I bought last month.) But toss a note in your Google Calendar to watch for its return next summer. If you like your coffee snappy and sunny, you'll get a kick out of Gazebo Blend.

Even if you don't own a gazebo.

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