In Search Of ... The Best Cup Of Coffee
By Ron B and Tom O
What is RonTom?
We are two "Old Timers" with a passion for aviation and a penchant for telling stories. The result is some aviation/flightsim story telling based on some real-world locations that we think are fun and/or interesting. We hope that this semi-regular feature will inspire you to learn or explore or fly somewhere new. (If you have locations that you'd like to have us visit, please feel free toe-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Coffee is now a global commodity, but coffee has a long history and is tied closely to food traditions in and around the Red Sea. The earliest credible evidence of drinking coffee, in the form of the modern beverage, appears in modern-day Yemen from the middle of the15th century, where coffee seeds were first roasted and brewed in a manner similar to current methods. By the 16th century, the drink had reached the rest of the Middle East and North Africa, later spreading to Europe.
Today, coffee is cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in the equatorial regions of the Americas, Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, and Africa, and the two most commonly grown coffee bean types are C. arabica and C. robusta (look then up ... pretty interesting), but this adventure is not about the nuts and bolts, it is about discovery ...
It is believed that Arabian travelers introduced coffee to Sri Lanka more than 200 years ago, as there are traditions among the Singhalese of its flowers having been offered at the shrine of the sacred Buddha in Kandy, but it was the British that started commercial coffee cultivation in this island nation in the early 1800's, and the climate in the central highlands of Sri Lanka is an ideal region to grow high quality, arabica beans.
These single-origin, smallholder cultivated, high elevation grown,washed, honey or naturally processed specialty coffees are loved by coffee aficionados. In 'coffee cupping' testing Sri Lankan coffees that come from different local roasteries, have scored above 86 points with chocolatey, nutty and berry flavor notes, which is a good indication of the stellar quality of 'Ceylon' coffee.
I'm far from a coffee aficionado, but that's good enough for me.Now, how do I get there ...
The flight from Des Moines (KDSM) to Chicago (KORD) was uneventful(as was the coffee) and for whatever reason the layover at O'Hare was like 8 hours! Too late for coffee once we departed but when it came time for the first cup in the morning, what a difference business class can make.
It is a long ride to Doha, but Hamad International in itself is well worth the trip. Awarded Skytrax's World Best Airport in 2021 itis a pleasure to behold and visit. Standard advice says it's best to get to the airport two hours ahead of departure time. Anyone flying via Hamad might want to double or triple that just to experience the place. Incredible comes to mind ... and the coffee was great!
A (too) short layover and then onward to Colombo's Bandaranaike International and the capital city (Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte lies within the urban/suburban area of Colombo). Much to see and do, but we're here for coffee. The last flight to Nuwara Eliya was perhaps the most enjoyable and the coffee-farm visited a delight.
Now, about the best cup coffee ... well, I think you're just going to have to discover that for yourself. The bean belt is waiting! Let us know where your favorite cup of coffee comes from (even if your own kitchen) and share the adventure in the comments section.
As for me (Ron) I've always claimed to not like coffee. It's strong. It's bitter. It's just ... yucky. (see photo 04 above)Now, with enough creamer and sugar and flavors it's drinkable but then it's also kinda deadly so ... I've never claimed to love coffee. I have found it interesting that, "everyone" claims to have, "invented"coffee; from the Colombians to the Sri Lankans to the Indonesians to the Ethiopians, "everyone" seems to say that their coffee traditions are "thousands of years old" so who do we believe?
It seems that Tom was siding with the Sri Lankans from days of the Silk Road (the prior RonTom feature BTW). I have a photo from Starbucks that says, "Ethiopian: from the birthplace of coffee" so that's where my FS Adventure is taking us.
I've been to Ethiopia (I mean in the Real World) a couple or three times and most recently I was able to enjoy several of the Traditional Coffee Ceremonies and oh my word! I am now SUCH a fan! The fresh,hot, fire-baked beans ... It was like the richest, creamiest,non-bitter, melted chocolate that I have ever tasked! Freaking Amazing! Mind blown.
So my FS-tour, noted here in this video:
It takes us from the Capital Addis down south to Lake Hawassa and all of the sights and sounds of Central Ethiopia.
Not just for the sights ... Not just for the people ... Not just for the food ... Not just for the experience but seriously folks, you gotta have the Ethiopian coffee!
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