I’ve been entertaining a recurring thought about my arrivals in Brazil. Each time I return, just a tiny sip instantly triggers the immense pleasure found in the unmistakable taste. This is in spite of an exhausting overnight flight; in spite of being detained in immigration for an hour over a matter of a tiny unsettled fine from a 1-day visa overstay two years back; in spite of missing a connecting flight as a result, while the bureaucracy machine spins; in spite of a 2+ hour ticket counter fiasco, while attaining a later connecting flight. In spite of all that, I adore the taste. Not too sweet, not too bitter. It grasps me the moment I set foot on this soil, causing me to feel heightened, connected. Similar to the first sip of coffee. It plays a paramount cognitive effect. More so, the first 20% of that beverage generates a majority of the pleasure. Does that sound familiar? The tiny portion provides the sufficient stimulus to engage the mind in the right trajectory.
Over time, I drastically reduced not only the coffee consumption, but the expectation of the preparation method. Why be psychologically dependent when you don’t have to? The dependence, in the past, if left unsatiated, gave rise to undesirable consequences, mainly irritability and exhaustion. Now that’s less the case. Consuming mostly pure instant coffee in small portions, I perceive a similar effect to the larger, more potent servings from the past. The first sips recruit the majority of the pleasure sensors. The non-linearity of cost/benefit is something to always keep in mind.
On occasion, some randomization promotes creativity by the simple nature of varying the ingredients. I recently experimented with unconventional coffee ingredients inspired by the Bulletproof coffee recipe. However, I isolated the butter and the olive oil for independent trials. The coffee serving with a teaspoon of butter tasted uncannily similar to coffee with whole milk. The variety with a modest portion of olive oil, on the other hand, took effort to consume. Perhaps because I didn’t care to properly blend the two otherwise incongruent substances as the recipe calls for, but the coffee mainly felt and tasted like olive oil. You could say it was repulsive. But if we reframe the perspective, to the effect that we’re drinking olive oil with added coffee, we’re left with a satisfactory conclusion of olive oil with a slight coffee flavoring. Success!
I don’t know how all this concerns Brazil. Maybe I savor the experience all the more, in being only a part-time resident here. Or perhaps in still maintaining my largely stoic and reserved nature, the counterbalance keeps the experience fresh. The taste has not lost it’s spice. On the contrary, the spice is strong and lasting, and the taste, unique. I would struggle to deconstruct the recipe. And I don’t care to.