Would You Drink Taco-Flavored Coffee?
A foodie reviews one of CoffeeAM’s stranger brews.
By Erin Mosbaugh
I am a vulture and al pastor is my prey. Whenever I’m driving through the streets of my hometown of Los Angeles, I peer out the window searching for trucks slinging hot, meat-filled tortillas. Tacos are the thread that makes up the cultural fabric of my city and, at this point, the lining of my stomach.
So when I heard there was such a thing as taco-flavored coffee beans, I had to try it. According to CoffeeAM, the company that sources and roasts the beans, a “piquant,” spicy taco-flavored oil is added to the beans after the coffee is bagged and before it’s sealed. Right now, you’re either voming in your mouth or your brain is flooding with dopamine just thinking about the combo.
I am the first to admit that Spicy Taco coffee sounds like a potential culinary abomination. But my sorry-ass ex-boyfriend ate lox on French toast bagels, I’ve had coffee-rubbed steak tacos before, and I am a person who firmly believes that one shouldn’t not knock something until one tries it. So it wasn’t hard to convince me to try a cup.
Not only are tacos a part of my soul, but, like millions of other Americans, I am addicted to coffee. I need it to speak coherently and think in a quasi-organized fashion, and the anticipation of a jet fuel-strength cup is the only thing that gets me out of bed in the morning.
So you best believe I ripped open the package the moment it arrived in the mail and readied my pour-over to fix myself a cup. So, how did it stand up? It was actually quite good.
The scent is right
I got an initial whiff of mole, and then fatty, ground beef covered in Lawry’s® Taco Seasoning. But maybe that’s just because I knew what to sniff for. I stopped a few random coworkers — who had no idea I was writing an article — and asked them what they thought the beans smelled like. One said smoky vanilla caramel, another said chocolate, and a third said “really dark fruit” or even hot sauce. Random coworker No. 3 should get a promotion.
It tastes like Mexico
The beans had major notes of these chocolate-y chilis I once tried in a small town outside Mexico City. Were they guajillo or chipotle? Who the fuck knows. All I remember is my mom running around the small town buying tacos and giving them to the stray dogs in the street. In retrospect, I feel bad for those dogs because, like the Spicy Taco coffee beans, those chilis had a kick that bit the back of your throat after ingesting them. The coffee blend itself is robust and smoky, like the fumes from a charred piece of carne asada or al pastor sabered from the trompo. Again, I’m reminded of a complex mole sprinkled with sesame seeds. Shit, I’m getting hungry.
It’s better without milk
I typically like my coffee with a healthy dose of half-and-half, but I like this coffee better black. When I poured in half-and-half, it took away some of that smokiness that initially turned me on. Ultimately, this coffee smells a lot more like taco seasoning than it tastes like taco seasoning, which is a good thing.
Don’t go overboard on the taco theme
I want to tell you to pair this with street meat piled onto glistening tortillas, but I’m not going to. I think a croissant filled with dark chocolate or a fatty slice of cheesecake would work particularly well.
But you will want tacos
If there’s one thing these beans are perfect for, it’s whetting your appetite for some tacos. I looked up from my mug and realized I had spent 30 minutes on Yelp googling tacos, and it wasn’t even 10:30 AM. Sure, that’s how I spend my time at the office on any given Tuesday, but you get my point.