Twist and Shout

Twist and Shout
Life is never straight (Joey Kulkin photo)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Vignettes from Vermont: Joe Around the World part 3



BENNINGTON -- Viva Mexico!

Day 3 of the 12-java journey takes us from New Orleans, Louisiana, to the Veracruz state in Mexico, for a pot of "Coatepec" beans. A cup of Coatepec coffee is known to be "very smooth with light acidity, nutty flavor and a clean, crisp finish."

Before I continue, the red bar above is the hour-plus WNYC interview between Alec Baldwin and Billy Joel. I listened to it in bits and pieces the last few weeks and finally dedicated my full attention at 6:30 this morning. It's fantastic, especially when you listen to Billy explain his musical arc. He also captured the essence, I think, of why America absolutely devoured The Beatles vis-a-vis JFK's assassination.

If you have 65 minutes, turn off your phone, tune out the rest of life and enjoy the ride Alec and Billy take you on. It's a hearty dose of Americana at its finest. Not to mention it's great for young journalists looking for examples on how to sharpen their interviewing skills, because Alec engages Billy in a way that elicits natural, funny and insightful conversation.

So ... Coatepec coffee.

Within a minute of the brew I knew I'd like this more than the Ethiopian Harrar and Louisiana Blend, by the smell of it. It took me back to boyhood, '80, '81, '82, about that era. It smelled like the coffee my dad brewed on Saturday and Sunday mornings. I doubt it was the same kind of beans, but there was a familiarity with the aroma.

I agree with the "very smooth" and "clean, crisp finish" descriptions but can't quite taste the nutty flavor. Maybe nutty don't taste nutty. Either way, Coatepec gets 3.75 perks out of 5.

Coatepec is 1,293 miles from New Orleans, or about 24 hours by car. To get there you'd hug the roads around the northern and western edge of the Gulf of Mexico then head south, as if you're drawing the left side of a heart with the rubber of 4 tires.

In Texas you'd drive through Sugarland, Corpus Christi and Harlingen (at the border) then cross into Mexico at Matamoros and continue south through Valet Hermoso, Tuxpan, Poz Rica de Hidalga, Papantla, Xalapa and finally into Coatepec -- known as the coffee capital of Mexico -- in the state of Veracruz.

I'd love to take that ride.

For the last few weeks I've been taking a much harder and time-intensive ride on a much different road -- the Information Superhighway. The website for Fiddlehead at Four Corners is scheduled to launch Friday.

Spread the word: www.getartbehappy.com.

Day 4 of the java journey is tomorrow. Remaining flavors are Brazilian Bahia, Colombian Huila, Costa Rican Tarrazu, Euro-Espresso Blend, French Roast Blend, Guatemalan Amatitlan, Hawaiian Isle Blend, Kenya AA and Sumatra Mandheling.