Clear Espresso and Milk Latte

Brand: Asahi

Cost: 117 yen

Found At: Mini Stop

Suggested by: Spencer Wharton

When Spencer suggested this, I assumed that this was a weird gimmicky drink that I would only find on the Asahi factory tour. So, when I told him I would look out for it, I felt safe in the knowledge that I would likely never find it. But I was wrong. As it turned out, I only had to cross the street to the Mini Stop convenience store to find it. And, being a professional, I then had to buy it, despite my trepidation.

And sure enough, it really does taste like a weak latte – milk, sugar, coffee and all. It looks like water, it feels like water, and yet it tastes like a coffee. My brain cannot handle it. I keep trying to like it – trying to will myself into accepting that this is a perfectly rational experience – but I can’t. I feel like I am on an episode of Star Trek, visiting a planet that has transcended real food and now consumes everything in a clear, liquid form. I want to argue about the sanctity of real food – the emotional experience of drinking a real cup of coffee. This drink has no caffeine, no fat, no color – it is not a real latte, only the memory of one. It is the ghost of coffee past.

Yet as much as I may fuss, I can’t help but remembering that I made similar arguments against the Kindle, the iPhone, the iPad, Amazon, Netflix, power windows, and DVDs. My track record is not great when it comes to the march of progress. So, if the future comes clear, so be it. But while I still have the option, I think I’ll stick with coffee.

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