Georgia — "Season's Best"

by David Cady

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They say the best way to enjoy coffee is with your eyes nearly closed, mouth forming a ragged "o", arms hanging limp and legs bandy. As a coffee reviewer, this is perfect for me, because this is also the pose that my tai chi teacher makes me do as punishment for being too chatty during class. She calls it the "senile orangutan." I'm kind of a master of it.

Once, when it looked like I was about to come to blows with a drunk businessman on the platform at Shinjuku station, I broke into the senile orangutan. He just stopped dead and wandered off. It works. You should try it.

It has been a long time — months — since I've drunk a can of coffee, so naturally I'm nervous. What if it makes me hum the Star-Spangled Banner in the office again? What if it makes me sulky or want to pull out my eyelashes? What if I try to fit the whole can in my mouth and my wife walks in on me? You wouldn't believe the stuff you get up to after a few sips of Japanese canned coffee.

I don't want to drink the coffee just yet. I can't rush this or the results will be unprofessional. I hold the can up and examine the artwork. It's a tropical scene, bursting with flowers and probably several metaphors for something. Two blue-and-yellow parrots hang out amid palm fronds and unplucked, outsize coffee beans. The birds, insatiable lovers by the looks of things, are gazing knowingly in the direction of the beans. They appear to be working up the gumption to say something profound.


As I am wont to do before a tasting, I touch the virgin can to my forehead six times while standing in front of a mirror. I then make several different faces, some good-looking, some ugly, and check my profile by angling the mirror just so. My face gets so close to the glass that a four-inch smear of condensation forms opposite my nose. "Close up, my nose is ghastly," I say to my reflection.

It is time to drink the coffee. I place the open can to my lips and consume approximately two ounces of room-temperature liquid. I feel my legs start to bow. My arms fall to my sides, and through fluttering eyelids I see my mouth in the mirror appearing as though it is fellating an invisible gnome.

The beverage is watery, milky and sugary. Jesus H, this stuff just doesn't change. I fill my mouth with the remaining liquid and shoot a fine jet of Georgia Season's Best right between my reflected eyes. My wife walks in on me, and I want to tell her something about performing ablutions, but I don't know how to say that in Japanese, so I just start laughing very loudly.

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