Tag Archives: food writing

Drinking a Cup of Ralph

Don’t be fooled. It’s not as good as it looks.

True or False: instant coffee is disgusting. It is as bitter as the Devil’s eyebrows and as foul as his horn trimmings. It is more profane than an episode of Jersey Shore and more loathsome than a can of Tecate full of slugs.

If you answered true, I’m sorry, but you are incorrect. If you answered false. I’m sorry, but you are also incorrect. This was a trick question designed to make everyone fail.

The correct answer is that some instant coffee is indeed a rank substance unfit for consumption by all things that breathe. Some, however, is just fine. For example, Nescafe, Nescafe Gold, and Starbucks Via are all brands of instant coffee that I would gladly give to my friends, family, and sundry.

I am an instant coffee believer. Some people who term themselves true coffee lovers may scoff at the fact I dare drink the black dregs of coffee crystal solution as they believe it all to be equally unbearable, but this is simply not the case. I’ve learned this lesson the hard way, by drinking a brand called Ralphs Instant Crystals Coffee.

It was purchased in what was later recognized as severe error by a person who thought, at the time, that all instant coffee would taste the same and that if instant must be purchased, it mattered not which brand he chose.

Despite its low sticker price, Ralphs Instant Crystals Coffee has extracted a terrible toll on my life as I’ve drank it day after day, waiting for it to run out like the freaking lamp from the Hanukah story because then new coffee will finally be purchased with rejoicing.

Its very name, “Ralphs Instant Crystals Coffee,” does not inspire any level of confidence, nor do the crystals themselves as they glitter in the jar like a pile of dead ants. And upon the first sip of an overly strong cup, one will immediately notice the desire to upchuck, or Ralph, welling up at the back of the throat. At that moment, the unfortunate coffee drinker will realize they are, in fact, drinking a cup of Ralph.

Yes indeed. For the past month I have been drinking cups of Ralph every morning, knowing that even Folgers would be sweet relief. The day of reprieve cannot come soon enough.

One day I will drink Ralph no longer. One day. But until then, the best part of waking up is finishing the Ralph in my cup.

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