Friday, August 3, 2012

Voltage: Amp me up!

I am not a huge coffee aficionado, I should state up front. Like most of the Eastern Seaboard, I am addicted to Dunkin Doughnuts and would probably vote for that over almost all over coffee concoctions. But occasionally I have a coffee that is just so superb and unique that I actually stop and think, "This is dang good." Well, at Voltage, I stopped and thought, "This is a frickin' masterpiece!" The drink was their caramel with sea salt latte. The setting? A post modern cafe with art installations all around, mostly populated by M.I.T. students with their faces glued to their laptops. And the fuel to get them through their cram sessions is only a step away.

So what is the art of the Voltage latte? It starts with the "pour over"...which I now know simply means that they brew their coffee the old-fashioned way, with little filters, cup by cup. Which is apparently infinitely preferable to the industrial elephant-sized filters that are used with Starbucks machines. I was a little sceptical, looking around at the sparse decor and a wee little cabinet filled with goodies, but I went with the sea salt caramel latte and a cookie, both of which were very reasonably priced.

I should also admit that very often I find the term "caramel with sea salt" being used to jack up patrons to the point of no return, only for them to find later that they have an overly salted, sweet mess on their hands. It's a very chic thing to call something these days. Not sure your cupcake will sell? Throw a little sea salt on the top and, Bingo!, it's gourmet. Call it "fleur de sel" and you'll have a tsunami of customers. Well, such are the musings of a Bakery Babe, at any rate.

But as I took a sip of a supremely smooth cup of coffee, with the sweet taste of caramel and the thick milk foam on top, a little crystal of sea salt floating above it all hit my tongue. And the Babe's taste buds went into overdrive. It turns out that the flavor of coffee, when hit just right with a jag of salt, is bloody genius. The cookie became rather perfunctory as I slugged down the latte, waiting like a kid on Christmas for that next hit of sea salt. It really was an extraordinary drink, in a town full of nice coffee joints where it is hard to stand out. If you like post-modern environments and are a coffee fan, may I suggest dallying from the red line just two blocks and having a cup?