Smooth, Rich, Bold, Lousy.

After a whirlwind weekend gustatory tour of Toronto I was driving home, and needed coffee to stay awake. I stopped at Krispy Kreme donuts, which for a long time had perfectly fine coffee, and once again was confronted by the trio of horrible coffees that they replaced their old, perfectly adequate coffee with. The new Unholy Trio goes under the nom de suck of three vague adjectives: Smooth, Rich, and Bold. Each of the three is completely unacceptable in unique and sad ways. Decaf drinkers, presumably used to second class citizenship in the Abbasid Caffeinate, may only elect Robust . The Smooth blend is the least innocuous of the three, although that makes it the most subject to picking up the aroma of donut oil that pervades the Krispy Kreme shop (I acknowledge that this is not necessarily a flaw). The Bold blend is a nasty, overburnt past-French roast that makes Starbucks standard espresso roast seem subtle. It is thin-bodied and unbalanced, with no mouthfeel to speak of. The Rich roast is as bitter as the Bold, but adds an unpleasant sour note, although it has a slightly better body than the others. Your best bet to get through any of them is to try to gulp without tasting. I didn’t try the decaf.

The most frustrating thing about the new coffees, apart from the whole “they all suck more than the perfectly adequate thing that they replaced” aspect, is the names. The names completely fail to describe the coffee in substantive terms, so if I want to remember which one sucked in the least offensive way, I have to equate that to which lifestyle choice the marketing name describes. Normally, all things being equal, I’d go for the Bold roast, because that adjective best describes my dashing, devil-may-care attitude towards life, my joie de vivre, my trim physique and forceful yet attractive manhood. Too bad for me that this is the worst of the three coffees.

Next up I’d probably consider Rich, since who doesn’t want to be wealthy? Perhaps this “rich” roast could refer to my impeccable taste in wine, or my worldly travel experience? But, of course, the Rich coffee sucks only marginally less than the Bold, which brings me back to Smooth, which I typically associate with Smoove B (‘While you sip your drink, I will stroke your hair and tell you such complimentary things as “You are like a fine statue carved out of brown marble,” and “Your eyes are like pools of creamy Italian butter,” and “You have beautiful shoes.” You will know that I mean these things because they come from the heart, and the heart is always true.‘) While Smoove B is indeed a man to be admired, I’d never considered emulating him. But to get the least sucky coffee at Krispy Kreme, that is indeed what I have to do. So each time I want to get coffee there, I have to go through this process where I gaze thoughtfully at each adjective and ask myself “Which one of these would I least like? Because that’s the one that comes closest to drinkable.”

Damn, girl.

I want my old coffee back. Where once there was a thumbtack right in the middle of the triangle of good coffee, now there are three thumbtacks outside the triangle, in the Seventh Circle of Suck. Thanks, guys. Thanks, marketers. Thanks, Krispy Kreme.

Maybe you could get rid of your glazed donuts next time, and replace them with “Cloying,” “Obese,” and “Ignorant” versions, instead.

This is a reprint of an article that originally appeared at Tea Leaves.