To those of us bred on steaming hot south Indian filter coffee, even Starbucks sucks. Cannot palate their latte. The turmeric latte, the pumpkin spice (cold), chai latte, mocha everything is bland to us. (I have been to Starbucks in the US but never in India. Its Coffee Day for us in Chennai). But I found a scintillating coffee in a truck shop when we drove down the Rainiers: it was hot Hazelnut coffee at its best. Of course we can never have anything filter coffee-hot other than in Tamil Nadu, still this by far is the best given the chilly mountain air (and as Seattle is the Swiss of the States). I have tried hazelnut coffee brewed with the Middle east/Arab coffee. Arabs always have either cardamom or hazelnut in their coffee. So I take care not to buy either by mistake because it makes for lousy Indian filter coffee. Flavoured, but strange. Somehow I guess the mix is not perfect. But then theirs (Arabs) is just coffee, black coffee or karak coffee (like the karak chai they have) not milky like our Indian filter coffee. (By the way the word ‘chai’ from India is now international. it means kind of tea latte). Arab coffee in general I love, that I brew at home in Doha and buy for family back in Chennai. Its not Indian by origin, meaning it is not from Coorg or anywhere in India. Its mostly from Lebanon or Turkey. I alternate Arab coffee with coffee from Marks & Spencer that sell best grade 5 (darkest, strongest) Peruvian/Brazilian/Columbian. All these brews are minus chicory – a point to note. I never add chicory to my coffee like fellow Madarasis which means, I have to scoop more coffee for thick decoction. I brew my coffee decoction the traditional south Indian way (meaning no electric coffee maker but copper or stainless steel manual filter coffee maker which takes time to brew). Cannot do without my first cup of filter coffee in the morning. Its my fuel. So I end up spending more on coffee than others as I brew the purest coffee/coffee blend without additives to acquire the desired consistency and strength. During my Malaysian residence over exactly a quarter century before, weak Indonesian coffee was also something I got used to – having no alternative. It would be mild and did its job, no complaints. In Bali, got to taste the best varieties of coffee a couple of years back but then again, it was all so much Indian-like except perhaps for Kopi Luwak! And nooo! I did not sample it! In India i go for a brew of Plantation A and Pea Berry mixed in ratio 1:1. I see to that the coffee beans are roasted in my presence and packed. Coffee has to be that fresh for me, yet from experience I know, Indian coffee is so-so, passable, but has super rivals. So, my vote is for Arab coffee any day. It has a curious tangy twist (like some metalic twinge!) unlike Indian coffee – or may be familiarity breeds contempt for Indian coffee in my case! Arab coffee is an acquired taste and once you develop it, very difficult to dislodge! In the US, of course, I try the Brazilian-Columbian that is staple kind of. Recently was introduced to Mercury that is chain in Washington State and Virginia. Macadamia nut Mocha without cream was recommended to me by family. Had it hot hot! Omg, by far the best coffee I have had in my life I guess! Just wanna go back for my second mug! For all coffee lovers like me, I recommend the greatest coffee variant to my knowledge, the macadamia nut mocha without cream, which I am sure is not yet at Starbucks. My limited foreign travels have allowed me to sample coffee from different parts of the world. I do love the chocolate creamy, frothy, cold coffee etc., and the fruity flavours like strawberry and raspberry, or nutty like the soy, and even a dash of wine or whiskey with the coffee hahaha if that’s fine (!), but I do wish that it is the coffee flavour that comes out strongest and not the variations. Because if you suppress the coffee with superlatives, then what is the point in having coffee. You can as well have ice creams! Exactly this is why I just cannot get the Decaff. My personal preference is always hazelnut or vanilla and never anything over that, but my latest craze is the macadamia nut mocha not yet available in India.