When in Rome...

When I go to Boston (which is pretty often these days), I either like to seek out the best coffee there is, or else I just shrug and go along with the, er, "local flavor," I guess.

Boston has yet to see much in the way of coffee culture, and the region's experience with "Seattle-style" anything comes largely in the form of the green mermaid, which has actually met with resistance in some neighborhoods.

No, Bostonians are Dunkin' Donuts/Honey Dew people, and I don't really blame 'em. No fuss, no fancy words, nothin'.

Today, waiting to catch a Gotham-bound bus, I picked up one of these low-fi coffee treats in South Station -- you know, as a proper New England send-off. As I was waiting to order, I noticed a sign with pictures of five cups of varying-in-lightness coffee on it. "Order it how you like it," the sign declared, and under this text was the pictoral explanation. "Black," "Dark," "Regular," "Light," "Extra Light."

Seriously, you know what? That's actually pretty awesome!

First of all, because even if you're not shelling out $5 for a coffee you really should be able to "order it how you like it," and second, why the heck shouldn't there be some easy, fast and effective way to just put it out there for people: This is what we offer, please select the one you would like. Brilliant!

The moral of this story is: Snobbery should in no way be required of those who enter coffee geekdom. It just isn't any fun that way.

In case you were wondering, in situations like this I always default to the old "light and sweet," which is how we're taught to take our coffee, growing in suburban New Jersey.

And that cup up there? It was great, sugar and all.