The first time I ever made coffee in my life, I almost killed somebody. It was my sophomore year in high school, and I was the "singer" in a punk/metal band called Legion of the Dead. The guitarist asked me to make coffee at practice one day, and, never having made coffee and with no frame of reference, I filled the coffee filter to the hilt with coffee grounds. The guitarist took one sip of the black brew and gasped. "Are you trying to give me a heart attack?"
That's the same sentiment I had this weekend, after trying Coffee Plantation's Eye Opener. Located on Mill Avenue, Coffee Plantation is one of the few strictly-local businesses that still exists on the busy Tempe strip, and I stop in whenever I'm near downtown Tempe. In particular, I love Coffee Plantation's flavored Italian sodas with cream. But I needed something a little more caffeinated, so I asked them for the most caffeinated coffee on the menu. This is what I got:
Coffee Plantation's Eye Opener
Looks like: Muddy, sludgy water.
Tastes like: Dark espresso with a potent, slow-drip roast flavor. It also leaves a lingering, bitter aftertaste. Even after adding two packets of sugar, half and half cream, whole milk, and cinnamon, I couldn't get past the bitterness.
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Smells like: Snorting fresh Columbian coffee grounds.
Caffeine content: Aside from claiming this was their most caffeinated coffee, the employees at Coffee Plantation didn't have exact numbers for me. But since The Eye Opener contains both coffee and espresso, we can estimate. An average cup of coffee contains about 100 mg of caffeine, and an average shot of espresso packs about 100 mg, kicking the caffeine content in the Eye Opener up to about 200 mg, the equivalent of about two and half cans of Red Bull.
Makes me feel like: Running for Starbucks. The initial pick-me-up from the Eye Opener was good -- it's one of those coffees that goes straight to your eyes and peels them. But the aftertaste was so overwhelming that any sustained energy went unnoticed amidst the bitter film left coating my tongue. Fifteen minutes after finishing off the Eye Opener, I was yawning and panhandling for breath mints. -- Niki D'Andrea