Stopped by Peet’s Coffee today for some beans. Coffee beans.

Despite living in the northwest, I’m not particularly into coffee. I tend to regard it as a wake-up drug and mild stimulant (and lately, a source of warmth). Basing my choice of coffee on taste seems about as intelligent as choosing an antibiotic by smell. And as many of my coffee fanatic friends point out, given my heavy reliance on cream and Splenda to make any coffee palatable, it’s doubtful that I could distinguish the finest Jamaican Blue Mountain from mud.

Yet somewhere in the milky sweetness of my last dose, I discerned a pleasing, chocolatey flavor that was tastier than usual. The beans came from Peet’s, a variety known as Arabian Mocha Sanani (above), so I headed over to buy some.

Naturally, they were out. I asked about alternatives.

“Hmmm,” said the nice lady behind the counter, “There’s our Coffee 101. It’s a beginner’s coffee, a mild blend of…” and she went on in this vein for several minutes. After awhile I realized she’d stopped talking and I was now required to contribute.

“I’m sorry, ” I said, “I’m still trying to get my head around the idea of a ‘beginner’s coffee.'”

“Oh, I know,” she nodded, “it’s hard to believe there’s anyone left who needs a beginner’s coffee, but you’d be surprised.” We gave a moment of silence to those poor benighted beginners.

Now, in the course of my (hopefully long) life I will have been trained in mathematics, dance, voice, piano, table manners, physics and all sorts of other subjects. Until now, however, I’d figured that eating and drinking were pretty much self-explanatory once I got past the sippy cup stage at 3.

Apparently not. I guess I’d better head to Whole Foods and get some training wheels for the cheese.