I love coffee and make no bones about it. I don’t drink instant coffee, ever, but I will settle for a filter coffee if needs be.
At home we have a large cafetiere, 3 Bialetti stove top pots- one small one each for Him and me to enjoy our different coffees, and a larger one when we are in the mood for sharing. We also have a Nespresso machine and I have an Aeropress and small cafetiere at work.
I have decreed that if I absolutely had to make the choice between giving up coffee or alcohol I would give up alcohol. I’m not a coffee addict, however, as 3 cups a day satisfies my caffeine intake and taste sensations, but I do not believe I want to spend life without coffee. I know I could and often think I should give up alcohol, but hey ho!
It has to be strong, nothing less than a 4 for ground coffee, and anything up to 11 for the Nespresso machine. The numbers do not equate to the strength of caffeine just the strength of flavour.
So all well and good when I am at home, but the trouble comes when trying to get a decent coffee when travelling. When J and I were in New York we had to go to a Nespresso bar to get a decent cup: the average coffee shop sold watered down, over-stewed filter coffee. It was grim.
Spain and Tenerife can be hit and miss. France usually gets it spot on, as did Venice. Finally I had a proper Cafe Americano: a double shot of espresso with a small jug of hot water to dilute to my taste. There is a story that the name Americano was devised during WW2 when the GIs were struggling to drink the thick, heavy black espressos the Italians love and so asked for hot water on the side. This has never been officially confirmed, but makes a good tale.
Suffice to say I savoured every minute of it.
However when He and I queued for coffee at Marco Polo Airport, Venice, at 0550 this morning I was disgusted with the offering I was given. The baristas were charming and had enough English, which was just as well as I have the tiniest amount of Italian. I watched three guys in front of us get their espressos and croissants and waited patiently. The customers before us were Italian and, judging by the chat, regular visitors to this coffee stand. They had their coffees in proper cups. It was all looking good.
But then – horror, not only did our coffee come in paper cups, but mine was as far removed from an Americano as the shit served in the big chains – Costa and Starbucks.
We got home around 1030 after a brief stop at Ocean Terminal to change a birthday present. Having successfully swapped the shirt for a better fit, He asked if I would like a coffee to take home in the car. I could smell it all around and my mouth was watering but I decided that I would rather wait and have a decent coffee at home. Worth waiting for.
Coffee Culture – a poem
Coffee shops on every corner of every street in every town
conglomeration, globalisation and a serious watering down.
Thick with cream, bubbling milk and sugar by the tonne –
that isn’t coffee but a hot sweet drink and just shouldn’t be done.
Grind the beans, inhale the scent and it’s a work of art
Stay a while, sit and chat and feel it from your heart.