It should become clear by now that I have a certain appreciation for some of the finer things in life, and some really expensive habits when it comes to food and drink. I’ve already more than touched upon my fascination with fine foods, quality wines, beers and spirits.. All good things worthy of being enjoyed on a Friday evening such as today.. Here’s the thing, though.. What with working nights, alcoholic beverages are pretty much out of the question because no one wants a drunkard handling their shipments. Fine foods sorta become pointless as well, because there’s really not much fun about preparing a nice dinner, then chomping it down quickly before taking off for work..
So where does that leave our young hero who wants to spoil himself on a Friday afternoon but are so denied of the things he loves most? Simple, it leaves him with the third best thing next to food and alcoholic beverages: COFFEE!
Now, coffee is a beverage I’ve had a long, shaky, fascinating, confusing and at times downright dangerous relationship with.. And is probably one of the few things in this world I’d have a really hard time living without. Hearing that, I’m sure the first thought that would pop into a non-coffee drinking person’s head would be: “Why?” and truth be told, I’m not quite sure how to answer that.
Let’s be honest, coffee is an acquired taste to say the least, and there’s a lot of really crap coffee out there. I can see why a coffee virgin would look at a cup of your standard off the mill coffee and go: “Umm.. No?” – It’s a black, strong smelling liquid, harsh and bitter to the untrained palate, what’s to love about that? And why all this love?
Well, while we’re being honest, I started drinking coffee more out of necessity than anything else, for the kick that it offers. I’m really not a morning person and since my first full time job involved getting up at 4 AM, I needed something to get me going in the morning. Coffee seemed the obvious, harmless and legal choice.. So I started drinking coffee, of the worst possible kind.. Well, second worst kind. The kind that comes out of a machine and is available free of charge to employees at any transport/logistics company around the world (freeze dried such as Nescafe is still by far worse, but that’s another rant). It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t tasty, it was disgusting to be quite honest, but it got my eyes opened in the morning.. And as with most other stimulants, it quickly became a habit and addiction set in. And that, really, is the sad story behind my first many years of coffee drinking: An addiction above all.
But then something happened, my mom landed a job at a specialty tea store and started pushing their products on me: Quality teas, chocolates, condiments and sauces, and – above all – quality coffee. After so many years of drinking coffee, tea never really did become my thing, chocolates I don’t eat, the condiments and sauces were fun to play with, but I prefer making my own.. But the coffee, oh my, the coffee.. I started experimenting with different kinds, different roasts, different blends, and I saw that it was good. They say that your sense of taste develops over time and with age, and I think they’re right. At any rate, I started appreciating the different nuances and subtle differences in the smell and taste which is something I never really expected would happen. I discovered that different beans have different characteristics, that proper roasting of coffee beans is an exact science that I don’t want any part of and that water to coffee ration matters a fuck of a lot more than you’d think, I even learned that coffee tastes better with a tiny sprinkling of salt added to the ground beans before brewing(?!).
In a strange twist of events, coffee has gone from being something I’d down buckets of a day by sheer reflex and force of habit, to a lovely beverage that I wholeheartedly enjoy.. In moderation, even! Preparing and drinking coffee has become somewhat of a therapeutic process for me: I buy my beans whole, grind them immediately before preparation, savor the smells and the brewing process, then smell, sip and enjoy.. And of course, as with any obsession, it’s managed to spin out of control for me. I currently stock about several different kinds of coffee, from a simple Java Colombian blend that’s mostly harmless, over Ethiopian varieties, top shelf Kenyan AA stuff, and even a mocha blend. I have different coffees depending on time of the day, day of the week or occasion, I even have one that I use strictly for Irish Coffee. It is, admittedly, a little ridiculous.. But then, life is too short not to spoil yourself..
Now, where was I? Oh right, off to spoil myself with a good cup of coffee.. Whether drinking, or even savoring, the substance makes sense or not.. Did I really just spend 852 words rambling about coffee?