I’ve jokingly been called a coffee snob many times, but I’m actually quite proud of it and see it as a compliment. Have done so for many years, and at least I can say it’s not a recent band-wagon that I’ve jumped on.
I started drinking strong black filter coffee from an Alladin flask visiting my sister and brother-in-law and being out for the day going around their farm some 25 years ago. From that point on there was just no going back to instant coffee and it quickly reached the point where I saved up and bought my first filter coffee machine and took it to my university residence room so I could have a decent cup of coffee first thing in the morning. After I got used to that, instant coffee just never cut it anymore.
What started out as something I really enjoyed, slowly but surely turned to something I love and over the years started to depend on, as caffeine tends to do to you. Especially since I’ve never really been much of a tea drinker, which basically meant that having filter ground coffee in the house was just as important as the other daily staples of milk and bread. Years later whenever we go camping, I still take a plastic filter cone and filter papers along so I can have my decent coffee first thing in the morning. The day just won’t be right if I haven’t had it, it doesn’t matter where I am. My brain just won’t wake up and I will not be a happy camper at all. Some of my friends thought it quite funny, this quirky little habit of mine. My family just quietly went along with it – anything to keep mum sane! It’s a bit like that bumper sticker – Just give me my coffee and no-one gets hurt.
A few years ago we went camping over a long weekend and low and behold, I forgot my plastic filter cone at home. As a compulsive writer of lists who has a list for camping gear, a list for food to be packed (and sub-lists for food to be bought from different shops and markets), and other little lists of last-minute things to be remembered, I hate forgetting or leaving something behind that I imagine I can’t do without. I’d remembered the actual coffee as well as the filter papers, but left the cone at home. This was a disaster. I was devastated! (Such first world problems.) The filter papers without the plastic cone are useless!! I made such a miserable, pathetic sight waking up the first morning there and not being able to have my usual, dependable morning-caffeine-perk-up-fix that Ironman decided that intervention was required and he fashioned me a filter cone from aluminium foil (which I had thankfully not left at home). I loved that cup of coffee so much, thanks to my husband who claims he’s no good with DIY (which makes me think I should find myself in a miserable and pathetic state more often). It saved me and my (and his) camping trip as order (and my sense of humour) was once again restored.
As time went by I realised that my favourite coffee is still that first one in the morning. Coffee pods never really held much appeal to me, I just love my espresso strength filter coffee, and equally my filter coffee machine that has a timer so I can prepare and set the machine every evening for the following morning’s coffee. What a treat! Great is my disappointment when I have, for some reason or another, messed up the process and put water in the machine and no coffee, only to wake up to a brew of hot water waiting for me, or the timer is out and the perculator is still counting down the time to start, while I’m standing in front of it having stumbled out of bed and unable to do anything else until I’ve had my first cup, or if (after careful calculation the previous night of how many cups will be needed in the morning, taking the other coffee drinkers in the house into account) I get to the coffee machine in the morning and Ironman has had more than his fair share. Instant sense of humour failure! He clearly hasn’t read that bumper sticker…
And then I lost my precious plastic filter cone (the camping solution). This was very concerning and with a camping trip in Namibia coming up (with no freshly brewed morning coffee available unless you made your own), there was really only one solution, and that was to get hold of another one before the trip. I searched the shops, from grocery store to grocery store to homeware store; my sister searched in shops in Namibia and I finally tried Google (of course), and found a lovely shop in Perth that had one in stock, and would keep it for me. I made sure I went in on my first day off work and got it and was so relieved! Surprised also, that this particular form of coffee making is not popular enough for stores to sell this filter.
Morning coffee in the making at our campsite at Brandberg, Namibia, April 2014
The filter cone has gone along on every camping (and other overnight road) trip we’ve done since, until we did our first interstate Australian trip to Tasmania with the kids last year by plane, and there was no space to take it along! I wasn’t too worried as I thought I’d be able to get a fresh coffee every morning, but we drove around a fair bit and I never got that first cup in the morning, until my dear son bought me a one-cup plunger in Hobart for mother’s day (probably by that time in desperation to reverse my caffeine-withdrawal symptoms), which once again saved me. That little plunger has since been forgotten to be taken to Broome – horror! – (yes, I was told by my youngest in no uncertain terms that she was very disappointed in me for forgetting it, to which my reply was that I was even more disappointed in myself), but been to Melbourne, Canberra and Orange and made me very, very happy!
I didn’t think my dependence had gotten any worse until a coffee van stopped outside work a couple of weeks ago, and my first reaction was: YES, thank you! I got myself a cappuccino and walked back inside, announcing that I cannot afford to buy one every day, and I should most definitely not get used to this. The only problem is that that cappuccino was perfectly to my taste, and the next time the van came around I got another one, and the next day, and the next day, up to the point where I now find myself sitting at my desk every day agitatedly wondering when the coffee van is going to come around as I really, really need that coffee, and the thought of a cup of instant coffee is about as appealing as some coffee-flavoured dishwater, and when it arrives I just about skip out the door I’m so excited! And then the coffee van didn’t come around the other day, and I was at a complete loose end feeling quite sombre and sorry for myself without my dependable cappuccino but at no point did I waiver and even contemplate having an instant coffee because it would just not suffice. So I have to admit that I’m definitely a coffee snob, and a very dependent one at that and can’t see it changing any time soon! I’d better go and prepare the machine for tomorrow morning’s coffee…