Musings of a Coke drinker in a Coffee World
As an observer of the world, I can’t but be bewildered by this fabulous drink. I can’t stand it personally, that’s my mum’s fault, but the whole hullabaloo surrounding this mix of roasted seed with water is incredibly entertaining.
Let’s start with the Espresso. People love the Espresso. They like to say Espresso. “Have you been to Italy? I love their Espresso”. “This is an italian Espresso machine”. “I remember Rome, near Piazza Fontana, there is a cafe named Trevi, they have the best Espresso. Illy, I think it’s called…”
Italy. Not much coffee in Italy! Italian coffee is akin to Saudi Arabian wild salmon, Swedish bananas, Canadian kangaroos or Japanese hummus. You will be luckier to find an Italian emperor than a locally grown coffee. Yet, much in the tradition of fashionable pronunciation, the Espresso comes with a trans-alpine passport.
Then it’s the tribal nature of the drink. Espresso drinkers despise the Starbucks client, the Costa patron thinks the gourmet coffee drinker is uptight and pretentious, Canadians have Tim Hortons and they are nice, so their connoisseurs only hate on other Canadians, Arabs drink Turkish coffee in droves, and Turks are permanently awake.
However, they all could live without the decaf drinker. Hello! The barista pretty much vomits the name upon order. Espresso? Yessir. Cappuccino? Coming right up. Decaf Latte please? Decaf!……………….. (l o o o o n g pause) sure.
I know because I have seen it. Often.
Too much sugar, too little, a bit hotter, more milk, a cloud of cream, semi-skimmed, tall, small-cup, ice, to-go, burnt, with a cookie, my treat, not mine, instant, re-fill. Ach!
And then, I see this frequently with… my wife, my mother, her mother, my one-and-only friend, the nervous work colleague and the coffee shop owner, they order something almost guaranteed to leave them unsatisfied. The coffee drinker is permanently disappointed. Apparently, this drink has so many variables that your taste needs to be in exact sync with that of the guy making it, and beg that he, or she, has had a good enough day. Or hope he, or she, intends to drink a coffee himself, or herself, on this batch.
Makes you nervous, it’s addictive, gives you withdrawal syndrome, it’s expensive, it’s laborious and leaves you dissatisfied. Go figure.
I do two drugs. Coca-Cola and Tobacco. Wish I did neither but that’s who I am. The first gives me weakness, bad breath and will probably kill me. The second is cigarettes. They make my bones brittle and slowly turn my brain to mush. Just in case the second one fails to kill me, the first makes sure my final years will truly be a burden for family members.
But they do satisfy. Reliably, timelessly, internationally and regardless of server, clerk, salesperson or shop. Furthermore, in the event of the product of my choice not being available, I know so from the start. I don’t have to light a candle, say a prayer, throw coins in a fountain, break a wishbone or have a birthday wish in hope that the… coffee, will be to my liking.
Well, that’s life, I guess…