First off – what is coffee?
Well coffee doesn’t dissolve instantly in water. It can’t be stored in a jar in powdered form and you can’t squeeze it out of a tube. There are a lot of ‘coffee flavoured’ and ‘coffee style’ things you can do this with, but coffee isn’t one of them.
Ok, yes I am a coffee snob – there is even a club for us. There are a lot more coffee snobs than you’d imagine. Have you ever had anyone round for dinner and fellowship who says “oh, no thanks, trying to cut down, I’ll just have water” whenever you bring out that special jar of Moccona?
This IS the same person you see daily in the city finishing a quick ristretto with their right hand and picking up a take-away flat white with their left. If you know this person then there is a very good chance that they too are a coffee snob.
There are fundamentalist coffee snobs – these own the conical burr grinders, espresso machines that Harvey Norman and Myer have never heard of, and custom made tampers. They buy their coffee freshly roasted and have done a barista course.
Then there are the extremists. These people roast their own green beans, and collect bean stocks like kids collect stamps. “Oh, this is my Panamaria, and this bag here has my Elgon AA – very nice, almost organic, that is the 2004 monsooned robusta I use as a blend base and this is the latest cup of excellence from Guatamala”.
Coffee extremists burn with a passion for their beans, and some may even have a shrine in dedication. Most though have at the very least – a wok that was their first roasting vessel, a cheap popcorn popper, a more expensive popper, a 17 year old ‘West bend poppery’ popper that they bought on Ebay for $150 (incl. freight from the USA) with a 110v to 240v transformer (it cost $18.55 new in 1989), a heat gun, stainless steel dog bowl, converted bread machine or even an I-roast, gene-roast or Hottop domestic coffee roaster.
I am a coffee snob extremist – I’m pretty new at it so I don’t own all the gear yet but I am using me second popper and working at converting a bread machine.
So why bother?
There is nothing, nothing at all like the taste and smell of really fresh coffee – to buy fresh coffee in the city you really have to know where you are going. I spent two year wandering the streets of Perth each morning before work sampling espresso before I found a coffee shop that suited me.
Then I moved offices to West Perth and had to start all over again. It did not take as long this time because I knew what I was looking for.
13 years ago I did not like coffee. My only exposure was to NescrapÃƒÂ© and I was not happy, not happy at all Jan with what I found in a cup of that.
So, no coffee for me – just tea or water until I went overseas to a country where small cups of very strong, very sweet coffee are served as the basis of hospitality whenever you enter anyone’s house. Also these people get offended if you don’t like their coffee.
I drank the coffee.
I liked the coffee.
I asked for more – they were pleased and smiled a lot. I couldn’t understand what they were saying but the bonhomie of universal coffee brotherhood had filled me and I didn’t care.
I stayed awake for a while after that but only for two or three days.
From that point I was on a mission to find and drink strong black coffee.
There were a couple of low points in this journey – I went to work in western Queensland to a small town – there was a cafÃƒÂ©. They had a coffee machine. I was hopeful.
While waiting to order (some kids had gotten in before me for some hot chips and gravy) I stood waiting and looking around the place. Old, high ceilings, peeling paint, a poster advertising the new hit movie ‘Tron’ that was ‘Coming Soon’ 15 years before and OH MY GOD SHE’S USING THE STEAM WAND TO MAKE THE GRAVY!
The black and gold variety powdered gravy. Congealed gravy had actually created a new kind of ‘cool touch steam wand’ coating.
“Can I help you?”
“Ahhhh, I’ll have a can of lemonade and a bucket of chips with Chicken Salt – NO GRAVY! please god, no gravy”.
To be continued. . .