While making tea for the team a few weeks ago, I started a conversation about a colleague’s cafetiere and this led to a comparison of coffee making implements. I have five I announced quite proudly, eight, he nodded back with understanding. Then there are the milk frothers (three) and types of coffee he went on. At that point, after muttering something supportive and full of common interest, I stepped away from the chat and walked back to my desk more than a little chagrined.
I had just been out-coffeed. While it may not be my biggest source of pride, I have over the years invested a lot of time in identifying, tasting and enjoying coffee. I own an espresso coffee maker, a filter coffee maker, a cafetiere, a percolator (Italian / Spanish coffee), and a Greek mpriki (a little pot in which you brew Greek coffee).
My favourite is Spanish coffee to which I was introduced by a flatmate when I studied in Essex. He used to brew it strong and we would have it with sugar, three or four of us sitting around in the kitchen in Tawney Tower. The strong, bitter coffee would last for a while and the lingering would be the most enjoyable part. More recently, I used to start my days with a coffee bought from Dashi at Bristol Temple Meads or when that closed down, from Starbucks (it opens at 6.30am). A coffee bought before seven in the morning would sometimes last until 11am.
Why am I telling you this? Well, a couple of days ago I noticed the description of my blog on Bristol Culture as thoughts of a coffee drinker. Not coffee lover, mind you which is always true, but drinker which is a little more poignant.
I gave up coffee for Lent and even though I had once listed it as my only interest in Facebook, I have only managed one post about it since December. No descriptions of time spent in Boston Tea Party on Whiteladies Rd while sipping away at a soy latte. I tried the flat white there once and it didn’t last long so not exactly a favourite. Bordeaux Quay has the tastiest coffee but it runs out too quickly. Black coffee at the Lido by the water of the pool, black coffee and almond croissants in Brussels, freshly ground coffee from St Michael’s Hill which I refused to serve to a friend who asked for hers with lots of milk (she had instant instead).
The last coffee I had was a large soy latte from Boston Tea Party, accompanied by a Moroccan Mint Tea Cupcake from Swinky Sweets on Park St. It was a delicious way to start my little sacrifice and the memory will have to last until Easter. Coffee lover, definitely. Coffee drinker, on pause with 13 days to go.
Until then my pleasure will remain vicarious but a big part of happiness is anticipation so I don’t mind waiting. I have already bought the coffee I’ll be drinking. Until then, it’ll have to be mint tea. Tasty, maybe, but not the same for lingering.