Sunday, 22 September 2013

I have a coffee addiction...with a difference

I am a coffee addict. I’m addicted to everything about it. I love the smell, the personal rituals, the sound of a real café espresso machine and the passionate way each person defends their coffee preference. I love the names; macchiato, ristretto, latte and of course the ‘event’ of having coffee itself. I love everything about it…except the taste. I can’t stand it.
My husband is Italian and having a ‘caffé’ is a big deal in his family, but unfortunately no matter how much sugar they put in it or how weak they make it, I still don’t like the taste. To me it mostly tastes like burnt cigarettes. (Not that I know what that would taste like but that’s what is conjured up when I attempt to suffer through a cup).
As a consequence I have always felt like an outsider at family get-togethers and social events in general I suppose. How can you bond with your colleagues at coffee time when you’re ordering a cup of tea? I have never heard anyone announce early in the morning that they were “Hanging for a cup of Darjeeling”! I wanted desperately to announce to the Barrista that I am in fact a “Double shot latte, no sugar”, not an “English Breakfast tea with milk”. My 32 year old Tradie brother likes to defend his beverage of choice by proclaiming that “Real Men drink Milo”. I on the other hand am not so confident in my request.
My preoccupation with coffee became even more pronounced during my first pregnancy. Maybe it was because I wasn’t supposed to drink it, but whatever the reason I was fixated on having a reusable coffee cup of my own and being able to stand in line at our local café with my head held high. My obsession did in fact culminate in hours spent pouring over the design of my own ‘Keep Cup’ but sadly it was only used as a receptacle for hot chocolate.
Just when I thought my obsession couldn’t get any more ludicrous, during my second pregnancy, I found myself watching a whole half an hour infomercial on the shopping network about an automatic capsule coffee machine. I had to have one!
Despite taking every opportunity to hint at the fact I would love my own coffee machine my husband would simply rebut, “You don’t even like coffee, that’s crazy!”
I reluctantly had to agree with him.
Then on the morning of my birthday earlier this year, I excitedly unwrapped one of the many boxes presented to me by my wonderful husband. I would never have expected it but there was my very own, shiny, silver capsule coffee machine. I was ecstatic! I cleared space on the bench and read the manual from front to back marvelling at this impressive machine. My husband reasoned the purchase by stating that it was from the kids, as he would never buy me such a ridiculous present. (Personally I think he was secretly excited about it too, he is a coffee drinker after all and he did ‘happen’ to include a packet of capsules for himself with my present!)
So now I was set for the biggest task of all, drinking it. I started out with the weakest kind you could get and as much milk as my cup could handle. My husband warned me that if I was going to do it without sugar that my conditioning process might be prolonged. Consequently I added a teaspoon of sweetener to the first few cups but to be honest it could not drown out the bitterness. So I decided to do it hard core style and tackle the bitter temptress head on.
Each morning now, I get my new dedicated coffee cup and go through the process of frothing my milk and preparing my machine. I love it. The aroma is wonderful, the ritual is calming and satisfying at the same time. The coffee is… well, drinkable.  I have tried three different coffee types and finally found one I can swallow. It has taken time and to be honest I rarely finish a cup. I have however finally managed to go to a café and stand proudly amongst fellow coffee addicts and announce “I will have a latte thanks”. So mundane to everyone else but a proud achievement on my part. It’s a lesson to everyone out there, set yourself a goal, work towards it and you too can acquire a new completely unnecessary habit.

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