I skipped coffee yesterday.
It’s like how I imagine putting your underwear on backwards must feel. Something, throughout the day, feels wrong, but you’re otherwise too distracted to pinpoint what it is, precisely. Fortunately for me and my underwear, I’d grown accustomed to putting the tag in the front years before I developed caffeine dependence, thus it’s either a task I can perform reliably pre-coffee, or my comparison is irrelevant and there is no difference. Let’s go with the former and not discuss the latter, else I must drop this entire paragraph.
As I write this, I have not yet made my first morning cup today. This will be rectified before I finish. Not sure what bean I will use yet. My supply of Café Mam is down to a partial measure, awaiting inspiration for a homemade blend. Does anyone reading do that? I would only presume to blend beans when chance brings me to the bottom of a bag with less than a full measure, but it occurred to me there must be others who not only blend at home, but who may even do so with something approaching carefree abandon. I am much too solemn about the ritual of preparation to consider this. However it would be interesting to hear if it is something in which you partake.
No less than a Japanese tea ceremony, the act of making coffee has become ritual for me. I can, have and will again make multiple cups for me and friends. Two works best as I can set up the first and grind and hold the second for quick completion once my cone is free and rinsed, but on a purely soul-serving basis, I prefer to make a single cup, to tend carefully to each step of the process.
A confession: In the mid-1980s I did use a cone filter brewing system, stumbling upon it, basically. Prior to that, my first round in college was the typical spartan student’s existence and one of the few creature comforts during that time was a small jar of Maxwell House crystals, easily hidden from scavenging roommates (Hint: there was a ledge inside and over my closet door). Basking in the comparative affluence of pizza delivery after school had ended, I acquired cone and carafe and began making pots of coffee in a similar manner to the single-cup method in which Yvette of Klekolo World Coffee has tutored me and served you. Of course, without such tutelage, I imagine the literal un-affluence of pizza delivery had me scrimping on beans, but that injustice is fortunately long-lost to history.
Sorry. Took longer than expected. The cat needed feeding. That cat —–>
Sweet Love is the cup du jour.
While in preparation – boiling, grinding, waiting – the aroma and the steps in the process themselves connected me with the apartment in which I lived back in those aforementioned mid-80s. It was a studio apartment at the back of an old Victorian brick house. Mine was the southeast corner on the main floor, backing onto a tree-lined yard, albeit mostly used as a parking lot. The apartment was very close to downtown, a 12 minute walk to the market, where I purchased my beans. The little open apartment filled with the aroma of the brewing coffee and whatever else I might be preparing. This morning I recalled bacon, a hazy summer morning, a bit overcast but not without a touch of sunny glow. Eggs would follow, after the first cup was in progress. Bach filled the little room and leaked onto the back porch through the clacky wooden door, through which I would follow to sit outside to enjoy the morning and breakfast, before the day got overly humid or started to rain. The place was among my favourite places to live.
Such is the magic of the ritual of preparation today, that I can connect through a single cup with the sensations, scents, sights and sounds of these past days, so clearly.
All I recall of the freeze-dried crystals is the ledge inside and over my closet door.
Drinking: Sweet Love
Listening: Glenn Gould, Goldberg Variations, 1981