I’ve always described myself as a coffee lover or coffee fan; I would not say I’m a coffee snob. Here’s my thought process.
I’ll drink any and all types of coffee.
Gas station coffee, fancy coffee, automatic drip coffee, Keurig coffee, Instant coffee, Espresso, Turkish coffee, leftover coffee, Air Force coffee, fast food coffee, decaf coffee occasionally, and of course coffeeshop coffee.
I have been drinking coffee since I was 16 years old.
Most of it was really bad coffee, mind you, but dammit—I was drinking coffee because that is what the cool kids did.
See I was not your typical teenager, I was the poet-writing, deep-feeling romantic who just didn’t quite fit in and I embraced that about myself. I preferred the company of adults and the adults I hung out with drank coffee. Lots of it.
Mostly I blame it all on Adam Ant.
I was in love with Adam Ant at 12 or 13. His favorite drink was cappuccino. I had heard of it, seen it on menus, but had no idea what it was. So I did what any kid who has access to a full set of Encyclopedia Brittanicas (the Google of Gen X) does: I looked it up. I learned all about the name, the drink, and was fascinated. Now I wanted to try a cappuccino!
I asked my mom about this drink, she told me all about growing up in Argentina and how they went to Espresso Bars where you ordered at the counter, drank while standing up and then went about your daily routine in the city. Wow! I thought my mom was so cool, she drank every kind of espresso drink and knew all about the glasses they were served in and what time of the day you drank them. It was so much more than coffee. It was a culture. I was in love and I hadn’t even tried any of the drinks she told me about: Espresso, Macchiato, Cortado, Cappuccino, Latte, Viennese, Affogato. I was in love with the words!!
I was steeped in coffee culture as a child of an Argentine and had access to espresso on the regular as my parents owned a small home machine. I watched as they would grind the beans into a fine powder, fill the odd-shaped metal thing with a handle (Portafilter, I was a kid and had no idea all these parts had names, and each glass had a name) with the coffee powder, then smash the powder, stick the thing into the machine, place the very small glass under the odd metal thing, push a button and a few minutes later, dark foamy liquid started spilling out of the odd metal thing.
My mom would say, “look at that crema!” She seemed happy about this so that must mean it’s good. Then they would steam some milk and add just the smallest scoop of foam to the drink. My mom would take the “demi tasse” mug, give it a “profundo” inhale and say, “now that’s a coffee.”
Me, me, me. I’m next!! I would say. I want a cappuccino. It was my turn now and I would watch the same process again. Grind the coffee. Bang the metal thing, fill the metal thing, insert the metal thing, push the button, and bam, espresso comes out. Steam some more milk, add the milk and foam, tah dah cappuccino.
Next thing I knew I was hanging out at local Cafes and Espresso Bars drinking my cappuccinos and writing. The problem was these coffee shops weren’t always open all hours so I had to find other places that served coffee all night. I went to Denny’s, Bob’s Big Boy, Carrow’s, and other late night places to write and drink coffee.
The coffee was not good, but I drank it nonetheless.
I learned to drink any coffee and manage to make it palatable with cream and sugar. If I was a coffee snob I would be very disappointed by every coffee that I didn’t make. And I would have horrible coffee experiences around the world. Well I did have a few of those, but that is a blog for another time.
As I grew up I learned more and more about coffee, roasting, origins, cupping, and the different coffee cultures around the world.
I loved coffee so much I wanted to have my own coffee shop and live above it. At one time I wanted to have a Yoga/Coffee Shop on the beach in some tropical location and then I did have a coffee shop. (See https://coffeefitnessunicorn.com/2019/10/21/heartsleeves-coffee-comes-to-oc/). I had a life-changing soy cappuccino from the sexiest barista alive and we have coffee together on the daily. So thank you Mom, Adam Ant and Brandi for sharing your love of coffee.
My dreams changed over the years, but my love of coffee has never waned.
Once a coffee lover, always a coffee lover.