Picture: My caffe latte served with my wife's Raspberry and White Choc muffin
It began with a shy look.
A college student with barely two coins to rub together, walks past a Coffee Bean cafe and wonders how his some of his friends can afford to drink a coffee that costs as much as two whole meals.
He looks up at the price list, steals a glimpse of a straw touching a pair of luscious lips, and sees the dark, cool liquid move up the straw... and sees the person's eyes close with pleasure.
And he quickly looks down.
"One day" he whispers to himself, "one day I will drink you".
It has been many years now since the college student made the promise. He is now a... well, he's still a student. Except he is now studying towards his PhD in New Zealand. He has drunk countless cups of coffee. Some coffees cheap and cheerful (and usually always upsetting to the stomach), some coffees more refined than others, and some coffees verging on being luxurious.
I am known as a bit of a coffee aficionado among my friends. My Canadian friend Brad calls me a coffee snob. Call it what you will, but I don't buy into the "All coffees are the same" philosophy. Because they're not. With some coffees you get a more earthy taste; with some a more caramel taste, and all the elements in between, with layers and layers of flavour and aroma. But you wouldn't know that until you've developed an appreciation for the dark, bitter bean. Until you've started buying whole beans, and grinding them yourself, enjoying the tantalising smells of fresh ground coffee.
Fresh espresso, self extracted, with self-ground coffee. That's the way to go.
Oooh la la...