Yesterday, Leah was telling me about her life changing new coffee maker, and I was reminded of a post I wrote over 2 months ago, and promptly forgot about because I was trying to find a way to make it less pretentious. But it’s a post about me being a judgey coffee drinker, so there’s really no way of getting around it. So without further ado, I give you, my post:
Sometime, back in December, I broke the glass beaker that was a part of our French Press. I was washing it in the sink, and my hands turned to pudding and I dropped it, shattering it in a million pieces as it hit the sink. A stab was felt deep inside me, as the collected voices of my caffeine addictions cried out, BUT WHAT ABOUT COFFEE?
The obvious solution was: buy another $14 French Press. But in all honesty, we weren’t really impressed with the French Press. Mostly because I made tea nearly every time I tried to make coffee, and it seemed to waste heaps of grounds. So I decided to just invest in an auto drip coffee maker. But the good ones are expensive, and there was always something else to buy or a savings account to replenish, and a great cafe on every street, making a coffee maker a lower and lower priority purchase. So we started drinking tea. Tea all the time. Which wasn’t anything to complain about. Tea has antioxidants and more often than not has more caffeine than coffee, so it wasn’t a bad trade.
Until one weekend, when we really needed coffee. Probably because we ran out of tea, and probably walking down to the store was way too huge an effort. I opened the cabinet in the same way I open the fridge and hope to see it filled with already made, delicious food. And I saw that familiar jar of Nescafé Gold instant coffee left from when my friend Odie lived here, in 2012. Joel frowned and asked if it was still in-date. Like all food that’s processed and terrible for you, it didn’t expire for about 60 years. I unscrewed the lid, and it smelled like coffee. Joel winced and shook his head. But then I was like, fuck it, it’s coffee, and made up two cups.
Maybe now is the time to clarify that I’m not a coffee snob. I know that freezing beans and grinds will break down the natural oils and that will affect the taste, I know you should boil water and wait 10 minutes for it to cool down and that’s optimal coffee brewing temperature, I know you should use 2 heaping tablespoons for every 8 oz of filtered water. I hate coffee from Starbucks and I love 7-11 Exclusive Blend. Until moved to Sydney, I took a little bit of coffee with my (let’s face it, flavored) creamer and Splenda. And for years I used powered creamer because it was easier on my tum and it made the coffee taste creamy. So I’m a pretty trashy coffee drinker. I just know what I like. And I also know that instant coffee tastes like battery acid and jet fuel sputteringly shat out of an infant in the middle of WalMart. And that’s the problem with instant coffee.
Drinking that first cup, that burnt road fuel taste was all too familiar, and everything my parents trained me not to drink. But, it was coffee. It was hot and sugary. And a mug of something hot and caffinated in the morning has been a daily essential to me since I was 16. So I drank it, much like the alcoholic drinks mouth wash: it was a fix. And I vowed to get a coffee maker with my next pay check.
5 months later, I mentioned getting a new coffee maker, and Joel said, “Nah, I like the taste of instant coffee now.” He just said it. Plain as day, as if it wasn’t the worst thing he could say. And I felt guilt. The guilt from taking this Australian, raised on coffee that’s just inherently good no matter how shitty the cafe is, this guy who’s never willingly had Starbucks and was aghast when I told him I sometimes drank hours old, microwaved coffee, and I turned him into someone who says “I like how gritty and shitty instant coffee is. It tastes like America!” I turned him into an Instant fan. And more over, I turned him into a “I only wanna drink instant” fan. And I felt a deep, deep, shame.
I admit, instant coffee is easier, faster, and more consistent than brewing coffee, but there’s just something grimy, hard, and acidic to the taste. I loved that Joel makes it for me every morning (a sign of devotion if there ever was one), and that makes it drinkable, but it just doesn’t taste right. I started to miss drip coffee at home more than I missed certain relatives. And then I really started to miss drip coffee at home doctored with a couple spoons of hot coccoa and some warmed half-n-half (fun fact, Australia doesn’t carry half -n- half. The closest we come is “extra light thickened cream,” which comes close but tastes off). So, while I was on my unemployment vacation, I finally bought a new coffee maker. A Bodum pour over model, which I have been lusting over for a few years.
It was on sale at the same time that I had a few extra bucks to waste. score.
The first cup I made with it was magic. And it felt like science.
It’s as close to drip coffee as I’ve had without an auto-drip machine, and you don’t waste as many grinds as you do with a French Press. It’s also easier to fix bad coffee–too weak? add more coffee grounds and hot water. Too strong? Add more water. That’s hard to do in a French Press or auto-drip. It doesn’t use energy, and has an extra fine permanent filter. Plus, look at it. It looks like it was plucked off the set of a sci-fi movie made in 1964.
I’m in love with it. Joel hasn’t come all the way around to it yet, because of course, the first cup I made for him was extra scary strong because I got nervous and basically brewed 14 tablespoons of coffee. And he still maintains that he’s in love with instant. But we’ll get there. I broke him once, I can break him again.
He still makes me instant coffee in the mornings, which makes him the best person in this world, but it’s my hope that with a little love, care, and attention, I can bring him back from the dark side.
Time will tell.