I have a confession to make, and it’s one I’m not particularly proud of: I am a bit of a coffee snob.
True, none of the Food Republic's 13 Signs That You're a Coffee Snob apply to me. But still, before we left America I would embarrass Dan by asking waitresses how long ago they had made the coffee. I'd flatly refusing to drink any coffee that had been sitting on the burner for more than 30 minutes. To me, it tasted bitter and burnt. So, for all intents and purposes, I rarely drank regular restaurant coffee.
A tip for coffee lovers
I like to offer at least one useful tip in every blog post, so before I go further, I want to share a tip with my coffee-loving friends: It’s easy to tell if coffee has been on the burner for too long: Just add a bit of cream. If your java turns the color of milk chocolate, it was brewed recently. On the other hand, if the coffee turns gray, it’s too old.
One year we splurged on a special Cuisinart coffeemaker that would grind whole beans, then deposit them into a filter before adding hot water at just the right temperature to get the perfect cup. It had a thermos for a coffee pot, which meant the coffee would stay hot for hours. No more worrying about making too much before it started to overcook.
I would begin every morning with a ritual of preparing a pot of hot coffee, fixing a fragrant cupful in my favorite mug, and sitting down for a few moments. Just sitting, staring at nothing, hands wrapped around the mug, fingers warming through its porcelain sides.
That was a good coffeemaker. When we left the US it was one of the things we most regretted leaving behind.
Travel has corrupted me.
Then we moved to Bali. Indonesia, a country famous for its coffee. Bali. Sumatra. Java. The names alone are enough to make a coffee lover break out in rapturous song. Indeed, Dan and I even got up the courage to try the country’s famous Kopi Luwak, the special coffee that Jack Nicholson raved about in The Bucket List.
Life is too short to drink bad coffee.
After Bali, we moved to Panama, then to Ecuador, both of which grow really good coffee. And the local coffees – the same beans we paid a fortune for back in the states – are incredibly inexpensive and fresher in their homelands. It was such a “no brainer” that I never could understand why anyone would even consider instant coffee. Especially in a coffee-growing nation. That overly-processed powder is a toxic beverage if ever I’ve heard of one.
Haven’t Panamanians got any pride?
In Panama, Nespresso machines are everywhere, yet I refused to drink that stuff. I could never understand why, with all that fabulous local coffee, so many Panamanian restaurants offered Nespresso. To me, that seemed only one step removed from instant.
Shows you what I know.
After we got kicked out of Ecuador we ended up back in the US, living with Dan’s mom, a woman so sensitive to caffeine that she only allows herself two cups of decaf a week.
Please, God, never let that happen to me. I like to have a couple of cups in the morning, and maybe even another in mid-afternoon, even though I rarely finish them. (I’m like Goldilocks with coffee. I can’t drink it too hot, and I don’t like it too cold. Only a few of my occasional sips are “just right,” so I rarely finish a cup. Which is why I end up fixing two every day.)
But I digress.
Obviously a woman who only drinks two cups a week has no need for a coffee pot. She uses a Keurig, a cute little appliance that makes coffee, tea and hot chocolate one wonderful cup at a time. Just add water, drop in a pre-measured K-Cup pod of your brew of choice, and … Presto! Out comes a fresh, hot beverage, with the same, consistent flavor. Every time.
More coffee snob confessions …
If confession is good for the soul … here are mine. I hope everyone will forgive me.
- I terribly misjudged all those Panamanian restaurants. It’s not instant Nescafé-type toxicity in a Nespresso machine, it’s real, ground coffee.
- I was wrong about it not being budget- and environmentally-friendly because those machines come with a little, refillable coffee filter, so you can brew your own at pennies a cup.
- I also need to confess that we’ve been terribly spoiled by the convenience of having a fresh cup o’ Joe available at the press of a button, whenever we want. We even bought a caseload of K-cups so we wouldn’t run out. Busted.
- We’ve even talked about buying one. But we won’t. Our rule is, if you buy it, you have to carry it. Try to fit that into a carry-on.