Time for some background I guess. I have spent most of my adult life professing my love for the AROMA of coffee but my complete distaste for it’s FLAVOUR. Sadly, I was not joking about it. I still remember growing up in Newfoundland where the British influence made me a true “tea granny.” I was not born to like coffee unfortunately. Of course, in my family, there was one person who DID love coffee, and that was my mother. The long suffering woman spent the majority of her time surviving with that
horrific instant stuff, because making a pot was a “complete waste” since no one else would drink it. Now, remember here, this was in the early 80’s, before the advent of single pod coffee makers, or even before the small volume single cup drip coffee makers were a thing.
Somewhere in my early to mid teens however, that woman finally decided to treat herself and bought a drip coffee maker. In those days, being a total momma’s boy (times have changed but this blog is not the arena for that story), I felt compelled to make her purchase worthwhile, so she wouldn’t have to suffer that “maternal guilt” of having spent money on something that only SHE could enjoy. So I made a purposeful effort to try and like coffee. Of course, as I am sure you can figure out, what I really tried to like was large quantities of FAINTLY coffee flavoured milk with ENORMOUS amounts of sugar!!! Just what someone as hyperactive as I needed!!!! Let’s just say that my efforts didn’t outlast the first week that the device was in our house. With that experiment behind me, I never looked back. My caffeine came in that cold and carbonated format….. Coke (when I could only find Pepsi in Newfoundland) and then strangely enough Pepsi (when I moved to Manitoba and could only find Coke) and then swinging back to Coke again when I moved to Ontario and the vending machine in the ER where I worked only supplied me with Coke to get through those long night shifts. For many years this was all I cared to think about coffee.
Of course, fate could not leave well enough alone. Somewhere along those many changes that life brings, I left a relationship with my ex-wife, ended up finding my destiny (who will this very summer become my husband) and found myself completely head over heels in love with a man who loves….. you guessed it……COFFEE!!!! Of course, initially this was not a problem. It was now 2006 There were possibilities, a Timmies on every corner, coffee makers which could brew a single thermal mug of the dark aromatic brew that you could just pick up as you walked out of your condo each morning. I could have the aroma without the obligation of having to drink the dreaded stuff!!! YAY!!! Of course I made sure that Todd KNEW how I felt about coffee. And like a true sport, he left me to my own devices. So then, how is it that as I type this I find myself sitting here drinking a freshly brewed espresso with a hint of agave syrup to sweeten it, and as my grandfather would say, “‘nary a drop of cream to be seen?” Well admittedly it’s been a bit of a journey…..
November, 2007. In a little coffee shop called “Honolulu Coffee Co.” at the mall in Oahu, Todd decided to have a cup of coffee. The store was brewing a very special blend, (which they only did about once a week), called “peaberry.” The cup had barely touched his lips when he decided to become an evangelist. Yes, my dear man became a coffee evangelist, much to my displeasure. A sincere and urgent song of “here you need to try this” began. At first I resisted. “But honey you know I HATE coffee” I said. Still he insisted “this is different, you won’t even believe this is coffee! It’s like nothing you’ve ever had before!!” Still I could not be swayed. “IT’S STILL COFFEE TODD! I still have a nose. It smells just like coffee….trust me I WON’T LIKE IT!!! At Starbucks prices, which at that point I was not yet accustomed to paying, I was hard to move on this subject. I was not in the mood to waste money on something I disliked so much. Somehow Todd wore down my defences (really I mean he put the cup up to my face and using the opportunity of my protests, poured the hot liquid into my open face). I stopped fighting it very quickly. It wasn’t harsh, or bitter they way I’d remembered. It actually tasted more like the aroma made me feel it should (and I’d always LOVED the aroma). With just a little cream and sugar it was actually quite good, (in truth it was DIVINE). Not wanting Todd to be too pleased I said, “yeah. that’s drinkable I guess” and ordered myself a cup to go. But my deception could not last. The very next morning as soon as my eyes opened I found myself asking Todd if he knew which Honolulu Coffee Co. location would be serving the infamous “peaberry” that day. And with that….. “the jig was up,” Todd knew I could actually like coffee.
The rest of that Hawaiian trip was blur of sun, sand, palm trees, sushi, ALCOHOL and daily trips to which ever Honolulu Coffee Co. was brewing that delicious peaberry coffee. Thank God we had a rental car, because each store only brewed it maybe one or two days a week (thankfully it seemed they all rotated their days, it seems the gods had some mercy in that regard at least….). With this newfound religion, Todd felt compelled to have me try other coffees we found along our journey and I willingly complied with his requests. There were some drinkable ones (I seem to remember a macadamia nut flavoured one that was a close second) but none EVER compared with the peaberry. Let’s just say that when we left Hawaii we had to purchase a carry on tote bag JUST for the coffee. It became a weekly ritual for us. We’d wait till the weekend, sleep in late (well at least I would… Todd could never quite manage it), and then have a nice “special” cup of coffee together. We couldn’t do it every day, the beans were too precious. Then, after some time, they ran out. While we COULD get them shipped to us from Hawaii, the coffee was not exactly cheap and the shipping costs were exorbitant. Since we are being honest, it was also a time when I made far less than I do now and finances were far tighter….. So I fell away from coffee yet again… because none of the beans available to me were inspiring enough to make me want to drink them.
Fast forward from 2008 or so to the winter of 2013. One very special late winter day I got a crazy text from Todd while I was at work. I wasn’t quite sure what all the excitement was about, but in his usual cryptic way with questions that you know are leading somewhere but refuse to draw you a clear map, he made it very obvious to me that something unique and special was afoot. Before I knew it I had finished my 12 hour shift, picked him up at home in Brampton (where he had been practically climbing the walls waiting for me) and then somehow found myself knocking on a stranger’s door in Ajax!!! What exactly were we doing? Why answering a Craigslist add of course!!! A Craigslist add for a full-sized, dual head, restaurant Gaggia espresso machine. Truthfully (and I have never told Todd this before, although I’m sure he knows it….) it was one of those “happy wife happy life moments” (I still haven’t figured out the gay relationship equivalent for that phrase so forgive me Todd…..). I mean, I truly had no use for a HUGE espresso machine!!!! Of course Todd played me quite well, He does know that I DO like a great find (and he was quite sure to tell me the retail cost of this magical machine we were about to see). Once I SAW the machine and could determine that it was fully INTACT, and verified that the guy’s asking price was not a typo or mistake (or some shit ass BAIT number just to get you to look at his machine) I became that woman in the Ikea commercial…… “Start the car! START THE CAR!!!!!” You have never seen someone put an item in the back of their pickup truck and pull away from a house as fast in your life!!!!
The next year and a half or so I watched as Todd perfected his “bear-ista” skills. There were lattes, espressos, cappuccinos, macchiatos, affogatos, and americanos. There was chai syrup, white chocolate, vanilla, pumpkin spice. The list went on and on and on. I sipped every concoction known to mankind I think. Some I tolerated with a smile, some I pushed away with a scowl. But, none stuck with me. None made me want to drink coffee. Admittedly there were friends who loved testing Todd’s newfound passion, and for that alone the investment was worthwhile, but without a doubt the only real enjoyment I got from that damn machine was the look on Todd’s face as he would sip yet another steaming hot bitter drink from his beloved “Lady Gaggia” as she has become known.
I was sure I would never find reason to really love that machine in my own right, but then in Early 2015 Todd and I began this journey. You know the one….. The journey where we began to try and eat better, where my calorie counting began, and I started to become more competitive about this whole need to change my waistline. Part of that change, the most difficult part I have to confess, was my coke addiction. Yes, I mean Coca-Cola (don’t get too many crazy ideas going there now….). Without my caffeinated syrup from the Gods I was not the most pleasant, or alert. Todd, ever the helpful spouse Tried to re-introduce me to the world of coffee, and somehow, (and I’ll never know how this happened), he found it. It’s not peaberry (which I still crave whenever I think of Hawaii), it is an espresso (which I always thought was tar, capable of melting and bending spoons like a bad magician). Of course it has to be consumed without any cream and I only allow one teaspoon of agave nectar (the perfect balance of sweetness and calorie control for me). I actually love this stuff…. this one roast, with it’s dark and bold flavour with just a touch of fruitiness. Not too bitter, not too burnt, just right for my taste. I actually won’t even speak the name brand of the bean for fear that all you TRUE coffee snobs tell me how crappy my taste in coffee is (actually I’m afraid that if I speak the name the company will stop producing it…. I’m kinda
weird superstitious that way). So, while I may not be a true coffeephile, I have finally found a way to wrap my hand around a hot cup and enjoy a drink that allows me to for just a brief moment feel a little more like the adult I should be.
Now if only I could remember how to get this brilliant “Lady” to spit me out another cup!!!