Kaffee Klatsch

Posted: October 24, 2019 in Blog
Tags: , , ,

It took me a while to “discover” coffee. I remember visiting my maternal grandparents out in the resonant isolation of Forest, Mississippi. My grandfather and I would always wake up before everyone else. He’d be sitting there in the dark kitchen with his coffee, and he offered me some to try. I didn’t care for it, even after he added milk.

Flash forward many years until I was a sophomore in college. I lived right off campus, and even closer was a legendary Austin coffeehouse called Quackenbush’s. I’m not sure if it’s even still there, but it held a darkly romantic allure to me. I couldn’t explain why. After mulling it over several times in my adventurous brain, I finally convinced my body to go in. I was with a friend, and we were both flummoxed by the offerings. What the hell was a café au lait? A cappuccino? I just opted for the cheapest thing on the menu and stumbled upon the espresso.

It was too intense for me. This did not seal my fate with coffee. I resumed drinking the “watered” down stuff my friend and I brewed in our dorm room. Still, those dark, roastable beans had been planted.

I also found that I just loved the atmosphere at coffeehouses. I began frequenting them. A professor of mine held a post-class discussion hour or two at the same locale. I went to those as often as I could. I would study and read in coffeehouses, meet new and interesting people. And I finally found my love for coffee.

That same friend wanted to dive in deeper, so we began researching coffee for an ambitious project (one that ultimately did not come to fruition but the journey was well worth it). I found out what a vastly traded commodity coffee is. I found out the legends of its discovery and smuggling out of its native lands and into Europe. I read of the invention of café mocha and the gender-exclusivity of early coffeehouses, the supposed influencing nature of coffee and how it might lure one down the paths of sedition or even worse – philosophy.

This same friend introduced me to Turkish coffee, giving me an ibrik, and I began making it myself. It is powerful stuff when done correctly. We even had multiple sets of ornate demitasse cups and saucers. We’d have little gatherings and drink the strong brew, then upend our cups and let the contents dry on the inside to read our fortunes. I got a hold of a Vietnamese coffee press, and I began having my own Vietnamese coffee at home. This was all good stuff, and it stoked something inside me, seeming to brew my imagination along with the drink.

I don’t experiment like I used to, but I still enjoy trying new things or having a strong cup of Turkish coffee when I can get it. I finally went to Europe and tried a lot of coffee there. It is stronger (in general) than what is available here, and it’s good. The best I found was in Frankfurt.

It’s amazing to me how this drink has had such a profound impact on not only myself but also human civilization. It was as much a sought after valuable as any spice or flower for those lands that could not produce them locally. It is a treat that has woven itself into feeling like a necessity. And I love it.



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