Today’s post is courtesy of Cat, who suggested I write about my favourite coffee shop in Newcastle. As it happens I have two favourites and I’ve already written about both of them: here & here. But, the suggestion did get me thinking about coffee in general and why I love it so.
It has come to my attention over the last few months that my love of coffee is becoming quite well known amongst my friends and acquaintances. It is true that I have some pretty strong feelings about the beverage, and that seems particularly weird to me bearing in mind that I have only been a fan for just over four years.
What did I do for the previous 23 years that were coffee-less? What prompted my change of heart? What does coffee mean to me now? Keep reading to find out the answers to these questions and more.
I’ve pretty much always been a fan of the smell of coffee. Carlisle has a great wee cafe – Watts Coffee Shop, which sells a vast number of different teas and coffees, but they also roast their own beans (and pump the delicious smell of said beans through the surrounding streets).
I also love coffee cake. Quite a lot actually.
And yet I only began to drink coffee during the first week of being a Relay worker, in August 2007. The Relay year begins with a conference conveniently titled ‘Relay 1’, and as well as offering excellent teaching & providing the launchpad to some marvellous friendships, there is space timetabled in for a great number of tea and coffee breaks.
Now, I should pause at this point to make you aware of the fact that when I use the word ‘coffee’ in this context, I’m using it in the loosest possible definition of the word. This was actually ‘instant coffee’, and it has been agreed upon by all decent people that instant coffee is not really coffee, and in fact it’s quite unhelpful to use that terminology, since it is so very deceptive. You should rest assured that if I ever offer you a cup of coffee I won’t be referring to ‘instant’, so you can feel secure in the knowledge that it will be good, without having to ask tentatively: ‘Real coffee?’
So, it wasn’t coffee, but rather ‘coffee’ and it was being served in stainless steel pots that looked identical to the stainless steel pots that contained tea. I thought I was pouring tea, when I was actually pouring ‘coffee’, but since I couldn’t really be bothered to get a new cup I decided to try it anyway. I liked it, and the journey began.
I remained with instant for a little while, but gave it up whilst in South Africa (because instant coffee there tastes like evil in a cup), and since returning I have become more and more of a fan.
Now for some coffee & Ellidh related facts:
- Some people have suggested that I am a coffee snob. I don’t personally agree. I would say rather that I know what I like and what I don’t like, and if you don’t agree with me that’s fine, you are entitled to your own opinion (even if it is wrong).
- My favourite coffee is the Flat White. It was described as ‘smooth’ to me, and that genuinely is the word that came to mind when I first tasted it.
- In the past I have been quite vocal in my dislike of Starbucks, but I am beginning to reconsider my opinions. I dislike Starbucks in Newcastle, but the new one in Durham is winning me back, and has now become my new favourite coffee shop there because: the decor is delightful, the seats are comfy, the staff are kind and helpful, the WiFi is free, they give free re-fills, they’re still nice to me even after I’ve been there for 6 hours, and they’re going to make an 8 AM Theology Network meeting even more of a joy to go to.
Do you love coffee too? If not, why not?
In summary: not addicted, unless you consider psychological dependence to be an ‘addiction’.