Coffee and Stuff

Well, now I understand how writing can lose its touch when left alone for too long. I haven’t been writing for a week and it has been quite difficult to recreate scenes that flow smoothly. I know my posts have been appearing on schedule, but as a guy, I do have more fantasies and recounts than just three times a week. So, I must make it a point to write at least once every two days.

A few of you have been looking for Elise’s photos and I regret to tell you that she has decided not to post anymore photos on my site. I do know of the actual reason, but I think it should be at her discretion to supply pictures and remain active. For now, we will not be seeing photos of her. Hopefully it will be a temporary decision on her side.

Now, the actual topic I want to talk about. And it is related to coffee! I hope I don’t offend any coffee lovers or haters, since it would redefine ‘good coffee’.

For some of us, the search for good coffee is a life long process. We have learned to appreciate coffee in its original form, unmilked, unsweetened. Personally, I don’t mind espresso, but it can get too strong for my tastebuds. So I would go for long black. How a cup of coffee is made is pretty straightforward. Most of us know it by an espresso machine. Pushing 8 bars pressure of water through a packed form of coffee grounds.

So, what defines a good cup of coffee? I bet many of us know it through the grounds used, the calibration of the machine, the steep time, the water quality, etc – all the controllable aspects. But what if I say it is none of the above? Manual pressed coffee can be good, although conventional methods still relate to espresso methods – pressure through coffee grounds.

If you are one of those who goes for skill in making coffee, or the brand of the espresso machine, you are on the right track, and what I am going to write, will bring you to the next level. And it is not about the ambience, temperature, or any external factor. Enjoying a coffee takes more than your five senses, it is what I learnt from drinking enough coffee. Oh, don’t ask me how much is enough.

Letting your ‘best’ impression of coffee compare against the cup of coffee you are having totally ruins the intention of the barista. He is not there to be judged, nor is the machine he used, or the grounds. It’s actually simpler than you think.

If you can enjoy every cup of coffee you drink, I will salute you. Because every cup has its own characteristic! And your tongue, why does it seem to be able to tell bitterness when others can’t? Is it the coffee? Or just you? Every cup of coffee I make, taste different. Emotions do infect, and I won’t deny that. While you are flooding your brains with caffeine on the search for good coffee, you are not drinking coffee, you are judging it. And who are you to judge when you don’t know how to make them?

Whatever you taste in that cup, it is a reflection of what you feel. Sure, some are bitter enough to spasm your face, but it simply means that your tongue is not ready for what goes through your body. But your heart is.

I realised that there is no ideal coffee, so, stop comparing. A long queue doesn’t mean it’s good. Start by tasting the coffee with the tip of your tongue, then your mouth (swirling it in a small gargle), then your stomach (feel it going down and locate your stomach), then your heart. Try to hear what it is trying to tell you. Is the bitter justifiable to what happened at work? And does the disappearance of the bitterness tell you that things will get better? So why is the coffee not bitter? Are you feeling calm and well?

That sums up what I want to say, more or less. Good coffee can be found in every cup, or should I say, every cup of coffee has its own goodness. If you can find it, you are a good drinker.

2 replies on “Coffee and Stuff”

if you’re a coffee hater to start with, it shouldn’t affect you
and if you are a self claimed coffee lover, like me, there is never a bad comment, just lessons :)

for me, i started getting hooked on coffee to kick another habit, but i won’t get into that

it started off in the good old days of the old clarke quay. and this is going back some near 20 years now!!
friends brought me there to introduce me to a nice coffee place (i will leave names out of this) where they offered connoisseur coffee made with vacuum makers

if you’re wondering what it is, here you go:

so i basically needed another rush to reduce my other lacking rush :{
and i had all the time in the world as i didn’t need to work or study at that time while on time off in between industrial attachments
and slowly but surely, i got hooked on to the straight coffees as well as their blends, and there was a time when i could tell you which bean or blend it was even by the look and smell

initially i drank it with sugar and a tiny splash of cream, and then slowly cut it back as i was not really tasting the wonderful black stuff. until i learned to appreciate it straight up, black, no sugar. and for those not used to it, there is actually no bitterness, or maybe i’ve learned to taste the natural sweetness after the bitterness

fast forward a few years, the mega coffee chains started up and i also learned to appreciate those different blends, blended frozen concoctions, but nothing could compare with the bitter sweet hot nectar of the gods…

fast forward a few more years, i got a coffee machine for a birthday present a couple of years back and i totally love it. it’s easy to use, cleaning is a breeze but there’s just something about the espresso blends that, although hits the nicotine spot, just isn’t complete.

i still enjoy my local, Singapore/Malaysian blended “kopi-diam” coffee :)
and the closest one i’ve found off the shelves here in Singapore supermarkets is a brand called Aik Cheong
originally from Malacca, it’s easily available in most good supermarkets here locally.
it comes in convenient bags – think tea bags – with the “fresh” ground in it and you just add hot water, and if you so desire, sugar and cream

but because it’s a local blend, it already does have a tinge of sweetness as when it’s roasted, there is sugar and margarine added into it and the paper bag helps absorb some of the oily taste.

this is what i’m talking about –

Oh. I’m a coffee lover all right. And I do have access to an espresso machine to meddle with. Although the beans and calibration is still too much for me to handle now, I have been improving on smaller areas like pressure application on the portafilter as well as frothing techniques.

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