(A story about growing up)
At first I had none. No “coffee sense” or anything connected to it, existed in my head.
One day, as my awareness of the external world grew over a certain point, I have noticed a peculiar thing. They called it “coffee”.
Coffee was embodied in mini black holes of a specific smell that grown ups gravitated towards in their daily get-togethers.
Upon a closer inspection I have noticed that coffee was a blackish liquid with brown foam on top. They used to drink it from small cups – that previously established source of the strong gravitational force.
Grown ups; a mysterious drink; conversations that were either boring or non-understandable; the whole happening often enveloped in clouds of smoke… I was suspecting that all those coffee drinkers were actually members of a sect. Therefore I decided to stay away from coffee.
That was the beginning. My coffee sense hatched from those feelings and impressions. There it was; a virtual one-state cell, with no developed receptors.
Teenage years – The Turkish Phase
I always thought myself to be flexible when it comes to changing my mind; whatever is carved in stone can be evened out and carved deeper… if all that carving is really needed.
I was 15 and being cool was my imperative. It took some years to accept that I am not all that hunky-dory, and, weirdly enough, somewhere along that road all those ideas of where the coolness can be found simply disappeared. But back then it seemed necessary to smoke and drink coffee in order to be less of a loser. So I decided that I was a smoker and a coffee drinker.
It tasted indescribably bad! I hated coffee and cigarettes made me sick, but I won over my annoyance and soon enough I was smoking like a chimney and drinking coffee until there was no coffee left to drink. A bit of bad taste in my mouth would not stop me on the ultimate way to coolness.
The black liquid was bitter and sometimes quite acidic, but really tough, non-loser types drunk it without milk or sugar. I tried it, secretly, alone, and it tasted even worse with sugar, but it became a bit more tolerable with some milk added. Milk in coffee seemed to be my thing, but how nonconformist was that?! No. Black was good. Milk was for wussies.
We drunk coffee, strong, Turkish coffee, and “read” from the cups after we drunk it. After Turkish coffee is drunk, the sediment at the bottom is left behind. We would cover the cup with its saucer and turn it upside-down. Pictures of symbols, animals, etc would form inside. We did not really believe “the readings”, but it was so good to learn that all of our heartaches would be cured, that we would get good marks in school and, also, that we would soon be dominating the world.
My life has been sometimes kind to me, sometimes not, but my Turkish coffee cups were always very generous. They anticipated many boyfriends who adored me, new pairs of shoes, achievements, plenty of luck, wonderful travels – that it would make for at least ten amazing lifetimes.
(an evil laughter of an unknown coffee sect leader, laughing at me, since I became one of Them)
I was so in. I became a member of the coffee drinkers sect. Actually, as I changed my perspective; there was no sect. There was belonging to a group, there was a sparkle on my aura made of sheer coolness, there were hopes, dreams, fun, cigarette smoke and card playing.
My single coffee sense cell has developed and multiplied. Those new cells emitted bitterness dampeners and pleasure enhancers upon consumption of coffee. Those cells converted coffee liquid to pure endorphins. And that was the exact point at which I wish they stopped evolving.
Further evolution – Mr. Right and filter coffee
During the course of years, I moved through countries where people mostly consumed filter coffee, and smoked seldom. Not having many fellow sect members around, I have already cut my smoking in half, then in third, without really noticing. I finally quit smoking shortly after I had met Mr. Right. That made his life substantially less miserable, and mine – less smoky. The guy who turned out to be The One for me finally came out of those coffee cups!
Surprisingly enough, my Mr. Right drunk only tea, never coffee. He hated smoking and he had never even tried Turkish coffee. Besides tea, he also quite liked me, and we started living together happily ever after. Mr. Right has been drinking tea in the afternoons, while I drunk instant coffee with cold milk added. Why instant coffee? That seemed like the least bad option at a time, of all the readily availably ones. The worst one was, and still is – filter coffee.
Filter coffee. Bad. Looking like dirty water, and smelling not so fresh even when freshly made. You may think differently if you have never tried something else, meaning that filter coffee is the best and worst and the freshest smelling coffee you’ve ever been drinking. Too weak, too tasteless, and too diluted, I say.
During the filter coffee phase all my endorphins were generated mostly from socializing with Mr. Right and consuming significant amounts of chocolate. My coffee sense cells’ receptors were twitching in disgust from filter coffee, yet they extracted what I needed as much as they could from it, while being as enthusiastic as rowing slaves on a Roman galley.
The whole feel-good package containing Turkish coffee had vanished from my life, and the dirty looking, wrongly smelling, filtered substitutes crawled in it instead.
I still drank the substitute since it was better than instant coffee from coffee machines. I drunk those coffee machines spit outs as well, when I had nothing else available. They would come out containing some previously pulverized milk preserved with who knows which chemicals that probably killed a bunch of poor lab rats, but which allegedly were harmless, even good for me. My stomach did not understand all that goodness and hurt me every time as a punishment for swallowing the dreadful mix.
Mr. Right saw my suffering and although not understanding this coffee obsession I obviously had, he was trying to make me happy. He was bringing me small presents whenever he would come from the supermarket – different pre-made ice coffees, packed in plastic cups. I really liked some of those. But all that plastic was bad for the environment, the genuine freshly made coffee smell was not really there, and with my coffee consumption levels, beside an extra job, we would also need a new, bigger fridge, or more frequent visits to the supermarket. We decided to take the plunge and buy an espresso making machine. And so we did.
Deus ex machina
It sits prettily on our kitchen counter, that elegant and no nonsense German device which helped me overcome great difficulties of coping with the ending of my Turkish coffee sense phase.
A press on the button and I have it, freshly milled, heavenly smelling, as strong or as weak I like it, a cup of really good Italian espresso that I can pimp up with some cream, with cold or foamed warm milk, add some cinnamon and other spices on the top of it… it is lovely.
My coffee sense has reached the level of development corresponding to the one of sharks. Basically, it is as good as it gets, and its evolution is so slow at this point that it is undetectable. I like to press the button now and then, and consume my freshly generated espresso with a shot of cold milk. It is good and satisfying.
I have tried to drink Turkish coffee again recently, and it tastes nothing like I remember. Memories are deceiving – often they consist of our emotions only, after all the facts have evaporated. Also, I guess that my coffee sense cells have changed for good and their receptors are not backwards compatible. An evolution is seldom something more than a network of one way streets, mostly blind ones.
Funnily enough, I have managed to escape a sad destiny of hitting the dead end, and my story has a happy ending in the shape of a shiny button I can hit instead; whenever I wish.