As we know, coffee is the most important meal of the day. Note: I make this claim as no sort of expert in the warm beverage field.
After some decades of no research in the non-existent field of Where is My Coffee studies, I share my results. Please note, the test subject in this non-scholarship was me. Therefore, published advice will not necessarily apply to you, the coffee drinker. Two findings, however, (1) we will feel the urgent need for a coffee buzz sometime today and (2) we won’t always get it, for various reasons.
I aim to offer some solutions.
If you’ve felt that caffeine itch on your ancient brain, you will certainly know that we don’t always find the true scratch we need. One reason for this may be the attention your rational mind has paid to medical science. Coffee may not be good for cardiovascular health, bone health, mental health etc.
If, however, you have consulted a physician and find your two-to-four-cup-a-day habit poses no significant risk, there are still problems to overcome.
A big one is bucks. Purchase of two daily barista brews costs the typical Australian worker ’round two grand a year. We’ll get to that troubling matter very soon.
You like instant coffee, but are not yet prepared to admit this unfashionable fact to yourself.
Another problem, more instantly remedied, is not truly Knowing Thyself. For example: you like instant coffee, but are not yet prepared to admit this unfashionable fact to yourself. Or, your posh inner-addict demands a Milanese pour, yet you think of yourself as easily pleased.
I fancy myself as low-maintenance, but my reptilian brain has other ideas. Instant coffee just doesn’t give my insides the buzz of espresso, however much I long to be seen from the outside as a humble instant fan.
So I offer this advice: do not permit society to impose its coffee preferences on your tongue. When it comes to this legal vice, take only the guidance of pleasure. If you loathe that cold-pressed frap-o-fabulous micro-lot all your colleagues say they are mad for: own it. You were possibly born that way.
So, you’ve had the real-talk with yourself.
You’ve decided a French press, a moka pot (available in electrical form for work) or even an instant will do ya. You know to choose a coarser grind for your press, a finer one for the stovetop. Or, maybe you learn the trick of brewing thick, unfiltered Turkish, or Indian kaapi. Perhaps you relish the American filter style. That’s okay. Commit to get the cost down, and the method, too.
There is no “best” coffee, save for that one kicks you into bliss.
If profit rules, ethics can’t. Someone is getting ripped off.
And, really, what’s a little pottering for the sake of joy? Coffee-making is not work. It’s a cost-effective way of showing yourself kindness.
Kindness to others, however, may also be a hurdle to the cup. Was this bean picked by well-paid adult workers? Did its cultivation mean environmental sacrifice? Is it single origin, Fairtrade and/or organic, and shall I go to consumer hell if it were not?
The answer is: dunno. While there is much to recommend Fairtrade, there is much to suggest it is flawed. Yes, more revenue may get to farmers in the short-term. However, locking farmers into a single crop and market can hurt them long-term. Organic certification may not always mean the best deal for consumers, growers or the natural world. And - sorry to harsh your coffee buzz - the problem with any business is that it involves business. If profit rules, ethics can’t. Someone is getting ripped off.
Well. That’s the tale I told myself when I bought a capsule machine, which produces something espresso-ish and came with a guarantee that casings would be recycled and contents used as compost. I’ll declare it: that’s the shonky deal my itchy brain made with the coffee devil. What happens between you and your dark roast master, though, may remain a private matter. You can whisper it to me when we meet over lattes in hell.
Image from Wink (Flickr).
Helen Razer is your frugal food enthusiast, guiding you to the good eats, minus the pretension and price tag in her weekly Friday column, Cheap Tart. Don't miss her next instalment, follow her on Twitter @HelenRazer.