Coffee Confessions And The Drinks Machine

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Keep your tea. Give me coffee any day, as Sydney Smith said, ?If you want to improve your understanding, drink coffee; it is the intelligent beverage.?

Legend has it that an Ethiopian goat herd first recognized the magical powers of red coffee berries, when he noticed how frolicsome his goats became after eating them sometime around AD 800. He tried some, so the story goes, and the effect was so ecstatic, that he ran straight to the local priests with his discovery. They tried them and stayed up all night in rapture with the divine. The legend of coffee was born.

Although the truth of this story is controversial (some say that it was first brewed in Arabia circa AD 1000) we know that the magic beans didn?t leave Africa or Arabia until they were smuggled out nearly 600 years later. The first coffee arrived in Europe in 1615, and the rest as they say is history ? although politics surrounding the spread of coffee were far from simple. Our ancestors recognized that coffee is more than ?just? a drink.

Fast-forward to the 21st Century and the same passions still emerge amongst those who, like me, are confirmed coffee drinkers. Instant doesn?t really count ? it?s little more than flavoured water. But proper coffee made in a proper coffee pot; now that?s a different story. Cafetiere, filter, espresso drink machine ? everyone has a favourite method. However, there is one drawback; good coffee takes time.

At home, the only reason that I make tea is lack of time. At work it gets a little more complicated ? there?s that underlying assumption that you at least have to offer to make colleagues a drink. Fine if it?s tea or instant, but making real coffee for everyone else is often just a drag. As the smell pervades the room, it?s easy to feel like the office coffee machine as you fill the second cafetiere. Perhaps the effort required to prepare coffee makes it taste so good? I?d always assumed this and been rather scathing of any form of drinks machine that claimed to make proper coffee. There?s no way that you can just push a button and get a decent drink ? in fact I?d go so far as to say, that the only way to achieve effort free coffee is to get a friend, maid or butler to make it for you.

This conviction has just landed me right in it. Whilst waiting for a meeting I was offered the choice of fairtrade or decaf. Decaf goes against my religion, so I almost asked for tea when I saw that it was coming from a machine. After all, the words ?instant? and ?coffee? shouldn?t appear in the same sentence. But the drink I got didn?t taste like insipid dishwater; it was proper coffee.

In a brief moment, when I thought no one was looking, I tried to investigate the machine, looking for the trickery. Needless to say, my cheeks turned hot as freshly poured coffee when I was caught peering behind the machine. Explaining that I was looking for the ?hidden butler? really didn?t help?