Ever since I remember I have had a love of coffee. My first memory was from about the age of about ten, when I was first trusted to boil a kettle (under strict supervision) to make a cup of Camp Coffee for mum – actually it was chicory flavoured coffee substitute described by Wikipedia as “a glutinous brown substance which consists of water, sugar, 4% caffeine-free coffee essence, and 26% chicory essence” To be fair, in those days I wasn’t allowed to drink the ‘Coffee’ but was allowed an occasional sip and to add a dash of it to cake batter as mum made her infamous Coffee and Walnut Cake which was flavoured with Camp Coffee.
First memories of drinking coffee alone spring to mind from the age of sixteen or so when I was taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh Challenge. We did many a training walk up in the Mendip Hills, usually starting the day and ending the day with a warming cup of coffee – nothing special, it would have been some freeze dried instant jar stuff which hit the spot at the time, usually carried in a plastic baggie and dished out into plastic mugs this was more of a functional drink served for a hit of warmth in your belly than as a pleasurable treat. As the trekking got more challenging, Three Peaks, Mount Snowdon etc, so my love of coffee continued and I remember on our final Duke of Edinburgh Gold walk sharing coffee by the side of a tarn in Scotland with my fellow walkers (3 other ladies) and a small group of Army Cadets who we had befriended during the day. Sat beside the Tarn, watching the sun reflecting on the water, sipping coffee, talking about the day’s walk and knowing that tomorrow was the last day of our fifty mile trek was awesome.
I remember drinking coffee at the bottom ofGaping Gill in Yorkshire whilst waiting a few hours to be winched to the top of the cave on nothing more than a strong wire which was operated once a year when the river was diverted from the cave entrance. A great big monster of a jug of coffee was passed along the line, person to person, as we all took a sip and passed it on – communal coffee keeping us warm as we shivered in our wetsuits waiting our turn for the 98 meter ascent. At the time, that sugary hot concoction was the best tasting nectar on earth serving it’s purpose and bringing a strong sense of community as we kept the mug moving amongst a hundred or so mad cavers, lubricating our voices as we sang communal songs in the vast chambers below the earth deep enough to house a full cathedral and echoing sweetly with the sound of convivial song.
As I’ve got older and more affluent, my love of coffee has continued and when deciding a name for my website a few years ago, it was no great surprise that the first world which sprung to mind was Coffee.
Last year when I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, one of my luxury items in my bag was decent coffee and my Aeropress so that I could have a decent coffee every day. From my first coffee served in my tent in the morning through to a few big mugs of strong coffee at breakfast before setting off for the days trials decent coffee kept me going. On summit night, as we left the campsite at midnight, I made sure I had coffee sweets stashed in all of my pockets and I sucked on these fairly constantly until reaching the summit some seven and a half hours later.
I’ve used coffee as a bribe using the term “Lets go out for a coffee” which also meant – I have a weeks worth of groceries to get and you need to come with me. Coffee is my social treat, my comfort treat, a big part of my daily ritual (in fact I’m writing this post sat in a coffee shop drinking a great coffee). I use coffee in cooking, and for dessert (think Affogato or Coffee flavoured meringue etc – more on coffee and cooking coming in a future post). I’ve made many new friends over a coffee and am an attendee at UAE Coffee Club events as often as I can attend. Last year I attended the International Tea and Coffee Festival and left high as a kite almost being able to fly home on my own fuelled by an excess of great coffee, this year I’ll be there too sipping and tasting my way through the 3 days of coffee heaven. I’m a fan of all things related to coffee art too – and am always snapping and Instagramming pictures of latte art. And as for gadgets, well – I love my coffee gadgets – I have 3 different brewing machines, numerous different sizes and shapes of coffee pots and brewing gadgets and currently have my eye on a cold drip brewer as well as the very theatrical siphon – Christmas is coming so I have my fingers and toes crossed.
So I guess you are getting the gist of my coffee love – from the first coffee in the morning through to the last coffee of the night (yes I can drink expresso and fall into a deep sleep) I am a coffee lover, a Coffee O Holic, a coffee addict or whatever you want to call me – actually I kinda don’t care – if you love coffee, you get me and I welcome you with open arms (if you like tea I’ll welcome you too).
I’m a fan of many different types of coffee, grinding fresh beans when I have the time, enjoying my fix at a local coffee shop when I’m out and about, or at the petrol station if I’m on the road (I love how the Coffee Planet Guys serve your order to the car at my local petrol station), and using my Nespresso machine when I need a quick fix too (never instant you will note). I dread to think just how many Nespresso coffee pods I get through in a year – ok a quick calculation tells me it’s a minimum of 730 to cover my 2 a day habit , but in reality it’s more – allowing for the use of coffee in my cooking, coffee as a pudding, visitors and guests etc. So I was delighted to hear that Nespresso launched a capsule recycling scheme recently. All you have to do is return the used capsules to the shop where they will be taken to a recyling plant in Sharjah. The aluminium will be shredded and recycled and the coffee grinds go into fertiliser and compost.
And so, for the love of coffee, I’m posting this post in the early hours of International Coffee Day . How will I be celebrating ? Well for sure – it will involve a coffee or two (well ok, probably a whole lot more than that) a post later today about a few of my favourite coffee shops and some new comers on the block, and finishing up at Le Méridien Mina Seyahi, dining on a Coffee inspired menu at Latest Recipeand last but not least it would be rude to finish International Coffee Day without having a coffee liquer before bed, Cafe Patron anyone ?
How will you be celebrating International Coffee Day ??