March 24, 2012


Coffee…

Yesterday’s link was about coffee.  As I still have a bit more to add, I figured I may as well continue with a “Part II”.

 

After I had moved into my first apartment, I decided to follow in my parent’s footsteps and purchase a coffee urn.  By this point, I was now addicted to caffeine.  I needed that cup of brew every morning.  While I was at work, coffee was always within grasp.  Even a cup or two before bed.

So I bought this urn.  It wasn’t quite as large as my parents – it was a small one, only making 50 cups of coffee at a time!  A bit of trial and error, and I was able to make a half urn of coffee for those days when I was at work and not home all day.

For the longest time growing up, I only knew one tea drinker – Mrs. Bakker.  Sure, we had tea bags as part of the kitchen foodstuffs, but I honestly don’t ever remember my parents drinking tea.  I can’t remember any of the ladies that would come over for ‘coffee time’ to drink tea.  Quite honestly, I don’t really know why my parents even had tea in the house.

Mrs. Bakker had, in my opinion, a very unusual way of drinking tea.  She would put the hot water into her cup, then, ever so gently, add the teabag.  Just as you could see the brown stream of tea emerging from the teabag, out it would come.  That was it.  Where most teabags will allow for a couple of cups of tea at best, Mrs. Bakker could make about 10 cups of tea from one teabag.  She would have been better off just having a cup of hot water with a drop of food colouring added.

Living on my own, a friend of mine had started to introduce me to better coffees.  He also introduced me to better beers, but that’s a whole other story.  We would find coffee shops wherever we could and ‘sample’ different coffees from around the world.

Up to this point in my life, I was under the impression that there were only a couple kinds of coffee.  Instant and ground.  Both could be purchased at the grocery store – any grocery store.  Maxwell House and Nescafe were the only two coffee names I knew.  Now, I was trying (and enjoying) much better coffees.

As I got older, part of my unconscious efforts was looking for more ‘exotic’ coffees.  At one point, I even signed up for a company that would ship via mail, a selection of coffee beans directly to my home. That was when I invested in a coffee grinder.  My morning ritual now took on a different twist.  Wake up, grind the beans, and make the coffee.  I also learned that cone filtering was much better than basket.

Over the years, I found other ways of making coffee.  Different kinds of coffee makers.  Different ways of blending coffee beans.  Below are some of the coffee makers (or as close to a picture as I can find) I’ve owned over the years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of these coffee makers I’ve really liked.  Others I wish I still had.  A couple, I’m sort of glad I don’t have anymore.  However, they all played in integral part in my appreciation of coffee over the years.

When I was living in Ottawa, I think this was the beginning of my total appreciation of this nectar.  There was a coffee shop that I visited every morning on the way to work.  Offhand, I cannot remember the name of the place, but for me, it was a morning ritual that I enjoyed every day.

This place bought coffee beans from around the world.  They roasted the beans themselves, and sold them either as whole bean, ground, or a cup of coffee to their customers.  I would intentionally walk by this shop any opportunity I had, just on the chance that they were roasting their beans.  I would actually slow down my pace as I went by, enjoying the intoxicating aroma of freshly roasted beans wafting through the air.

They would even blend their own coffees.  I think over the years, I tried each and every blend they had.  In fact, I was such a good customer that the owner asked me to ‘invent’ a blend, which, upon my departure from Ottawa, they were still selling.

One of the more rare coffees that they sold, was Jamaican Blue Mountain.  Here in Tainan, I can get this coffee as well, but there is only ONE shop I know that sells the real deal.  Most of the other coffee shops that sell Jamaican Blue Mountain, sell a knock-off.  Sure, the beans are probably the correct beans, but they do not import the real beans from Jamaica.  Therefore, the price is a lot lower, the quality being mediocre at best.

I am fortunate to have found a great coffee shop here in Tainan.  When I first came to Taiwan, finding coffee other than at McDonalds, was a bit of a challenge.  Tainan seems to have a lot more coffee shops than one would expect in an Asian country.  Nonetheless, they do basically the same as the coffee shop I visited in Ottawa.

The owner purchases his beans globally, and roasts them at his shop.  I have become a frequent enough customer, that now, when I need coffee, I call them up, say hello, and tell them I’ll be there the next day.  I get five bags of coffee at a time.  This is, for me alone, about a month’s worth of brewed coffee.  The only difference is, they do not blend coffees.  Each coffee is individually bagged with the name of the coffee bean labeled.  Again, by this point, I’m sure I’ve tried every coffee they sell.

Once you’ve started to drink coffee without pollutants, you begin to taste the differences between the different coffees.  Each has it’s distinctive aroma, flavour, strength.  I’ve also settled on a great coffee maker.  I’ve discovered that cone filtering or brewing is the best.

That’s it, that’s all… for now!

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