Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Coffee Affair

Can we, for a moment, think about that the cup of coffee you had this morning, or yesterday, or the one you'll have in the morning.  Think on how it has been lovingly cared for throughout it's entire life! The tender bean is carefully grown on coffee farms in tropical climates like: South American, Central American, India. The bean is then picked at just the right time, and roasted on site or shipped to a roaster, also very carefully. Beans from all over the world are grown and make their way to roaster here in the United States. Beans that will be roasted lightly for a soft taste with all the caffeine, or burnt to a crisp for Starbucks normal brews. Each batch of coffee is cared for, roasted and sent around the world, to be ground up and end up in your morning caffeine buzz.

Except for Instant Coffee....

If there is one thing that God had no choice over, it was allowing the devil to take this tender beverage, served hot or cold to millions around the world, and give it the kiss of death that only a dehydrated cup of coffee could offer.

I mean seriously, anytime you are given a spoonful of powder and a cup of boiling water, you should probably throw to the ground and run in the opposite direction (See: astronaut ice cream, dehydrated beef stroganoff). For the foul tasting liquid tar that awaits you is neither comforting or enjoyable for any participant.

Except my dad.

For as long as I can remember, my dad has had to morning routine of making a cup of Folgers Instant Coffee. He swears by it, and will probably have it til the day he dies. Now, I began drinking coffee at the tender age of 14 or so, to make the miserable experience of waking up as the crack of dawn... more pleasant. This became the daily ritual: awake from deep slumber, accept sacrifice of the day, boil some water, add Satan's whisper to the water, douse in Half/Half and copious amounts of sugar, drink with a bowl of sugar... err cereal, and go about my school day.

This went on for 4 or 5 years.... Or more... I have pretty much blocked out what I drank from 2008-2011. All I do know, was that it was awful Folgers instant coffee with an intermixing of "good" drip coffee, or some done with my parents old Moka Pot... that I burned on a regular basis. I was without good coffee, but had no idea of it. I was in my dreamland, my sheltered world of instant coffee and drip.

Until Panama.

I got hired to go down to Panama to assist on a natural history shoot for a museum down there, lots of work, gallons of sweat, but the coffee..... oh man, the coffee. We resided on a coffee farm for the first week we were there, and everyday was perfection from a coffee ground. I don't think you could get it any fresher. It was an eye-opening experience both in taste and caffeine intake. There was a good version of this brown liquid, one that doesn't even need cream, or sugar. Something that just was... good. I had the ultimate coffee epiphany that I think everyone has, that moment when coffee is more than just a caffeine buzz, when it becomes a tasty drink. Hot, cold, milk, or sugar. I could have it any way and it was still incredible.

Every now and then I get an order of that coffee from Panama, or through the cinematographer Tom, who's father-in-law coincidently owns the coffee farm.

What I was doing.

Who I was drinking coffee with.

Random Picture. The Best Steak I've ever had.

From that point on, good coffee, and making it well, was my obsession. Now, my morning ritual is: awake handsomely, rush out of bed, put water on to exactly 200 degrees, burr grind fresh coffee to coarse, put grounds in french press, pour water, steep, more water, time, depress fully, add dash of half/half, DRINK. Yeah, it may take more time, but at least it's not instant....

If you're going to spend 10 minutes a day on drinking something, don't let it be instant coffee... let your taste buds love you.

- Z


  1. Wake up handsomely.... i hate you.

    but damn do i love good coffeeeeeee

    1. I know... I know. You're jealous of my masterment of the English Language... yes... Masterment.