The history of coffee (HLD 62)

23 May 2020

As a child, coffee was quite frankly disgusting. Mum and Dad drank it black and cheap.

My preferred ‘grown up’ drink was a milky weak cup of tea with one spoon of sugar.  And it was probably tepid.  Mum and Dad drank tea very weak, so very few tea leaves were harmed in the making of a Rankine pot of tea.

I gag nowadays even contemplating drinking a cup of milky white weak sweet tea like that.

At some stage in my later childhood (don’t remember exactly when) my Dad bribed my sister and I to give up sugar in our tea. My memory says the bribe was $1, but that would have been a huge amount of money back then…. maybe it was the veritable fortune that was on offer that caused us to immediately go sugar free.

Coffee only really became a drink for me once I started nursing training, but even then it was fairly weak and white. Adapting to the taste of coffee was a learning process.

As with many people, the deciding factor in my coffee journey was children. Before I knew it, my coffee preference was something with a bit of colour. Halve the milk, with more coffee please.

And I got a bit more snobbish about the brand of coffee. International Roast made way for Moccona, with Moccona Gold being the ultimate.

Large Moccona jars rested alongside baby food in the pantry.

Once the ankle-biters hit teenage years, then obviously alcohol also made its way into my liquid therapy choices. But coffee was always the best option.

And options were now starting to arise in the supermarket shelves. Coffee bags became a thing, and I vividly remember carrying a slightly torn open coffee bag packet in my handbag, that I could pull out and just have a sniff, if the need arose and a kettle was too far away.

Then came the drip coffee machines and the coffee fixation became truly entrenched. Coffee plungers – both the four cup “I’m a sociable drinker”, and the two cup “for God’s sake leave me along I just need a coffee” size, existed in my cupboard.

Coffee also became a real way of making and keeping friends. The early “throw the kids out of the car at school” was hastily followed by the “meet you at the coffee shop” with fellow school mums, for a quick chat and coffee before leaving for work. Aah those were the days.

We eventually became fancy with the coffee pod machines at home. Nowadays I can steam milk, create everything from lungo’s to latte’s to flat whites. And I can even create foam art with the milk, although to be fair, all my foam art looks like a blob.

And thanks to Dad’s very clever bribery, I still don’t like sugar in my tea or coffee.

What’s your history of coffee?

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