A COFFEE ENTHUSIAST’S SURVIVAL GUIDE

It’s been a year since I moved back to India and, boy, it has been a year of adjustments! From frequent power cuts to PMS-ing weather to all my lipsticks becoming lip glosses (ugh), I can safely say that I’ve come a long way from being a prissy stuck-up New York girl. However, there are some things that I can’t let go of. Believe me, I’ve tried but it ain’t happening. I’m not saying that I’ve to lower my standards because I’m in India. I’m just saying that some tastes/habits/likes are either too expensive to have out here or are simply impossible to maintain. The taste for good wine, for instance, is just not something that’ll be satisfied in the city of Mumbai. I cannot recount for the life of me the number of times I’ve sent back glasses and bottles of wine because they’re either corked or oxidised. But the one thing my over-developed tongue immediately spits out upon tasting is bad coffee.

I’ll say this again – I’ve tried. I’ve tried drinking coffee served in a 9-6 job. I’ve tried instant coffee (blech), but it isn’t happening. There’s something orgasmic about freshly roasted coffee beans and the coffee they produce. The aroma, the taste, and the tingling feeling inside- it’s unforgettable. However, instant coffee is the complete opposite of coffee made from freshly roasted beans. Instant coffee always gives me the illusion of its founding beans getting lost in a sack of urinal cakes. That or just low-quality toilet paper. Disturbing, I know, but it does!

Although I’ve learned to compromise on freshly roasted beans, the taste and aroma of coffee that’s been roasted about a week ago is never the same as coffee that’s freshly roasted, but I’ll still drink it because… options. I mean I’m not expecting Geisha here, but can we please just stick to serving coffee made from freshly roasted beans! But, you know what, I’ll still take that over instant coffee. Everything about instant is offensive. The smell, the taste and even the bubbles. However, there are things that annoy me more than instant coffee. And I’m about to tell you what those are, so you can avoid getting punched in the face for being a douchebag by me or any other person who has an emotional connection with coffee:

1) Talking crap about my good coffee

I get it, your taste buds are developing and you probably don’t know that much about coffee. But you know what you should do in this case? NOT PRETEND TO BE A COFFEE EXPERT! It’s difficult to source decent coffee in this country. Sometimes you need to ask people you don’t even like to pack some beans for you on their way back from a foreign country. But, if you happen to take some of my precious coffee and then call it terrible just because you don’t have a taste for coffee, we’re gonna have a problem. That’s because, get this, my coffee is BAE! And you DO NOT insult my BAE! A while ago, I let a friend have some of my Italian Roast and her immediate reaction was: “Wow! That’s disgusting.” She went ahead and added sugar, milk and some other stuff. Needless to say, not only did I never serve her coffee again, but also we soon stopped talking entirely. Not because she insulted my coffee, but I just stopped liking her. Sorry, people. I guess I don’t like people who pretend to know about something they cannot appreciate and then go on to call it gross for no good reason. Some things are an acquired taste and if you haven’t acquired a taste for it, it’s fine. Just don’t insult something you know nothing about – something that’s a by-product of a thousand people’s hard work.

2) Lecture me about what I’m doing to my body by having coffee

Recently, my ex-boss started to tell me all the ways I’m injuring my body by drinking coffee. Now, as a coffee fanatic, I’m always reading about coffee and happen to know the difference between drinking caffeinated beverages and excess consumption of caffeine for the purpose of being energised. While he was lecturing me about how I’m injuring my body, I was coaching myself to not blow up. So, if you’re someone who knows coffee fanatics, please do not lecture them about how bad coffee is for them. We do not drink coffee to satisfy an urge or a desire. We drink coffee because we enjoy the taste of it. We like tasting the smokiness or the woodiness, or the distinct taste of bergamot and jasmine. So please, hate us for being snobs but do not lecture us because we’re developing “bad habits”.

3) Pollute our coffee and we will pollute the shit out of your ears

Remember I said I’d tasted coffee in a 9-6 office environment. Yeah, well that probably qualified as the worst coffee I have ever consumed. Not because of the disturbing ratio of sugar and milk in the said coffee, but because the fucker who made the coffee added cardamom to it! It was a monstrosity! I mean, I get that you like adding cardamom to your tea (oh no, you’re definitely weird), but could you not do that to my coffee! That’s just cruel, man. Don’t do it!

4) “Have you tried (generic brand of instant coffee)?”

People often say this to me when I say I’m a coffee enthusiast. Let me just say that it’s the equivalent of asking a food connoisseur if he likes microwavable mac’n’cheese or, worse, the pasta at McDonalds. You don’t do that! You don’t serve a wine enthusiast balsamic vinegar just because the bottle looks fancy! You’re forcing us to either be rude and turn down your hospitality or tell you in detail the difference between what you’re offering us and what we like. Instead of doing that, have us try something you like and something that’s different! Most of us are suckers for the finer things in life and we are more than happy to try something we have never tried before.

So that’s my little rant about crappy coffee and judgmental people who don’t get my love for it. I mean, at the end of the day, so what if it’s an untraditional and unconventional love. And well, if you still have a problem with everything I said, I guess all I have to say is – breathe and go for a walk! It’ll all be okay, I promise!

WORDS: SHREYA SHARMA

One Comment Add yours

  1. As a coffee aficionado myself, I can completely understand your disdain for 9-5 coffee and instant coffee – I mean, they’re just (generic brand) coffee powder added to milk and shaken like the maker’s life depends on it!
    There are very few who understand the beauty of ground coffee beans, the head-reeling aroma they generate and the amazing, bitter taste of fresh coffee. Your article is absolutely bang-on. Great stuff!

    Liked by 1 person

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