What’s your poison?

oh gee cannot wait

I still recall, as if it were yesterday, the moment I realized that I was addicted to coffee. The year was 1996 and I was in the midst of backpacking around the globe with a passport and not a care in the world. I had ended up staying in the spare room of a distant elderly Dutch relative in the suburbs of Amsterdam.

I remember her well, as she had a large photo of her departed husband on the wall. Lying in a coffin. Besides that strange thing, I remember her fondly as she would prepare me breakfast every morning, which consisted of fresh bread, butter, CHOCOATE SPRINKLES and dreadful tea. For I was not yet a coffee drinker and things were about to change.

Every morning as I choked on my tea and gorged on my chocolate sprinkle bread, she would brew up a pot of coffee on the stove top in a device known as a Moka Pot. Eventually, I enjoyed the smell so much that I swapped my tea for coffee and from that moment BANG! I became a caffeine addict. I knew this was true as I would wake in that little attic room and wait for the smell to come wafting up the stairs, signaling to me that it was time to rise and shine and face the day with a couple of cups of Tante Minnie’s coffee under my belt.

Cut to 2017, and I am a complete, card-carrying member of the Coffee Snob Club. You are a member of the Coffee Snob Club when you cannot drink instant coffee, 7Eleven Coffee, Airplane coffee or any coffee that is made in the many coffee chains that exist.

Vente white chocolate mocha, anyone?

The problem with coffee chains is thus. The taste. Which is akin to slurping on tepid bath water that you have just used to wash the dog in. A big, hairy, stinking hound that might have had a touch of diarrhea recently.

And I was not the only one. We Aussies shunned Starbucks in droves, so much so that in 2008, Starbucks closed 61 of its 84 stores. We have a very fine coffee palate when compared to the rest of the world. Manhattan has 255 Starbucks on the island alone, often standing on street corners apart from each other. What gives America?

I will not drink coffee from coffee chains. This includes, but is not restricted to Starbucks, McCafe’s, Coffee Clubs, Michele’s Patisserie (although I will eat their Spinach Rolls), Hudson’s or sup from the cup of Gloria Jeans. Gloria Jeans do not actually make coffee, they make desserts. Take for example the “Gloria Jeans Mocha Chiller Coco Loco” which is basically sugar and 106% of the recommended daily intake. Also, rumour has it that they are mad happy clappers.

And can we talk about flavored syrups for a moment? Why oh why, would you roll a cup of God’s Nectar with syrup? Hazelnut, peppermint, butterscotch? No thank you. And for those who drink it with soymilk, I must ask… Why? No, really. Why? Almond milk. WHY? Fart much?

Give it to me straight. I love surly baristas, spilt beans, steamy, hand frothed milk. I like the lids that are put on properly by hands that have years of skill behind them. I like the grunt of recognition I get when I thank the master for his brew.

I do not like my coffee made by a pimply teenager identified only as TRAINEE, whole contribution to making my coffee is to flick buttons and look bored.

Yes, I am a coffee snob. Like wine, I would rather go without than drink inferior offerings.

 Are you fussy when it comes to coffee?

Or wine, for that matter?

What’s your poison?