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For that brew of sheer nirvana

Illus: for TH  

Coffee by any other name, would it smell and taste as good? I’m not so sure. What’s in a name, you say? Well, the aroma, the taste, just the idea of coffee... To me, it simply wouldn’t sound right if it wasn’t coffee! You guessed it right. I am a coffee-lover. Not quite the connoisseur, I don’t think. But my early morning perfect cuppa is at the top of the list of my favourite things.

Is what I have south Indian filter kaapi? But doesn’t it look a bit like a Latte? Maybe it is drip-brewed coffee? Or perhaps it is best described as a hybrid brew, considering that I have picked up interesting ideas about coffee-brewing along the way during my travels. What makes it so perfect, you ask? Well, to be perfectly honest — me! I wouldn’t trust anybody else to make me my morning ‘nirvana’ brew. I do so like being my own barista.

I don’t just savour my coffee, you know. I also love everything that goes with the idea of coffee. I have a small collection of coffee-making apparatus: Moka pot, French press, Vietnamese Phin coffee filter, cone filter. I rarely use any of these but love just having them. For my coffee-brewing ritual every morning I use my treasured south Indian coffee filter. And yes, I love the ritual each morning, right from the sense of anticipation as I go into the kitchen to my very own coffee corner.

I start by lightly heating the perforated cylindrical top cup of the steel filter to clear any clog, then place it on top of its ‘tumbler’ cup, add my “special” ground coffee to the top cup, and pour in boiling water with care and craft. Then I wait, breathing in the aroma as the brewed ‘decoction’ drips down. I transfer the dripped brew to my coffee mug; add hot foaming milk and sugar. With renewed anticipation I carry the steaming mug of coffee and sink into my cushioned corner. Then that first sip. Ah, sheer bliss. I have fond childhood memories of my mother roasting coffee beans and grinding fresh powder every night for the next morning. I remember waking up to the reassuring sound of my parents chatting over their morning coffee. When I was older I remember my mother sending me to the local coffee shop at least three times a week to get freshly roasted and ground coffee. And there were special instructions: peaberry beans, and no chicory, please. Over the years, a variety of settings have served as a backdrop for my trysts with coffee. Starbucks or Costa at airports, cozy coffee places in Italy, sweet little coffee shops in Laos, the Indian Coffee House in Bangalore, or a roadside “Kumbakonam degree coffee” place with its unbeatable ambience in Tamil Nadu. I just can’t resist a coffee pit stop wherever I may be.

Tour time

My perennially brewing infatuation has seen me go on the Seattle Coffee Tour, spend evenings at Bangalore’s ‘Coffee Santhe’, and organise family holidays at coffee plantation homestays. My personal coffee supplier is from Chikmagalur, India’s coffee country. Every time I call him to place a fresh order we have pleasant coffee conversations. I also keep a look out for write-ups by coffee-lovers to bask in shared love. It is coffee, after all. You don’t just drink it, do you? You experience it.

A favourite daydream of mine is to own a cozy, intimate coffee place that is stacked with dog-eared books and stimulates creative intellectual conversations among a set of ‘regulars’ — over endless cups of coffee, what else?

What is it about coffee and me? I ask myself. The simple answer: I love coffee.

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Printable version | Nov 24, 2021 9:12:18 PM |

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