I am not a coffee drinker, per se. I still remember the first coffee I had, I was fifteen years old, just straight into my freshman year ant highschool, it was a wednesday afternoon and we had a free period, it was November. I had stayed up rather late the previous night watching a re-run of Nosferatu - the seventies version with Klaus Kinski, my first screening of Murnau's still years away - and was rather dozy and sleepy, craving for something that would wake me up.
I left the school precinct with my best friend and this guy from our class who was so into the occult and who I had been wanting to have a conversation with, because back then I was starting to wake up to alternative belief systems. We headed over to this tiny mall and up the staircase, into this big self service kind of restaurant. As they asked for a coffee, I mulled over getting myself a lemon tisane as usual, but something in me snapped and I asked for a coffee. I might be trying to impress said guy, with a hey let's live dangerously attitude that was painstakingly, yet adorably, innocent.
That first taste was bitter, and ugly. I had added half a pack of sugar to the beverage, and still it was the worst thing I had ever tried. But the buzz. It was like I was on speeds - or pretty much what I imagined being on speeds might be, as I had never done drugs but had been reading Christianne F. and Go Ask Alice - all my nerves vibrating, my mind open and alert, my body completely awake to every sensation, and rearing to go, go, go. I remember speaking very fast, and talking a lot, and showering the poor guy with questions about all that crossed my mind and had to do with magic and occultism and spiritism and religion.
I remember laughing out loud like I was mad, and being unable to control a sudden sense of hysteria, of joy. I remember my best friend staring at me not knowing if she should laugh or get me out of there, and I remember distinctly the guy asking if I was alright. "It's just the buzz from the coffee." I remember saying, and I also recall him proceeding to ask why had I drank one if I knew it did that to me. And I quite remember his face as I said it had been the first time I had drank a coffee. I also seem to recall spending the rest of the afternoon behaving like a bit of a lunatic, and my best friend telling everyone I had just taken my first coffee and it had done that to me. It took me a while to drink a second cup of coffee.
But from that day on, I always took at least an espresso a day, to keep me awake, sort of. And I have never liked the taste of it. Espresso is strong, and bitter, and most times it's like it has been burnt and sugar will only worsen it. I take my coffee with no sugar at all, thank you. Over the years I started drinking less and less of it, an espresso every morning with my milk, some sort of half witted latte to wake me up. My husband, on the other hand, is a coffee lover, and will drink more than one espresso a day.
We both spent sometime in the UK at a certain point in our lives - he was at Oxford, I was in Manchester - and were presented with the coffee pot beverage. If I disliked coffee, whenever I got served a coffee in a caffe in the UK I would cringe in fear of that wishy washy dirty looking water they passed on as a coffee. I can remember being in London on a trip with my best friend and one day at Camden entering a small coffee shop and ask for a coffee, and the girl who was serving us shouting out ot the guy behind the counter that he was to get two "bicas" wich is portuguese for espresso coffee, and she actually spoke in portuguese, as they were from Portugal, and tears came to my eyes at the thought of drinking what I called a real coffee. I was ever afraid of the coffee pot, so when we got married we bought ourselves an espresso machine, straight away!
So when recently, and just on the outset of our bread machine dying on us, our espresso machine kicked it for good, I was at a loss. We could not afford to buy a new one, as we could not afford to buy a new bread machine, and going without a coffee for my milk in the mornings was a rather hard blow, not to mention how unthinkable it would be for my husband to go without his wake up espresso every morning. And then he remembered a certain coffee pot we had, shelved away at our storage room, without ever being used, and he said that he was going to bring it out and we'd had to make do with it. There was fear in our eyes, I'm pretty sure,
But then we made our first coffee on the coffee pot, and it looked watery, and had no creaminess, and it was frightening, but the odour it left around the house was so wonderful, the scent of freshly brewed coffee making us crave for a cup, and so we drank one, and I was flabbergasted! It was actually quite good, it was certainly much better than the burnt down espressos I had been drinking at coffee shops and patisseries lately. It tasted rich, and good, and warming. And paired with a chocolate, it was even better. I am not missing my espresso machine one bit, I must confess. I am also not missing my bread machine, if I must be true... but that's a story for another day.