I don’t often write about REALLY personal things on my blog but lately, I’ve been struggling. You know, emotionally.
You know when you miss someone so much that you stop in your tracks and forget to take a breath?
Or when they’re the first thing you think about in the morning before you even open your eyes?
For a moment when you wake up, it all feels normal, but then you remember they aren’t there – and they won’t be, any time soon – and a gloom settles over you, that doesn’t lift all day.
Every song reminds you of them. Every blog post you try and write ends up being about them.
By the end of the day you feel beaten down, fraught and on the edge of tears.
Oh, coffee. How I miss you.
It’s true, friends. Having been diagnosed with a non-life-threatening-but-deeply-irritating irregular heartbeat a few months back, I was advised to avoid stress (hollow laugh) and caffeine.
A writer without caffeine is like a pirate without a hook. How is an Evil Overlord supposed to cut a swathe through the virtual world without the benefit of a double espresso in the morning? My metaphors feel less pithy, my snark less edgy. It’s just not the same.
I’ve been experimenting with coffee in the last month or two, working out my tolerances. I can allow myself one coffee a day, but filter coffee has double the caffeine of instant, and my tolerance to it seems to be far lower. One large latte and my innards start doing a samba – and not in the good way.
I don’t know then, what made me accept an invitation to go to Taylors of Harrogate last week to learn all about coffee. Some kind of sick masochism, probably. But actually, I learned a lot. For example:
- The strongest coffee beans come from Java, while beans from Africa tend to be fruitier and have citrus tones
- Coffee doesn’t actually come from beans. The ‘beans’ are actually the stone from inside a coffee cherry. I think this is my favourite new fact of the year so far.
- Arabica beans are considered better than ‘rustica’ beans, which can easily taste ashy, or bitter.
- When making coffee, the perfect ratio is 45g of coffee per cup, brewed for 4-6 minutes. You can add all the water at once – ‘blooming’ doesn’t make much difference.
One of the best things I learned though, is that Taylors has now started selling a half-caff coffee which I’ve never been able to buy in the UK before, and means I can finally, FINALLY drink proper ground coffee again without ill-effects. This is quite, quite the best news I’ve had in ages. By and large de-caffeinated coffee is a thing that should not be inflicted on any human being with working taste buds.
So now, if you’ll give us some time and some privacy, coffee and I will be spending some quality time together rebuilding our relationship.
PS: Taylors of Harrogate covered my expenses to attend this event. Thanks, Taylors.