Drinking the black stuff

by David Gluzman

I wouldn’t say I’m an avid coffee drinker, yet I would say I do enjoy a cup of brew every so often, and there are times I get hooked into drinking the stuff for weeks at a time. Coffee is bad for you! That’s been all the rage for years, but I don’t really care because I also hear drinking tap water is bad for you (I blame the coca-cola company for that one, see Dasani).

When I was growing up my father would make the darkest, blackest, thickest, most bitter cup of joe I have ever seen or tasted. At a very young age I was put off by coffee and didn’t really start drinking it until I was in High School. I think the main reason I started drinking coffee was due to the coffee house craze; which took off quicker than Bush declaring war on Iraq.

“Kaffa” (in Marda loop – Calgary) was THE destination to get out of school for a break, or to skip some stupid school wide assembly. Outside of drinking coffee purely for the caffeine fix, it truly became a social gathering. There simply wasn’t a better venue to attend (and I don’t think there is any other currently) than meeting up at a coffee house to catch up on old times, or spend a calm evening with someone. I’d gladly go to a martini bar, but they absolute stink of smoke, and normally the music is too loud to have a conversation with more than one person at a time.

“Let’s meet up for coffee”

Currently my coffee drinking habits have changed tremendously from my virgin years of the java hook. When I was going thru school, I wasn’t really drinking all that much coffee to be honest, but the coffee I was drinking was absolute crap compared to my new elitist coffee trends. I blame Italy.

Standing in a small grungy and totally foreign coffee bar in the middle of butt-ass-nowhere stranded on an over extended bike ride; I layed down a couple thousand Lira and ordered a coffee and a few pastries. The pastry was excellent due to my extreme famine, but I stared blankly at the shot-glass-like coffee cup seeing clearly my reflection in the tar black substance that was “my coffee”. Whilst finishing my snack, I was observing some older gents coming and going ordering the same cocktail as I, pouring spoons of sugar and mixing it swiftly followed by downing it like a “China White shot”. I decided to follow suit and slam the coffee with a few sugars mixed in. To say the least when I got back on my bike to finish my ride I got home pretty quick.

True coffee I discovered was much different than my past indulgence of North American “long” coffee. Italian coffee was extremely strong, and the social scene associated to it was completely different. It seemed that Italians drank coffee purely for the effect of the substance rather than chilling out and speaking with friends. Then again, go to France and it’s more like North America, but the coffee is still quite different. Most coffee shops in Italy look more like a truck stop than a Starbucks, and in France resemble more like a restaurant serving baguettes en mass.

After spending a few years abroad I had settled on drinking stove top espresso (see the very first issue of r4nt). This was a bit milder than the average espresso, but made for an excellent coffee nectar which was easily converted into a mochachino or a weekend lounger (add Bailey’s). The pro’s of drinking this stuff are easy to recognize. Firstly you are generally making just enough coffee to make one serving, which is normally more than enough, so drinking too much coffee is hard. Also the coffee itself is very affordable considering it’s potency and how much water you require (about a cup) to brew it. Making this for a few people is a totally pain in the ass though since you have to unscrew the system and clean it, fill it, and heat it up all over again. So when I have company over, or if I feel like drinking 10 cups (like when having to finish an issue of R4NT) I’ll brew regular long style coffee.

When I lived with a group of Brits I got converted into drinking “proper” tea. I learned all the intricacies of the tea pot, and adding milk and biscuits to your regiment. At first I figured all British people are certifiable (which isn’t too far off I guess), but then grew to love drinking their tea. I’m sure it’s better for you (at least your teeth) than coffee, but for some reason I just couldn’t keep up with the routine compared to my coffee habits. I simply don’t have any motivation to drink tea.

However, I’m the farthest thing from a coffee snob, and I will drink pretty much anything if you put it in front of me. You won’t however see me dishing out ten bucks to buy some fancy pre-made-by-a-17-year-old-super-amazing-coffee. That’s just a complete waste of money. I’ll keep that money in my pocket and fund myself a months worth of coffee drinking instead thank you.

  • Drinking the black stuff
  • by David Gluzman
  • Published on October 1st, 2003

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