The Blessed Bean…

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The time has come to discuss a very important matter, one dear to my very existence. I speak, of course, of the dear fruit of the coffee plant. Yes, dear readers, I shall now sing the song of my people. I love coffee!!!

A lot of people like coffee. They may even find it a necessity of being a functioning human. Many do. However, I just love everything there is about coffee: The fragrance, the bold flavor, the somewhat bitter taste that gets your attention but is still comforting. There is just something absolutely fabulous about the beverage.

My love affair started at a tender age. I think I was all of maybe 3 or 4 years old. I couldn’t help but notice that the adults at the table had a cup of inky fluid that I was never offered. This sparked my curiosity. My questions and requests to have some were not to be subdued with attempts to deceive my young mind. I was not to be fooled by my juice, milk, or other innocuous beverage being put into a similar vessel. I knew that what my father (grandfathers and grandmothers) had was not what was being offered to me. My mother did not partake of the same drink as she has only in recent years developed any ability to stand the taste of coffee. She adores tea (in the British sense with either milk or lemon depending on the type), but she never liked the taste of coffee. Even now, as she has attempted to cultivate a tolerance, the resulting concoction can hardly be recognized for the magnificent brew by the time she is done putting all the other stuff in there.

Back to the past, I begged to be allowed to have some of the coffee that everyone else drank. As the deceptive tactics did not work, scare tactics were tried. I was told it would stunt my growth and that it would turn my neck black. I was not deterred. Eventually, my father allowed me to take a sip of his coffee. It was black, unsweetened, and hotter than the surface of the sun. I truly believe that I was allowed that first sip because it was believed that the harshness would cause me to run screaming from the room to never attempt drinking it again. I am not certain if it was some unconscious knowledge that this was the motive coupled with my natural orneriness that foiled their plans, but the result was exactly contrary to their wishes. I was hooked. I did burn my tongue a bit, and that was a tad unpleasant, but the taste was amazing. I was still not allowed to have my own coffee regularly, but it was too late.

So… I am a coffee drinker. I drink it generally from the time I get up in the morning until sometimes late in the evening. I do not participate in the world upon waking without it. That’s not so much that I can’t function before coffee, but I prefer not to interact with the world… mostly the other humans in it before I’ve had my moment of communion with the decoction of the blessed bean. It’s more of a spiritual experience than a chemical one. I have had people ask me whether I sleep. I do. In fact, when I do not drink my coffee in the regular doses, I actionally have trouble sleeping. Well… more trouble than usual with my odd patterns and dreamscapes, but that is a whole other post. I have been known to drink coffee and go straight to sleep. I apparently inherited this particular trick from my father. I have never really experienced the “jitters” or nervousness that caffeine imparts upon some people. It seems my system likes sufficient stimulant in my bloodstream to keep things running smoothly and focused. It is possible that I have been self-medicating for some attention deficit all these years.

Let’s talk types of coffee. I’m not really one of those gourmet, fancy types. I will occasionally get a flavored coffee or sometimes one of those froofy desert-type things that contain whisky or liqueur and have a lot of whipped cream on them. That’s not what I prefer, though. That isn’t coffee. That is a coffee-flavored liquid desert. I choose plain ol’ café Americano, black, no sweetener… the stronger the better. I also like espresso (that’s “ES-Press-o” not “expresso”). I have been known to drink a cappuccino, which adds milk against my nature, but as long as it isn’t flavored with large amounts of some sweetening agent, it is okay. Growing up in the Middle East, I developed a love for traditional Arabic coffee made in the old fashioned dallahs over a fire. I also really like Turkish coffee which has strong flavors of cardamom and almost seems like a good rich dark chocolate (without sugar). I like dark roasts and bold roasts and there are even some flavored coffee beans that I enjoy (hazelnut, and some of the seasonal specialties). I have never developed a taste for chicory. I do not understand the purpose of adding this to coffee. Suffice to say, just leave it out of mine, thanks. My favorite coffee of all times is actually called Deathwish. Aside from having a badass label and accessories with skulls on them, they really have the strongest, most caffeinated, and smoothest brew I have ever tasted. They have their original and Valhalla Java (Odinforce Blend). The company also produces k-cups of both lines for the times when you just gotta have it and don’t have time for a whole pot of brew. You can check it out at http://www.deathwishcoffee.com/ But I digress… I just really love my coffee.

We can discuss for a while the various types, brands, species… of beans. For instance, I understand that Jamaica Blue Mountain is supposed to be one of the best coffees. The Kona from Hawaii is also highly prized. Kopi Luwak… um… yeah. So, apparently, the most expensive coffee in the world, also called civet coffee, costs roughly $60 an ounce ($2.50 per gram… for those on metric). Why is it so dear? Well, apparently it has to do with the rarity and difficulty of the process of obtaining the beans. I also truly believe the price is jacked up because there are crazy people willing to pay nearly $900 for a kilo of the stuff. This particular type of coffee is obtained through a digestive process; specifically, the digestive process of an Asian palm civet. This creature is, I believe, related to a cat or raccoon or possibly a ferret, but looks like a cross between a rat and a possum to me, and truly could have been used as a model for The Princess Bride ROUSes. They are about the size of a housecat. They apparently like to eat the coffee cherries. For those who don’t know, coffee beans are not beans or legumes at all. They are, in fact, the pit or stone of a small red fruit that looks like… well, a cherry. So, the coffee cherries, which taste nothing like the fruit we normally eat on top of chocolate fudge cake or sundaes, are eaten by these little creatures. Since their digestive systems do nothing to the hard central seed of the fruit, it does what all indigestible material does… it passes right on through. And… you guessed it, the civet defecates the remainders, and people collect it and rinse (we hope) to collect the coffee beans from the rest of the undigested material. The beans are then taken through the rest of the process like other coffee beans and sold for large amounts of cash to people with, in my opinion, more money than sense. I really have to wonder if it isn’t some sort of novelty joke. “Here, dear. You’ve always said my coffee tastes like crap…”

I have to wonder. Who actually was wandering around Asia and saw this little weasel thing take a dump and said, “Hey, I think I’m gonna dig around in the poop and see what’s in there!” Subsequently finding coffee beans… they decided to grind up and make a potion out of it?!? Really? I am consistently wondering about the human race and how we came to eat and drink some of the things we did. This one, however, takes the cake… or the bean… or the cup of coffee.

So, Kopi Luwak, the most expensive coffee in the world is crap. Quite literally, it is. However, some people say that the process makes it smoother and less acidic. I would have zero clue about this since I cannot afford $23 cup of coffee… Maybe when I win the lottery, I’ll give it a try. In the meantime, I will continue to drink my coffee without running it through a small mammal. Coffeewitch needs her coffee.

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