This morning my mother-in-law asked me to come make her a pot of coffee. I was a little nervous, because I'm not used to her coffee maker and I didn't want to make her something undrinkable. Making coffee, after all, is an art not to be trifled with.
If you have ever lived with me you know that I don't usually drink very much of my coffee. But I do love making it, smelling it brew, and carrying it around the house.
One day it dawned on me why this is so. Here is my Coffee Manifesto.
For me, the process of making coffee means that I am taking time to do something just for me. Not for the kids or my tea-drinking husband. Even before I had aforementioned family following me around, asking for a sip of this, a nibble of that and a pound of flesh, I have felt this way (without realizing it). I once bought an electric coffee maker with a timer, but that just didn't do it for me. I like making cafe Americano with my espresso machine. I also enjoy my French press. The more steps, the better. But once it's made, its usefulness has passed.
Conversely, if you invite me over and offer me a cup of coffee (or tea) I will drink all of it. Being offered something in someone's home is one of my favorite things. I think some day, hundreds of years from now, there will be a coffee ceremony not unlike the Japanese tea ceremony. Grind, measure, tamp....
There will probably not be steamed milk involved. It is loud, and getting milk froth on your nose is so indelicate.
After college I visited my friends Danny and Doug, who were living in London. They were squatting and I was a little afraid this meant that they were living in a stairwell somewhere. To my delight, they had a flat with a locking door, running water, lights and a 2 burner stove. One evening we visited a friend of theirs who was waiting to be evicted (he, too, was squatting). So here we are in his livingroom and he says (in his very British way) "cup of tea?"
Imagine this 20-something guy, in a not particularly nice part of town, about to get tossed out on the street. "Cup of tea?"
How lovely is that.