The truth of my coffee drinking history and why I now drink tea:
The first time I heard the word my dad yelling it from his workshop in the basement: coffffeeee!! It meant he’d like one, pdq. A slice of cake wouldn’t hurt either. And while you’re at it, bring him a cigarette willya…
As a teenager I found, bought, won or was given a blue coffee mug with the word Coffee printed on it, from which I drank triple triples.
In my twenties I went camping with friends and someone forgot to bring the sugar—might have been me—so all weekend I tried to drink coffee with only milk but it was so awful I preferred it black. I liked it so much, in fact, that I continued to drink it black and sans sucre ever after.
Then one day at what was then the Bellair Cafe, I had a cup of coffee that made my heart beat so loud it scared me.
I chose decaf but it was never the same.
In France I once asked for a decaf cafe au lait. Just once. I got the message [via The Look] loud and clear.
Then in England I discovered black tea. (Different from the herbal teas my mother made.) I drank it with milk and sugar and chocolate covered digestive biscuits until a few years later I was sitting on a rooftop in Aspen, Colorado, with the lad formerly known as the Chef and two large paper cups of take-out orange pekoe. He’d forgotten to ask for milk and neither of us wanted to run down five flights so I drank it black with sugar, which I discovered was much nicer. (I’ve since discovered stevia, which is nicer still.)
I never returned to coffee and eventually lost the ability to make a decent cup for anyone else. I’ve since given up on it entirely.
So if you come to my house now you will be offered tea—green, orange, chamomile, lapacho bark, east friesan, rooibos, peach flavoured oolong, mount everest black, jasmine phoenix pearls, pear cream, yerba mate, ginseng, mint, fresh raspberry leaves when in season, or calendula, sage, sumach, even cedar if that’s up your street.
If none of those strike your fancy, there’s plenty more.
There is no coffee.