"Espresso! My Espresso!"
An Ongoing Internet Novelette
by Randy Glass - Copyright 2002 - All rights reserved
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
1Is there anyone that isn't pleased, spiritually awakened, stirred to the soul, or brought to olfactory bliss by the aroma of coffee? That warm, rich, pleasing smell drifting through the house takes many of us back to our childhoods. The little metal key pulled with effort from the bottom of the large, brightly colored metal can. Attached to a little metal tab at the rim then turned and turned, seemingly many hundreds of times to release the lid, then that smell of ground coffee when the tin was opened. The pot placed on the stove- I can remember that aluminum pot on a burner with its little crystal ball on top, that rich brown fluid bubbling at uneven intervals as if by magic. It was all part of Mom and Dad's morning ritual, making it all the more special.
Coffee in the Soul
It's been that way for a long time, and for those of us with no palate for tea, we have the Continental Congress to thank. We all remember the story of how we Americans revolted against King George's Tea Tax, the most famous even of which was the much celebrated "Boston Tea Party." In 1773, to spite King George, the Continental Congress declared coffee the official national beverage. If the history of coffee seems to interest you, here are some more links to explore:
Over 86,000 hits on "Google Search" on the subject of "History of Coffee"
When I was a child, and like so many of you as well I would imagine, coffee was the forbidden liquid. "Can I have some?"
"No. It's not good for children. It will stunt your growth."
Of course, as we grew up we learned that it had nothing to do with our growth. It was that a cup of coffee in a child would mean a very long evening spent with a hyperactive child running about the house at warp speed with not a thought in its head of sleep- the product of caffeine. It was hyperactivity and not a worry of raising height-challenged children that kept many of us from enjoying coffee in our youth.
Later in life, at so many Boy Scout camp outs, that same, or at least an identical aluminum coffee pot sitting on a cookstove brewing that rich, brown liquid for the adults was my next memory. I can still see that dented pot- lightly bent and distorted form years of being packed in a variety of boxes and packs on its way to countless camp outs, its bottom near-permanently blackened.
It was at one of those camp outs that I was first introduced to a hands-on coffee experience. It's too long ago to remember the details, but my dad as Scoutmaster assigned the coffee duties to the scouts. We were at Camp Whitsett for a week-long experience, and Dad wanted to have hot coffee awaiting him first thing in the morning so we were told to check that the pot had water in it and to put it n the first camp stove that was hot. Well, that's about all the kids did- put some water into the already day-old coffee and percolate the aging brew once again. By the middle of the week what was in the bottom of the pot was anything but coffee. It was sufficiently thick and strong enough to have a life of its own. I don't know what kept it from clawing its way out of the pot, jumping off the stove, and walking out into the woods to take on a life of its own and a search for a mate.
As an adult it would be years later before I was properly introduced to coffee. I remember occasional cups purchased in winter rain storms, purchased at convenience stores or from a vending machine just because something warm to be consumed made it a life-saving liquid. It had nothing to do with quality java. Sure, one morning I had a cup at a Starbucks as a partial cure for a headache. It was warm and was made of hot water run over something that would pass for coffee beans, but that was about it. It had been over-brewed and was bitter and lacked the sweet rich flavor that should be coffee.
Years later, I was more properly introduced at a friendly little coffee shop in Oroville, California- "That's A
Latte," where I had my first latte and enjoyed my first cups of what would pass for real coffee.