I never thought I would grow to love coffee. I always thought it was the bitter, rancid offspring of the devil’s arsehole. The antichrists’ wet fart if you will. Fair to say, I couldn’t see myself as a regular visitor at Starbucks anytime soon. Even Nan’s Camp coffee with all its non-coffee tasting milky goodness was still a bridge too far, although I would spare it any devils anus comparisons.
Tea, on the other hand, could be drunk by the bucket load in our household. It didn’t matter how; tea with one, builders or dishwater…as long as it was tea you were doing alright. A distinct look of suspicion would be thrown your way should you even politely decline your third cup in the last half an hour. God help you if you declined your first!
I was happy with that. I liked tea. It was sweet (even without sugar) and the supply was so plentiful, especially at Nan’s house. You always knew, by the time you were onto your third cup that the battered old biscuit tin would make an appearance and you would have a chance to play lucky dip in the goodies that she had acquired that week. Bourbons and rich tea’s were a stock items usually, could be a hob-nob if you were very lucky (everyone knows they’re the best dunkers so we’ll have no arguments).
But tea is the defensive midfielder of hot beverages – reliable, stoic and pretty one dimensional. Eaten with a hob-nob at your Nan’s house it is bliss but its inherent sweetness means that as soon as you start putting vanilla and caramel in it, as well as making yourself look like a bit of a twat, your tea is also going to taste pretty shit! It’s like putting David Batty in pink football boots.
And that’s where coffee has the edge. To some, you will probably still resemble some hipster knob for mucking about with your coffee, but the new world order of various blends, syrups and independent shops has me hooked. It’s all Mrs Hangry and her cosmopolitan worldliness that is to blame for exposing me to all of this but the mix of bitter coffee blends with a sweet addition (either syrup or chocolate) is a wonderful thing. There is an accessibility and individuality about coffee these days and if the amount of new outlets is anything to go by, it’s only getting stronger.
Now, I thought long and hard about my football simile for coffee and had to find someone that was rich, extravagant, versatile and satisfying to behold but who carried an air of arrogance and general twattishness about them (I’m thinking in terms of coffee’s distinct, unashamed inability to share the cup with anything else – namely Hob-nobs!). Coffee could therefore only ever be the Cristiano Ronaldo of hot beverages.
Just thinking of that simile leaves me numb and shaking my head in disbelief about what I have become. However, I then think about the last coffee I had at Steam Yard in Sheffield, and I am completely at ease again. A mocha of complete indulgence; only full of hot chocolate, coffee and milk but worth so much more. An ‘Ahhhhhhhhhh’ in a glass if ever there was one and in a quaint, welcoming and oh so cool setting.
If ever you think about how much of a git you’ve become for liking coffee so much, get yourself down to the Steam Yard and they’ll remind you of where your priorities lie!