“I went out the kitchen to make coffee – yards of coffee. Rich, strong, bitter, boiling hot, ruthless, depraved. The life blood of tired men.”
That coffee is present in this world is not a point of contention. That Kenyans do not drink much of it, is the Breaking News.
Okay, how is that breaking news? For a start, we grow some good cherries in this country. In the deeper world of understanding coffee, Kenyan Coffee is identified us “Gourmet Coffee”. It means, the stuff grown here is special and has certain unique qualities which render the world really excited.
Given that fact, how comes then we do not partake much of it? (Instant coffee does not count it’s not real neither quintessentially Kenyan.) The answer is simple. _Awareness and misconception_ Often I amuse my friends by quoting that “Coffee is a girl who never tells a good boy no”. Madness? No! It’s simply putting coffee into perspective.
So, where do you start before coffee becomes a culture? Before coffee becomes a lifestyle? Before coffee acts as a social lubricant?
- Put in mind that coffee culture is broad and extensive than we can cover in one moon.
- Get that you know nothing.
- Believe it’s not sophisticated.
- See it as a fuel to awesomeness.
- Have the mind-set to see it in social terms.
- Deliberately get caffeinated.
Let us slay this dragon softly.
- Put in mind that coffee culture is broad and extensive than we can cover in one moon. Truth to this statement can be found in the qualities that are characteristic of coffee. Without adding our usual sugar. (Sugar is not a flavour, please keep this in mind). Coffee in its form; black, hot, no sugar, has particular tastes and flavours. To mention but a few: Smokiness, earthiness, crispiness and black currant taste, vanilla taste. These are tastes we will learn on the go. Remember, you will not find these qualities in your normal Nescafe. But, the Nescafe will catapult you to where we want you to be. For a start, would you please reduce the three spoonsful of sugar to just one? Yes, you can. Please try and acquire this habit.
- Get that you know nothing. Until that moment when you sip brewed, hot, black coffee, no sugar and you can positively proclaim it has a particular taste to it, well, you are a novice! Walk the road with me. I need company here too.
- Believe it’s not sophisticated. But then again, how can it be? Pour a cup of coffee and suddenly conversations start. Its more of a social lubricant than a drink. More of a culture than an expense. More of romance than simply meeting that person by the river where the risk of running into a croc or a snake cannot be understated you know!
- See it as a fuel to awesomeness. Coffee dates! Coffee outs! Cold weather warmer! News slow day activator! Thinking cap! Do these things ring a bell? If they don’t, did you know that coffee helps in reducing the risk of getting some form of cancers? Yes, it does. Get drinking.
- Have the mind-set to see it in social terms. See point 4. In Nairobi we are more than used to the aspect of always failing to find a sit at a café in the evening due to crowding. People laughing and enjoying a cuppa up to almost late evening. This is the new favourite past time. _Brewing Friendships over a cuppa_. I am yet to explore coffee culture in other towns. (I will do this soon) Coffee in short brings people together, it is an excuse to meet and chat. However, wherever you are, why not test this assertion. Make some of this instant coffee at your place or brew some, I know there are guys who have some good coffee knowledge out here hence brewing is their territory. Buy some cookies, invite friends, consciously experience the kind of conversations that tend to flow over coffee. Bear with the ones who take six spoonsful of sugar, but please, let them know, sugariness is not a taste in coffee.
- Deliberately get caffeinated. Instant coffee is not real coffee as earlier mentioned. But, start with instant, it is okay. Now boil your water and turn off that burner. Get your mug, don’t add water then instant coffee. No! Start with instant coffee in your cup, then add water. The two methods produce different tastes and the latter in recommended.
Before later we get to understand what a cappuccino, café au lait, mocha, espresso, Latte etc are? The above basics will prove helpful in subsequent explorations. Coffee is all about acquiring the taste in a culture like ours where Tea is predominantly the first point of call. Also, this is the reason why I have been courteous enough to mention ‘instant coffee’ often since it is the point where we all begin.
Coffee is legend, it is love, it is a lifestyle which can be acquired by anyone. They say, if you introduce someone to coffee, coffee does the rest. If my job in this country is to promote coffee culture, then, I have the simplest job there is. Let’s do this.
People have said much about coffee, like one Sir James Mackintosh; a Politician and a poet. He remarked-:
“The powers of a man’s mind are directly proportional to the quantity of coffee he drank.”
No its not me. It is him. Was he mad? Well, days will tell. When Salummy demanded for an article on coffee (yes, she demands and harasses, you know, Lady boss!!) I over scratched my balding head for material. What will I tell guys? Coffee is bae? At the risk of being branded crazy! That coffee takes you to heaven and back! Statements I am comfortable with obviously, but there is always that risk where people prescribe you a psycho even when you are nowhere near that terrain.
Now, since I don’t want that, I chose to get a bit boring with facts and a few lessons which we can build upon as time progresses. This post has pictures of black coffee all through, deliberately to prove that coffee is not a complicated affair and it’s not bad or lame to drink instant coffee. It is where we must start in this country, these are the lemons we have so let us make caffeinated lemonade. Feel comfortable with that instant, I also take it, for reasons beyond my control, I will tell you sooner. But, you should set a goal of graduating to real coffee in a year or two or even earlier.
To end this, if you always find yourself sheepish when you don’t know what to order in a café, probably because coffee language is alien? Fear no more. #coffeeculture #javalove #coffeelifestyle just landed. We will walk together. Email just in case firstname.lastname@example.org or be nosy and visit my coffee blog www.nairobicaffeine.com or simply harass Salummy for caffeine info like she does to me. Till next time; ….
I love how coffee fixes everything. Tired? Drink some coffee. Headache? Drink coffee. Cold? Drink coffee. Someone makes you angry? Bust them in the head with the cup!! Ha Ha. ~anonymous~
By Kelvin Karanja