Monday, the 28h of August 2017
I’m spending the next two weeks of my summer holiday visiting family and friends across Scotland. Fourteen happy hellos and fond goodbyes. Fourteen days spent making new memories. Fourteen nights sleeping in other people’s beds. And fourteen mornings waking up to Other People’s Coffee.
Of course, this is only a problem when Other People’s Coffee is bad.
But in my experience, it usually is. In fact, it’s often awful.
For many years I suffered in silence, accepting cups of watery, brown filth and forcing a smile as I flipped it over my tongue and down my throat as quickly as I could manage. Those days are gone.
So what’s the solution?
Simple. I take my own.
I arrive to my hosts’ front door with a suitcase in one hand and ‘my coffee bag’ in the other. And I’m not just talking about a bag of my favourite beans. I’m talking about a specific bag containing all my essential coffee paraphernalia. In addition to the actual coffee I always pack my faithful Italian coffee pot – and just in case my hosts have a stove-top which rejects it, I also carry my tiny little camping stove. On many a morning I can be found crouching in a friend’s back garden, hands cupped around a blue flame, smile fixed on my face as the sound of bubbling intensifies and my pot shoots out coffee-scented steam. But as the coffee cloud rises, it brings a few questions with it.
Are those moments of caffeine ecstasy worth the embarrassment and ridicule my coffee snobbery sometimes causes? Do hosts feel I’m rejecting them when I reject their instant granules? Am I putting good espresso before good manners? And finally, am I the only person who goes to such extremes?
I doubt it.
But if you’re still suffering in silence as Other People’s Coffee swills in your bloodstream, my advice is this. Take your own and make your own. If you want to drink good coffee in the morning, you’ll need to start by swallowing your pride.