Sunday, 20 July 2014

Drug of Choice

Israel may be declaring war on Hamas for the n+1 time, Malaysian Airlines planes may be dropping out of the sky like flies, but as far as I am concerned there have been two trends in my personal life this year. The first is the ongoing trend around the digitisation of my life, which is constantly being discussed on my blogs; the second, and the subject of this post, is my growing affection to coffee.
Allow me to rephrase: I have become a proper coffee snob, with [almost] everything that comes along with it.
I am addicted.

The escalation process that got me started off rather humbly. Retrospectively, I would point at the introduction of the cheap Aldi coffee machine as my addiction’s starting point. Aldi’s did not deliver good coffee, at least not by my current standards, but it made decent coffee easily available at home.
The next stage, reported here, was the socialisation of coffee at work. It’s not as if I did not socialise over a cuppa before; the catch is that a dam has been breached once this socialisation turned into a regular, daily habit. That has happened for two main reasons: first, I developed a couple of proper friendships, implying I actively sought out the socialisation. And second, we have identified an excellent coffee place, which sent us socialising at the same venue on a regular basis.
The last stage, the straw that broke the camel’s back, came with the introduction of a good coffee machine at home. No longer satisfied with the Aldi’s performance, we got ourselves a proper replacement. Utilising beans carefully selected by yours truly and acquired at “my” regular coffee place, that coffee machine of ours delivers a mean latte – way better than almost everything that passes for coffee at your average coffee serving outlet. Which includes most coffee shops.
An elitist/snob has been created. This snob manifests himself in various ways. First, he would not accept any odd coffee; picky is his middle name. Second, he openly violates previously taken vows not to consume more than one coffee a day. He takes his second one weaker, but he would still take it. And third, he gets a headache when going through a day without coffee (though he would add that this headache is nothing he cannot withstand). But if these are not signs enough for you to accept my addiction, then this surely is: when I wake up in the morning, it’s the coffee I yearn for the most; and the first thing I want after drowning my coffee is yet another cup of coffee.

Now for the key question: is my addiction good or bad?
While any addiction has at least some negativity about it, if only due to the dependency it involves, I do not consider this addiction of mine to be worth fussing about. At least for now, it is not at a stage that even remotely requires medical intervention. Besides, rumour has it one or two cups of coffee a day can have their benefits (I will need to see more before I will believe that, though).
The social aspect of the coffee drinking is therefore taking most of the focus. Although coffee at home does not have the same social factor, it is nice to be able to confidently invite people over for a coffee. More to the point, the value of coffee as the pivot around which social interaction happens, whether at home or at the coffee shop, is quite high. And by now I have become a trend setter at work, introducing new acquaintances to the magic of well done coffee.
I would say that as an outsider to Australian culture, coffee is turning into my alcohol. Aussie culture tends to revolve around alcohol, a drug which I generally dislike. This tends to leave me at the fringes and makes social interaction hard to achieve. However, coffee is something I can take, something I love taking, and something almost everybody else around me loves taking, too. It may not have the same stature as alcohol in Aussie culture, but whatever it has is good enough for me. Or rather, it is as good a break as I can get when it comes to me being a social animal Down Under.

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