A mugshot of coffee 4

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Be on the look out for a substance that causes serious addiction



I went forty-one years in the coffee wilderness, never experiencing that all-consuming craving (okay, addiction) that some – namely my husband (who would mainline coffee straight into his veins if he could get over his aversion to needles) feel for caffeine.


Sure, I liked the smell of freshly roasted beans – I mean, who doesn’t – but the taste? I could definitely take it or leave it. It wasn’t just coffee I had an aversion to. I didn’t even drink tea, which always made me a bit of an anomaly when we’d go to people’s houses.



The conversation would invariably go:


“Would you like a coffee?”

“No thanks. I don’t drink coffee.”

“Oh, how about a cup of tea?”

“Actually, I don’t drink tea either.”



“Can I get you anything to drink then?”

“Do you have hot chocolate?”

“Sorry, we don’t have kids.”

“Okay then. I’ll have a glass of water.”

“Oh. Well sure, we have a tap back here somewhere. I think if you turn it on, you can drink that stuff…”


Okay, the last comment might be a bit far fetched, but you get the picture. Not drinking coffee was often viewed like it was some kind of illness – most likely of the mental variety!



On very rare occasions, I’d cave and accept the obligatory social beverage but it was never an enjoyable experience. Admittedly, in hindsight, 99 percent of the coffee I had ever drunk was the instant variety. The only ‘fresh’ coffee I’d tasted was the thick, black, spiced and super sweet Turkish coffee my husband liked to serve up at dinner parties – and frankly, that tasted liked spiced road tar!

Enjoying each other's company

Then one day, I just woke up and decided I wanted to drink coffee. Who knows why, exactly? It might have coincided around the time I was looking for a new job, and the employment consultant I was working with suggested I meet people within my network for coffee… Well, I couldn’t exactly turn up and order hot chocolate with marshmallows and expect them to treat me like an adult and give me a job…



Or maybe it was when my youngest child started asking for a coffee before he went to school! I couldn’t have everyone in my household be more adult than me, could I?



Perhaps it was a combination of the two. Anyway, long story short, I started drinking coffee. Not that cheap-ass instant stuff most people begin drinking, I went straight to the good stuff – the top shelf – the espresso based coffees.


Ah, help – I’m a coffee snob!


At the height of my job-searching attempts, I was downing up to 5 coffees a day (and buzzing like a bee on speed!).


And before I knew it, I was just another coffee addict – one who couldn’t function properly in the morning without a caffeine injection.


But before this divulges into one those “Hi, I’m Rebecca and I’m a coffee addict” posts, there was a point behind me writing a blog on coffee.



Since joining the “Coffee Club”, I’ve quickly come to realise that there are vast differences between good and bad coffee, or even good and great.



Bad coffee…



I’ve been served up coffee that tastes like watered down mud! I’ve also drank coffee that is so burnt, you may as well lick the coals in the bottom of your fireplace.



I was in Sydney last week for a summit. One of the sponsors had set up a coffee booth, and this was mentioned in our pre-event planning meeting.



Someone made the blasé comment that it was great coffee, and one of the Italian analysts said “we’ll see”.


It got me thinking – what makes a great coffee?



Is it in the eye of the beholder (or more aptly, the tastebuds)?



Some people like their coffee bitter and strong. Others prefer it smooth and mild. Black, white, short, long, unsweetened or confectionary sweet.



There are latte aficionados, cappuccino converts, espresso advocates, the macchiato mafia, the ristretto freaks…


Some prefer drip coffee, while others like the spiced Turkish or Arabic variety. The afogato brigade are so serious about their coffee, they just tip it on their ice cream.


Then you have the pseudo coffee drinkers, who are really just hot chocolate people trying to look cool (think mocha, and those triple caramel frappuccinos Starbucks like to pass off as real coffee).



Personally, I like a good old double dose of espresso topped up with some warmed milk – unsweetened of course.



And while Hobart has some good coffee houses (Dome, Two Little Ducks, Banjos, and even yes, McCafe), I often find, in most of the other places, that the beans are too bitter, or worse still, burnt!





So strangely enough, the most reliably good coffee comes from our trusty old DeLonghi Prima Donna, with Harris medium roast beans…



Ah, just thinking about it now has given me a craving.






So coffee lovers. How do you like your coffee, and where have you found that serves the best?

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Rebecca Byfield

About Rebecca Byfield

Rebecca Byfield is Editor-in-Chief of The Writers' Shack and its associated blogs. She has more than 15 years' experience in journalism and communications. She writes fiction under her alter ego, Riley Banks. Rebecca is available for freelance assignments. For more information, go to http://www.rileybanks.net/newsite/freelance-writer/ Also, check out our Pens for Hire page for a list of freelance writers, editors, translators and more - http://www.rileybanks.net/newsite/pens-for-hire/

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4 thoughts on “A mugshot of coffee

  • Michael R. Stern

    Rebecca, this is most welcome. I used to laugh at the idea of people going to Starbucks and paying exorbitantly for a cup of coffee. Then my daughter started working there. I like strong coffee, black. The days of good to the last drop ended when, instead of laughing, I actually tried Starbucks Sumatra. I’ve been drinking it ever since. Here’s a truism. Fill your Mr. Coffee machine to 12 cups, and the equivalent coffee scoops. When your pot begins to empty, put in two cups of water and you won’t notice a difference. And the best surprise, if you drink it lukewarm or even cold before your cup again, it’s not bitter. I’ll stop now. Time for a refill.

  • jjspina

    I love Green Mountain Dark Magic Decaf from my Keurig coffee maker. I know, I am a wimp not drinking caffeine! Oh, I am already wired and don’t need it unless I am exhausted from taking care of my five grandchildren! Whew!