Thursday, January 12, 2012

Coffee 2 go

It's commonly known that I am not a coffee connoisseur. I'm an instant coffee guy. And I mean that. A few years ago (quite a few) when friends and I frequented a certain Muffin Break (in the old Northlands Mall), I talked the proprietor into keeping a bag of instant coffee in the bottom cupboard just for me. So every day he'd make me an instant coffee, charge me four dollars and laugh all the way to the bank.

I still drink instant coffee, and the cheaper the better. I like the Home Brand and Budget brews. Why pay ten bucks for a bag of Nescafe when the cheaper stuff for two ninety nine a bag, sometimes as low as one sixty nine, taste just the same?

When I go to Coffee Culture I wish I could get a decent cup of instant coffee. Not perked either. That stuff's just nasty.

Truth is I don't really even like coffee. That's why I have it with lots of milk and lots of sugar. To mask that bitter coffee taste. It's more about simply having a hot drink. (Tea? That's even nastier than perked coffee.) I went on a date one day, many years ago. The lady ordered coffee and I ordered a banana milk shake. She laughed. We didn't go out again.

When I do get coffee, I always get a latte. Because it's got lots of milk in it and if I load it up with sugar I can almost believe it's instant at home.

Secretly I think anybody that really likes coffee is a bit pretentious. Hugh and I decided to be a bit bold one day at South Library and we ordered short blacks. Neither of us had any clue what a short black was, but we thought we'd extend our horizons a little. (Actually, it was Hugh's idea. I would never be so frivolous!)


What a disgusting thing. People drink those? The first sip took my breath away. The second sip I took only because I know there are starving children in Africa and the coffee beans I was currently gagging over were probably picked by poor little Peruvian peasant children so I felt some sense of responsibility to them. But a third sip was completely out of the question. That would have been ridiculous. Nobody actually likes coffee like that do they? Surely not. I am afraid that there may be palettes out there that countenance such vile substances. At the time our street was being tar-sealed and what was in that pathetic little cup seriously resembled in more ways than one the stuff the council guys were spreading on our road. I think I ordered a milk-shake to dispel the foul residue in my mouth. Eeeew.

What the hell is a long black? The same but just more of it? No amount of social responsibility and guilt about poor Columbian children could get me to drink more of that stuff.

So when my favourite coffee place, The Savoy Brown, got munted in the February earthquake I thought Meh, I still got my instant coffee (The Savoy Brown was all about the place, not the coffee) and I'm sure there will be more coffee places to be pretentious in.

Who knew? The era of the coffee kiosk was upon us. When I wrote about Coffee Zone in Sydenham I had begun to see little new coffee places popping up all over the place. I should take photos of them, I told myself. But rarely do I listen to myself, so I only took photos of a few of them. Like Coffee Zone and another one I stumbled upon down town. Kea Coffee. It's a mobile set-up, unlike Coffee Zone, and can be seen on Manchester Street weekdays (I think).

Initially I liked that it had three chairs out the front (get it? three chairs?) But I also realised (man, I'm quick. Not!) that this was just one more of these little coffee places popping up all over town. And I figured this will be an aspect of cultural significance in the new look Christchurch. And as such, that, among other things (cones...remind me to write about the new Cone Culture in Christchurch) will be of interest to people other than just me.

Nek minnit - there's a Facebook page dedicated to the new Christchurch rising from the liquefaction, part of which is, of course, an interest in the coffee and food places popping up city-wide. And actually, I really appreciate pages like this. The Christchurch earthquakes will very likely be the most significant event/s in my lifetime (they certainly are thus far), and as such I felt from early on every aspect of it needed to be recorded. Hence a million #eqnz photos and pages dedicated to the quakes. A few books so far, and I know of a few novels being written with the earthquakes as the setting.

Our suburban go-to place for coffee has been Coffee Culture Beckenham for a few years now. Across the road from it buildings that used to be there are no longer. Gone. Demolished. Coffee Culture is in a newer complex and was relatively unscathed. But I miss The Savoy Brown in the city and it's atmosphere. Someone told me they left a belt in that cafe, and Feb 22 happened before they could retrieve it. It's possibly still buried in the depths of the High Street rubble. Might be fun one day to try and see if it's still there. And try a long black.


Tracey Edwardes said...

OMG...This is your best blog yet..don't ask me why..i just love your raw humour-encased honesty. Nescafe should grab you and make you their star and mascot and PR guy.
Bizarre thing is ... i am completely the opposite...i never drank coffee till i was 35 because all that was available was instant..which made me LITERALLY nauseous. Except when i went to italy in my 20's and drank 5 cappuccinos in one day and was fine!! along came the cafe revolution in Christchurch when i was 35 and a great barista nextdoor to work...who got me hooked of the bloody things,,,and if i had all my money back for all the cappuccinos i have had to drink every day since...i could have afforded a holiday in Italy. I'm so JEALOUS of you preferring instant...but I must ask...why do you avoid the hot chocolate? and must tell you ... Many baristas in chc DO make it bitter and horrible...they apparently "burn " it ... i have to have sugar if the do and hate it..but can drink without sugar if a good coffee. The taste for coffee is a bit like the taste for capers, anchovies olives, oysters's do to with the design of your taste buds...and if you are a "bitter tastes sexy" person. You, therefore are just SWEET. (-; ... ( tried green tea?)

Anonymous said...

OMG, I loved your blog.
I guess I would have to say, you would probably consider me pretentious, in that I love coffee. A few years ago it was nothing for me to be drinking 15 – 20 cups of instant coffee a day, with milk (trim, naturally can’t stand the fatty taste of blue milk on coffee, nor seeing the fat globules sitting on top!) and artificial sugar. I am not quite sure what happened, but I was at the doctors – he ‘cottoned’ on to my addiction to coffee. I had to go and see him one morning at 8am and then go to work, do my normal days work, drink what I normally drank on the coffee side and go back at 5pm. I can say, I didn’t drink as much as I normally did but when I went back, I was totally gob smacked at the high increase in blood pressure, because of the coffee I drank. He then had me cut it back to initially no more than 6 cups a day – bleedin heck, the withdrawals were amazing. I got migraines, the shakes, I couldn’t sleep and that was because of my coffee addiction!!!!!!
I now probably have no more than 3 or 4 cups a day, but there is no way I could drink home brand, budget brews, Pams or the rubbish you get from Bin Inn, sorry. I am a fan of Nescafe, gold, dark (Arabica beans) or either Greggs or Nescafe Espresso and get one of these as long as they are on special. I am not a fan of perked coffee as I have yet to find one that I really like, I even have my own bean grinder and still I can’t find one I like, so I guess, like you it is instant, at least for the moment.
I love your description of a short black – you say three sips – isn’t that about the number of sips in a short Those cups are so small and lethal. As for a long black, that is just regular strength perked black coffee, like a long white is a long black with milk… hey, I just ask for a cup of coffee with milk!!!
For some reason, I don’t find it strange you are not that keen on coffee. 4 Guys whom I have been out with over many, many, years were also coffee haters... They either preferred Coca Cola, or Milo. Even the guy I got engaged to hated it, perhaps that is why I am still single!!!
It’s a shame you only took a few photos of the different coffee places that are popping up, and you are right in saying they are popping up everywhere. I Just looked at your link of the face book page of coffee and food places…very impressed and very much liked the photos they have used of yours.. Love the Kea one.
I have seen caravans (Stanmore Road), little “Mr Whippy” type vans, and of course the drive through coffee places. There is one on the corner of Colombo and Angus Street...Always amused me, I have to say. I wonder if the increase in these little coffee places is so people can stop and get a cup of coffee or 3, to keep them awake, because they have had such a restless night’s sleep, because of the earthquakes, they need some stimulus to waken them up for work????
I do remember your photos of the Savoy Brown and friends you used to meet there, like Hugh. Just seeing them is enough to realize you really enjoyed this place. One of your photos, that does stand out that I still remember…don’t ask me why… but it is the one of the salt and Pepper shakers (I can’t find it amongst all your sets, but for some reason have the feeling it was taken at the Savoy Brown, along with a photo of “three Chairs” – I am probably wrong here… so what would be different…lol.
Here is the reminder to write about the cone culture… soon. What is it?
I have to wonder, if you had considered writing a book/novel based around earthquakes?
I don’t know what it is about your blogs, they are so brilliant to read and dare I say they inspire me, to write. If not for the fact they send me down memory lane, but then on many occasions, like this one, they have me laughing so much, probably at your expense. I could say I am sorry for this, but laughing is great medicine for me after a really bad day.