There are a few truly great priveleges of being human, and good coffee ranks very high on that scale. Growing up on the farm, instant coffee was standard fare. No waste. Easy to prepare cup by cup, and available morning, noon, and night. At combining season, instant coffee was good to drink hot or cold in a dusty thermos on the field. Dad said that nothing quenched his thirst quite like coffee. (Hah! to those people who think coffee is evil and dehydrates. Dad is a ripe eighty-five. See how good coffee is?!) On Sundays if we had visitors for faspa, the actual coffee maker would come out and we'd have "drip" coffee. Special treat. That never got wasted either, and small children were often introduced to their first table food by being fed "kaffe brucke" by some toothless old relative. This is a delicacy made up of a thick piece of bread laid in a saucer and covered with hot coffee, thick cream, and white sugar. Mmmmmm. Yummy, nutricous baby food. Ah... the good old days.
With adulthood came the shunning of instant coffee, and the habitual employment of the coffee maker. One quickly learned the difference between the bargain stuff brewed at the office, the swamp water offered at church potlucks, the overly sweetened abominations whipped up at 7-11 or Robins Donuts, and a simply well brewed cup of java.
By the time we'd been married for a bit, we graduated past Maxwell House, and Edwards, and found ourselves devoted to the flavours of Folgers. This was good coffee, in our estimation. Then along came that fateful Christmas when a friend gifted Brian with a coffee bean grinder and we began the great bean hunt. Most of the time, we remained committed to our Folgers, but for the Sundays of our lives, we ground beans and brewed fresh coffee. The smell of those fresh ground beans granted us the same rush as that first whiff of YUM when the seal of a new can of Folgers got opened. We'd been known to mutually inhale and sigh into those cans of folgers.
Well, in time.... some honest friends of ours began to look down their noses at our mediocre, under-cultured ideas of ecstacy, and introduced us to a particular brand of espresso beans.
We've never looked back. We're spoiled for the common world now. Funerals, weddings, family gatherings, hotels, gas stations, and yes, even Tim Hortons have become sources for the condition of coffee snobbery to rear its ugly head. The delicacies of the bean are indiscernable. The flavours are too watered down. The mugs are all wrong.
And that is where I find myself on this sunny morning in April. Out of beans.
There's an elderly can of Folgers in the downstairs freezer and half a can of The Great Canadian Coffee languishing high up in the cupboard. It all tastes like mud to me. No delicacy, no distinguishing of rich bean flavour.
Having recently taken an entire week off of work, the plan was to ease off on the "unnecessary" grocery shopping to take some of the bite out of the trip to the Hat and a week without wages.
But I waver in my loyalties. I find myself grieving the reliable cup of rich java to comfort me in my 6:00 am attempts to start the day.
Maybe I'll go a week without toilet paper and food instead.