My deviation from the instant coffee route started when I accidentally bought filter coffee powder instead of instant coffee powder during the final stages of my bachelorhood in Trichy. I was forced to buy a South Indian filter and tried putting everything everywhere to brew some coffee – I drank whatever the random positioning of the 3 parts of the filter, the coffee powder and hot water produced.
All that changed when I surprised myself with a Breville coffee machine with a grinder for our 5th wedding anniversary. Suddenly pressing buttons produced the weirdest sounds and the nicest coffee. Pouring out the frothed milk was an art and soon I realised why I was never destined to be an artist. I produced patterns and shapes that even the most sophisticated baristas couldn’t conjure up. No genius mind could interpret my coffee dream art except for JJ who was 3 years and always had an answer.
It was a faithful friend, but the machine went kaput after 4 years. Google and youtube showed me what the problem was and soon my sister spent 1$ getting the capacitor needed to fix it and carried it on a plane to India with her family. It wasn’t held up at customs and they did not pay for excess baggage for the 5 grams that it weighed. All was well …. for a while.
Nothing lasts forever and during cold November rains, the coffee machine decided to regularly water my kitchen top in addition to spewing out a good cuppa. In true Indian style I decided to extract every drop of espresso before my friend exploded or fizzed away. I even mentioned it in my blog to make sure it didn’t feel lonely
As it lay there dying, my Breville warned me about the coming year as it breathed its last in December 2019. Little did I know what was to come in 2020.
A new machine was out of my budget and I finally settled for a French press. It tasted better than instant coffee and I was trying various temperatures and ratios and angles and moon positions to get a better brew. With my skills, it all boiled down to sheer luck in the end.
After counting the change in my pocket, I decided on a Moka Pot as a back-up for the days the moon didn’t line up well. It was an interesting gizmo and kept me entertained with the sight of the decoction oozing and spurting out of the nozzle. It still didn’t give me the espresso experience but my coffee journey was back on track – on the path less taken.
My Brevilles final warning rang in my ears as a virus spread and lockdown happened. Suddenly roasted whole coffee beans in Vellore was more difficult to find than toilet paper in Australia. After trying alternatives in the kitchen I finally got my hands on some peaberry beans after a nervous 5 minutes 1 metre away from a sales counter. As couriers opened I got more.
Then it happened! The french press is made of glass. 2 feet below my kitchen counter is hard, tiled floor. They met. My dreams were shattered more than the glass.
I counted the currency notes in my wallet and ended up with an AEROPRESS. It was compact and way better than the presses and the pots. Youtubers loved it and who am I to disagree with them. The whir of the espresso motor and pump, the noiseless gliding of the French Press mesh and the sputtering of the moka pot has given way to the silent hiss at the end of the aeropress coffee extraction.
“All is well,” I say (but my coffee machine still doesn’t come back to life). For a moment I relax…. and then I realise this is 2020.
So if all else fails….. here is a simple, no-coffee-gear method of making coffee that JJ and I looked at online. It’s very Indian but can be done worldwide. It may not have originated in India, but I’ll call it Indian – who knows which eyes are screening this blog!! Channi coffee – simple way to get the much needed coffee kick. Enjoy the confusingly simple instructional video here.
The world is filled with lovely surprises!!