Coffee has assumed an important place in the hearts and minds of Australians everywhere. Baristas have become personages wielding influence above and beyond the status of mere cafe workers. These skilled artisans, who brew the black gold and texture creamy milk, have their fingers on the pulse of the nation. They work magic with steam, pressure and heat; servicing an ever growing oral fetish. The smell of freshly ground coffee is, for some, an aphrodisiac, and for most an irresistible force. The art of coffee making is fast becoming an essential prerequisite for a happy life. The gurgling gush of dark liquid and the siren scream of the steam wand in white milk. The heady aroma of a fresh brew; and the waiting cup open to the manna from heaven.
Australians love their trips to their favourite cafe; and visits to new ones, when they deliver on the promise of great coffee. The desire for espresso dreams has pushed them to embark on learning to make them at home and work. The domestic coffee machine brought this inclination to fruition. The barista emerged within us all. A new calling to accompany breakfasts and morning teas. The froth and fury found expression in kitchens right around this wide brown land. Maestros conducted gurgling orchestras with stainless- steel jug and steam wand close at hand.
Memories of Coffee
I began my coffee journey with the ‘flat white'; prosaically named for its distinct lack of froth. Whilst, many of my comrades bonded with cappuccinos, I preferred the unadorned version. Not as fancy as the cafe latte, usually served in a glass, but still a beautifully brewed bowl of milky coffee. Then, a litany of siblings joined the hot drinks menu in cafes all over town. Macchiatos made a splash. Piccolos were pointedly different. Espresso coffees were teaching us all the Italian language in some form or another. These days I only drink black coffee. The ‘long black’ replaced the flat white on my menu and in my repertoire.
Mum & Dad Drank Instant Coffee
My mum and dad drank instant coffee until the day they died. The proverbial jar of Nescafe 44 bean was always by the electric kettle in the family kitchen. The ritual of coffee making, back then, was a teaspoon of granulated instant, hot water and a splash of cold milk straight from the carton or bottle. A simpler time; and our world was in thrall to labour saving devices and fast foods. I always hated instant coffee. Perhaps, I knew, even back then, that it was a lousy American invention, and not the real thing.