Articles

A Rebellious Act - Win OTTO by Cheryl DeWolfe - #2

altA rebellious act - I grew up in a home where coffee was prepared by emptying a kettle over a small mound of Maxwell House instant grounds.

My father would fill his mug to start the day while my mother poured the remainder into a thermos. I never understood how he could drink something that looked cloudy and oily and smelled bitter.

It never appealed to me in the least. When I entered my teen years and started getting out of the house with my friends, we often ended up at restaurants and cafes.

One of our favourite haunts was the Old Towne café on lower Johnson.
The narrow establishment was full of indie cred: it was dark, the original brick walls had been exposed, they had swings at the bar, and they served amazingly rich, dark coffee.

I shunned it at first but eventually I grew tired of watching some of my friends get refills for their cups while my hot chocolate ran dry.

My first few mugs were more sugar than coffee but gradually I was able to drink it almost black and there was no turning back. I felt, somehow, more grown up ordering coffee instead of Coke or hot chocolate. I didn't rebel through smoking or drinking alcohol; my rebellion was caffeinated.

The Old Towne eventually relocated but I continued to patronize them and my coffee habit blossomed. After a stint in England (where the norm for coffee seemed to be instant) I returned to find the Old Towne Café had closed, though other cafes and coffee shops were springing up around the city.

I moved beyond drip coffee to espresso drinks, amazed by the richness of café mochas and the creaminess of café lattes. Once I moved out of my parents' home and started buying my own groceries, I tried different roasts and blends of beans at Murchies, gradually finding my preference (very, very dark roasts it seems).

Wanting more, I learned how to brew my own espresso with a stovetop Moka Express. Coffee got me through University and through many years of late evening shifts but once in a while a girl's gotta sleep and I started looking for decaf.
Decaf really shines in espresso drinks; if they are well-prepared, the flavour is the same.

Don't get me wrong, I have caffeine in my veins -- some days I drink an unreasonable amount of coffee - but being able to sit and sip coffee drinks late into the evening and not lose sleep?

That is its own form of rebellion. --Cheryl DeWolfe