I have realized that Tea drinkers simply do not get the concept of coffee. Tea drinkers wake up bright and cheery at some unearthly hour like 5am and drink their tea meditatively while watching the sun gently rise up in the sky. In contrast, coffee drinkers, night owls that they usually are, groggily stagger to the kitchen at about 8 am, more or less incoherent until they’ve drunk their first coffee of the day. Then they tackle life with energy and gusto until the mid-afternoon crash whereupon they need to be revived drip by drip with a second coffee.
My hints to my Kerala host (would you like me to get you good coffee powder from Banglur?) simply did not ring a bell. The first morning I was given what I considered a cup of milk mildly flavoured with coffee. Not wanting to seem a demanding guest, I mumbled that it was just fine and we made our way to Fort Kochi.
Until mid-afternoon when we stumbled into Kashi Art Café, I must have been in a semi-awake stupor. When I read French Press coffee on the menu, I mentally gave it a thumbs up. It came with hot milk on the side. I poured the exact amount of each into the cup. The coffee was strong, robust and very good. When my host took a sip of my coffee she practically fell of her chair and glugged down an entire glass of water immediately afterwards to mitigate the effects. After that she kept looking at me drinking my coffee with a mixture of awe and terror and then managed to take this photograph where I am giving her the eye.
Photograph by Sajana.J
The next morning at breakfast, my host pushed me down on the sofa and commanded, “Wait!” Then, like the waiter at Kashi Art café, she emerged from the kitchen with a tray which she placed before me. Placed on the tray was a mug of super strong black coffee, a small cup of hot milk and a dabba of sugar. I was ordered to drink what she had prepared. I think the expression of satisfaction on my face was enough for her. She simply said, “I used FIVE spoons of coffee powder in the filter this time!” and then she left me to drink in peace. I drained my coffee, my brain staggered towards clarity and then I looked down into my empty coffee mug and decided I was very, very touched by this thoughtful gesture.