Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Coffee, and Rituals

I’m not a coffee snob. I draw the line at International Roast (it’s not really coffee, is it), but other than that, if it’s after 10:30am and I haven’t had a coffee yet, I’ll drink pretty much any kind of coffee. But I do have some preferences.

I like my coffee to be in a proper mug, not one of those takeaway things. I have been known to send a coffee back because I asked for it in a proper mug but it came in a takeaway one. If I have to have a takeaway (because I’m taking it away), I like it to be without a lid. I mean really, since I’m getting a cappuccino, there isn’t a lot of point if most of the creamy top of it, along with all the chocolate sprinkled on top, is stuck to the lid.
I like to have the time to actually enjoy my coffee. Savouring the creamy top and the lovely coffee flavour are a major reason why I love coffee. If I have to rush it, or do something else at the same time, I can’t do it justice.

My morning tea ritual
I like the creamy milk on top of my coffee to be just that – creamy. Not frothy, creamy. Frothy is just all air, and quite disappointing. I’d rather have a thin layer of creamy than a huge pile of frothy.

I like my coffee like Goldilocks does – not too hot, and not too cold, but Just Right! Too cold means I have to drink it faster than I’d like. Too hot means it burns my mouth and I have to wait for it to cool down a bit. Just Right means I can start sipping right away, taking my time to finish it, and not have it go cold before I do.
I like my coffee to have a bit of flavour. Sometimes the smell of the coffee is just wonderful, but the taste is a real let-down.

I like my coffee to come with a spoon. That way, I can spoon the creamy top off and “eat” it first, then sip the rest of the drink. Those paddle-pop stick things do a reasonable job if you just want to stir the coffee, but they just don’t work well as spoons.

We ritually take photos of our Kids, doing naughty things
But these preferences are just me. Most coffee drinkers have their preferences, and I don’t judge them if those preferences are not the same as mine. My Dad, for example, had a simple preference for “ordinary coffee with ordinary milk in it – none of that frothy crap” (that’s a direct quote from him ordering a coffee in a café on the North Shore in Sydney). A good friend always orders hers “extra hot, and if it isn’t hot enough, I’ll send it back”. Another friend always leaves half the cup.
But what do I do at home? Well, that is where the ritual comes in. I didn’t realise how much of a ritual it had become until I was thinking about routine in my day. Morning tea is a significant part of the routine. (Maybe I should call it “morning coffee”?) Coffee in the plunger. Taken to the Viewing Area (the name we have given to the part of our home that looks across the back yard to the farmland). Let sit for just the right amount of time, to brew and cool slightly. Poured into “my” mug. Topped up with creamy milk (Les gave me a milk frother for Christmas). Drinking chocolate sprinkled on top. Creamy milk eaten with a spoon. The remainder of the mug sipped as I chat with Les and look out at the world that is our view.

This ritual calms me. What more need I say?

Our Christmas Ritual - the Santa salt and pepper shakers,
the Christmas bonbons, the sparkling wine
We all have rituals. They help us feel safe. We get a bit tetchy when they are challenged, but that’s just because we are scared, and unsure of how we will cope with change. There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as we don’t hang on to those rituals at all costs. We need to know when to let them change, or even let them go.


  1. What "Just Joyful" did not point out is that Les often makes the coffee for her (we take it in turns) and things always taste better when someone else make them or does the cooking...
    Signed Les

  2. g'day
    saw your comment over on rhonda's blog DTE & thought i'd come for a look myself; i used to be a big fan of coffee, good coffee, none of the instant dirt that they call coffee, i like expresso best done in the plunger, i drink mine black with honey (allergic to cow) these day i probably have 2-3 a week but its always just right!
    you have a beautiful view there
    selina from kilkivan qld

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Selina. I've noticed your comments on Rhonda's blog, and wondered what life was like in Kilkivan. I've been up your way a couple of times on holidays, staying a few nights near Kingaroy before heading further north.

  3. I followed you here from Down to Earth too - hello! What an amazing view to look at while you drink your coffee, wow.

    I prefer my coffee at home with double cream but mostly just take it with milk. In coffee shops I have cappuccino usually or a caramel macchiato. Now I really fancying a coffee and I've not been shopping, so all I have in the house is instant!

    1. Hi Debbie. Yes, I do have a great view. I'm thankful for it every day. Yesterday we woke to see it covered in a great frost, but still the cows and the kangaroos were grazing on it.

      Hmmmm, caramel macchiato...now that's something I'll have to try!


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