November 17, 2007

Grindin' My Axe- Coffee

Some people say I always end up having a problem with everything. It doesn’t matter what I might be dealing with- the mundane or the magnificent- I shall find some thing that irks me.

Considering all things big and small, all problems real and imaginary, say hello to the latest offering from yours truly! This is going to be a weekly ranting space; once a week, every week, I shall let the world know what bugged the most.

This week it’s going to be about my struggle for decent coffee.

Since India ‘opened’ itself to allow the best in the world to bite into the giant cake known as the huge Indian market, everyone who’s someone has joined the party. Interestingly the ‘locals’ had warmed up to the competition and things were poised to look good. The funny thing is though the local chains have become better the international ones have started to remind you of India during License Raj! Take TGIF for instance; every time I am there with someone and we order beer, whiskey, vodka and fries, rest assured we’ll start munching on the fries and looking at the vodka and whiskey while waiting for the bloody bottle of beer. But this isn’t about booze this is about the most traded commodity in the world- coffee.

I like my coffee black, sugar less and strong. Get the picture? How difficult is it? Hardly. My local cafés (the Baristas and the Coffee Days) don’t seem to understand the words coming out of my mouth. I tell them black coffee with a little less water. I also gesticulate the physical process of retrieving the cup while the machine still spits droplets of water. If you can believe that these coffee joints can take anyone off the streets and make them world-class baristas who can offer world-class coffee then why can’t they make it with less water? Usually they end up thinking this freak wants his coffee strong so they go ahead and add an extra shot of caffeine and fill ‘er up! Hmm...I don’t shy away from asking and am bloody good at demanding so if I want a double shot I’ll bloody well shout for one.

Things tend to get really bad at times. So bad that I end up trying new tricks- I ask for a shot of coffee and warm water on the side. I then add spoonfuls of H2O to the coffee and stop when my meter reads ‘perfect’. I refuse to have instant coffee, I refuse to sip coffee with too much water, I get the cup changed if it does not smell right. I have now reached a stage wherein brewing coffee at home has reached the red level- I grind beans and make a ‘fresh’ cup of dark roast every time I crave caffeine.

Why am I living in the extreme lane?

I gave up smoking 17 months ago (is there anyone who doesn’t know this already!?) and since then my taste buds have risen from the ashes. This phoenix of a thing called sense of taste is a process and slowly but surely you reach a point where nothing but the best would make you smile. I think of myself as Anton Ego, the food critic from hell in Ratatouille, who doesn't LIKE food but LOVES it and if he doens't LOVE it, he doesn't SWALLOW it! People like Barista coffee, who go to town claiming they are in the coffee business for the love coffee, should realize that this kindergarten logic ain't fooling me!

So am I asking for too much? Considering this is a resultant of my process of circumventing the perils of nicotine, I don’t think it’s too much. Oh make mental note- carry axe when going coffee drinking!

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