Tuesday, April 05, 2011

The coffee cup: the history

I am obsessed with coffee; I would go so far as to state that it might be the one constant thing in my life. Even though, at times I move away from it -as an attempt to be a healthier person- I always fail to stick to this notion for long, and I always return to it. I have written an ode to coffee a while back, which I still believe is one of the better posts I have written.

Here I attempt to narrate my history of my -ahem- love affair with the aromatic beans of consciousness, AKA coffee.

As with all great love stories, it begins in childhood. I remember playing around the coffee table- the old ones made of carved, but sturdy wood, and topped with a marble slab- a relative sitting near the table, on a comfortable chair, waiting for something. My mother emerges from the hallway with a tray, on it are two tiny cups of porcelain underneath them two exquisite saucers, with intricate details that almost look like embroidery and two kanakas- the containers in which Turkish coffee is made. My mother would pour the relative's coffee first, slowly and carefully into the tiny- yet to my childish hand, it was just the right size- cup, the smoke from the kanaka would lift off, carrying the intense aroma of spiced coffee in the air and into my nostrils. At the top of the coffee a flimsy membrane would form, signifying that it was done the right way; it is a fact that Turkish coffee without it tastes horrible and points at the inefficiency of the coffee-maker.

I would hang around the table waiting to get a taste, but my mother would always refuse to allow it. Yet, I would grow more and more impatient; her forbidding it made it even more urgent and more desirable for me to try the magnificence of the imposing substance that adults drank. After they would finish their coffees, they would flip the cups onto the saucers so as to allow the coffee to form lines and grooves with its dregs. The dregs, according to ancient tradition, were the oracles of the coffee world; they predicted the future. The dregs knew all, and revealed them to lucky drinkers. Hence, coffee took a more mystical turn for me. It became, not only an experience of the senses, a sneak peek into adulthood and a trespassing of the forbidden, but it became an insight into the unknown, some kind of ethereal insight on earth. To my childish eye, it became an enchanting notion of magic, something which made me even more eager to try it, since at that time I was determined to become a witch.

As fate would have it, my mother and the relative would leave the table unattended, for the sake of going to look at something or check on someone, and the table with all its treasures -the inverted coffee on the saucers- would lie there, enticingly inviting me to tread into the forbidden.

I would carefully, and determinately climb on the chair,  in a crouched seated position, as if asking permission from the mystical world of coffee, which would be responded to with the concentrated scent of cold coffee. I would take it as a sign to proceed. Slowly my index finger would reach for the saucer, dip it in the coffee, and then taste the earthy substance. To say it was exhilarating would be a criminal understatement; it was world-turning, awe-inspiring and forever life-altering. My fate was sealed, I would become a coffee-addict for the rest of my life, a slave to one small bean that had so much power in it.

My fun would be cut short as my mother would return and discover what I have done, so she would remove the tray with its valuable cargo, and put it out of my reach, as I vow to repeat the forbidden encounter in my own childish mind.

1 comment:

ibhogthesequel said...

beautifully written :)

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