Coffee 368

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About me and my coffee journey

This is my coffee journey. It’s been a long process but as the years rolled by my tastes developed and I began to understand more about the wonders of coffee. Starting with milky sweet instant coffee I’ve come a long way, we all have. There’s still a long way to go and much to discover. This website is about that journey, our journey, set up 368 years after Londons first coffee shop. Coffee 368.

Early 1980's

Sweet, milky instant coffee with my Nan

Summer 1987

Holiday frothy coffee

Late nights 1993

Student daze, liquid pro-plus

Cool Britannia 1997

Trafalgar Square 8am, Latte in hand

Italian reality 2000

So you know coffee? ....
Italian delights and embarrassments.

Caffeine 2001-07

First child, first expresso machine. Keep me awake.

Has bean? 2011

New life, better coffee

£6,000 coffee: 2014

Hey! Let's spend £6,000 on a new coffee machine for the office!

368 yrs later: 2020

Young, impressionable, just turning 10, and used to drinking a bizarre amount of sweet tea I remember ‘coffee time’ at my Nan’s. Every morning at 11am a pan of milk would be gently warmed (sometimes 50/50 with water) with instant coffee added at the last moment. Mine came with spoonfuls of sugar. So comforting. 

My Mum often talked about going to local cafes in the 1960’s for ‘frothy coffee’. So, summer 1987, on holiday in Great Yarmouth for the week she took me to the seafront for my first frothy coffee. I can still remember it, remember that it didn’t taste like ‘normal coffee’. Looking back I think it was my first cappuccino. 

Looming essay deadlines, early morning lectures I needed something to keep me awake. Some used pro-plus, I bought my first filter coffee machine with integral hot plate. I can still remember the burnt coffee smell when I forgot to turn it off and the coffee pot burnt dry. 

It’s easy to forget that it started in the 1990’s, the twenty-somethings of the 1990’s are largely to blame for our addiction to coffee. Well, I was part of that crowd. Walking to work across Trafalgar Square, latte in hand, no tourists, beautiful. Of course in the early days you still couldn’t get a decent cup outside of the capital. Cool Britannia, I really thought I was part of it. How naive. 

I thought I knew coffee, how wrong I was. Holiday to Sicily in 2000 and I had some amazing coffee including the most amazing sweet expresso. My most embarrassing moment was asking for a ‘latte’ and being given a glass of UHT milk. How was I supposed to know latte was Italian for milk? There was still so much more to learn. It was time to move on from latte’s and discover other Types of coffee

Oh I needed to stay awake. With two young children and a stressful job coffee was often a solitary peaceful island in the middle of a hectic day. This is when I moved on from filter coffee to stovetop coffee and eventually my first expresso machine. I also started to take my own cafetiere to the office only to accused of coffee snobbery. 

Approaching 40. Time for a new life. Move to the country, get some chickens and chuck the job in. Early mid life crisis? Possibly. Never been happier. When one gets serious about life it’s also time to get serious about coffee. Bought my first coffee bean grinder. 

New life, new job, new wife, and a new office to equip with a coffee machine. Dev culture, we told ourselves, necessitated to top notch bean to cup coffee machine. £6,000 later we had what we were after. Was it worth it? I don’t know. What did I learn? What matters most is the quality of the bean and control over how to grind and brew. Machines can’t replace coffee artisans. 

Where now? 368 years after the first coffee shop was set up in London in 1652 I find myself looking for a new challenge. When it’s time to get serious about life it’s time to get serious about coffee. This website is a record of my continuing coffee journey.